Yahoo hosts pic's first minutes, DVD-style

Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures hope that scaring Internet users for the next three days will help sell tix for their upcoming horror pic “Darkness Falls.”

The duo is posting the first 10 minutes of the thriller online exclusively on Yahoo! Movies (movies.yahoo.com) beginning Wednesday — timed as darkness first hits the U.S. at approximately 4:48 p.m. EST. Footage will be available through Friday.

After viewing the “Darkness” sequence once, Netizens will be able to view the footage again with a commentary from the pic’s director Jonathan Liebesman, similar to on a DVD.

Yahoo! will promote the “Darkness Falls” event across its network of Web sites. Pic officially bows in theaters Jan. 24.

In “Darkness Falls,” Kyle Walsh (Chaney Kley) returns home to confront his troubled past and save his childhood sweetheart Caitlin (Emma Caulfield) and her younger brother Michael (Lee Cormie) from an unrelenting evil that has plagued the town of Darkness Falls for more than 150 years.

“We’re extremely proud of ‘Darkness Falls’, and can think of no better way to demonstrate that than by giving fans an advance edge-of-your-seat experience via the Internet,” said Revolution Studios’ head of worldwide distribution and marketing Terry Curtin.

The marketing maneuver of showcasing footage from a film to online auds isn’t necessarily new or revolutionary. Warner Bros. posted 10 minutes of its animated pic “The Iron Giant” on the Web as far back as 1999, in an attempt to replicate Artisan Entertainment’s success with selling “The Blair Witch Project” to Internet users.

However, at the time, Warner Bros. hosted the “Iron Giant” video on its own Web site and didn’t partner with a major Internet player like Yahoo! Movies, which boasted 6.1 million unique visitors in December, according to Nielsen Net Ratings.

“Darkness Falls” is Revolution’s first release for 2003. Some of the studio’s other upcoming pics include the Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler laffer “Anger Management”; “Hollywood Homicide,” with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett; “Tears of the Sun,” an actioner with Bruce Willis;  and the Eddie Murphy comedy “Daddy Day Care.”

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