How We Got $22 Million This Weekend

“We bumped over a miracle.” Brad Grey Chairman, Paramount Pictures

Is this the new winner attitude? Please say yes!

You’ve heard about the new horror flick sensation, Paranormal Activity, right? Made for about $15,000 (shot entirely in the director’s bedroom), and bought by Paramount for $300,000. Here’s what happened next:

The little movie was marketed online, and this weekend alone, took in over $22 million dollars! (It’s taken in $62.5 million total in last six weeks) Might hit $100 million or more.

An astronomical return on a $300,000 investment, plus a relatively small (but cleverly spent) marketing budget.

Anyway, such wild and unusual results (FTC fans: atypical) normally call for chest-beating and self-aggrandizing press releases. You know, blasting their income numbers far and wide, along with comments that they just ‘knew in their gut’ it would do this all along, and how great they really are at this business of predicting a movie’s success. Blah blah blah.

Paramount chairman Brad Grey however, did the opposite today. My jaw dropped as I read each word he spoke to his people a few hours ago:

“Evidently we have a situation where you put one foot in front of the other every day at the studio,” he said on a conference call with his senior executive team Sunday. “We all work very hard, and every once in a while you find yourself bumping over a miracle.”

What a wonderful and humble explanation for this wild and very unusual success! Of course they did some extremely smart things marketing this flick. But that’s not where he put the credit for the atypical hugeness of the movie’s success.

Let’s us in Internet marketing and network marketing follow his lead. Let’s stop pretending that one big and very unusual success is entirely of our own making. And therefore predictable (so give us your money so you can follow us and do it too.) Our understanding of success is really very crude.

Our unusual successes are never entirely of our own making. Nor are they predictable, no matter what the gurus asking for your money tell you.

If Mr. Grey can acknowledge “bumping across a miracle” to help explain bringing in $100 million or more, for (what is likely to be) the biggest movie hit of the year, can’t we? It doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything. Just not much to make it such an atypical result.

Think about it: How else could he explain why most of his other movies (like most entrepreneurs) don’t make money (p.212)?

MOVIE BUFFS: more on the movie review HERE

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Kim, what a terrific post! Thank you! Because it tells the truth, that we can work and talk and believe till we drop, but the success that comes, or the not, is not entirely of our own making. We do our best, with all we know, all we are, and often get great results, but even if we do, they come by grace as well as by sweat. And if they don't, well, we gave it our best. And maybe the great results are just around the bend. Takes such a load off if we haven't made it quite yet! Bless you, bless you! You keep my chin up! 🙂
    Annie Bowlby

  • I've seen the movie paranormal activity and it was indeed great. It deserved to earn that much.

    I don't think we can earn $100 million or more by following him but I'm sure we can earn a lot if we just work hard and try to follow him.

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