Distrib's marketing targets online fans

Gaumont has ramped up its viral marketing strategy to promote French gross-out comedy “Porn in the Hood” and it’s working. Skedded for a July 4 release, “Hood” is one of the most anticipated laffers to hit the French market.

Months before the film opens in theaters, its teaser has already attracted 2 million hits on Allocine, France’s biggest film website.

And after what happened with the box office success of “the Intouchables,” buyers are paying close attention to “Hood.” Gaumont’s international sales team has just sold “Hood” to Square one (Germany), Belga (Benelux), JMH (Switzerland), Sonamu (South Korea) and Lusomundo (Portugal).

“This is a Judd Apatow-style comedy that targets the urban, young adult demos; and as we noticed with ‘Intouchables,’ there is a growing appetite for these kind of comedies featuring young characters coming from diverse backgrounds,” said Francois Clerc, Gaumont’s distribution topper. ” ‘Hood’ pushes much further (than ‘Intouchables’) — it’s completely politically incorrect, but it’s extremely funny.”

A spinoff on the popular Web series “Kaira Shopping,” “Hood” turns on three unemployed young men from the projects on a mission to break into the adult-entertainment business. It’s produced by Mandarin, the outfit behind the Jean Dujardin starring “OSS:117″ franchise.

“The characters of ‘Hood’ were all born on the Web. They already have a young, highly active and important online community comprising more than 120,000 fans on Facebook and we’ve been cultivating this community,” Clerc said.

Gaumont’s viral marketing includes multiple original teasers with cameos of actors, notably “Intouchables” star Omar Sy and “Heartbreaker” thesp Francois Damiens that address the most active fans (pulling their names from Facebook) and exhibitors in France and abroad.

Clerc cited Dujardin’s first big hit “Brice de Nice,” a spinoff of his popular one-man show that was a Web phenomenon. “By the time the film came out in theater, it already had a fan base.”

The Gallic shingle will host a private screening with the film’s director and cast on Monday in Cannes.

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