With a marketing budget that could be spent at a vending machine, “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” an independent movie by UK street artist Banksy, managed to earn over $166k this past weekend at the box office thanks to social media. Relying solely on messaging spread across social media outlets, including a five-minute YouTube preview, the movie centers around a man’s obsession with making a documentary about underground art (a.k.a. graffiti) and the struggles of non-commercial artists.
In the vein of The Blair Witch Project, moviegoers are left wondering who in the movie is real and what, if anything, is fabricated. And guess where they are searching for answers? The Web.
But don’t expect answers anytime soon. Banksy, who is rarely seen in public, delivered a message via letter to crowds at Sundance asking movie viewers to not give away the ending on Twitter.
Without any press junkets, interviews or traditional advertising, “Exit” brought in $20k per screen in New York, Los Angeles and six other cities – a major accomplishment for a film that has turned its back on traditional promotion.
The “Exit” Facebook fan page is over 5,200 strong and Banksy (while no Justin Bieber) is getting tweeted about every minute or two. The movie will show on additional screens in the coming weeks and it will be interesting to see if social media can continue to fill theater seats.