Making its long troubled journey to the big screen this weekend is Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and its tailor made marketing efforts will hopefully open distribution doors that have been shut for years. Financed by Worldview Entertainment who struck a distribution deal with Open Road (jointly owned by cinema chains Regal and AMC), in which Worldview was to cover the P&A costs, the film was dropped when internal turmoil at Worldview led to CEO changes that nixed covering the marketing spend. The Green Inferno was removed from Open Road’s slate and languished in distribution hell for a year and in what could have been entangled in litigation for years, was rescued from the efforts of its director and Blumhouse Productions. An aggressive and cost effective marketing strategy was launched to open the film in over 1,000 theaters and target only people who responded to the marketing material. In an age where studios clog the television airwaves with $40 million worth of TV spots, plus millions more in print, online, radio, poster, etc, the $8 million marketing push for the Green Inferno cuts off all the fat and excess of heavy advertising that may increase awareness but never connect with audiences. Predominately online marketing has had spotty results over the years, ranging from low budget box office embarrassments like the 2011 film Creature to organically grown success stories like Paranormal Activity. The Green Inferno has the marketing muscle of Universal, Blumhouse Productions and its director, where Creature had the old coot Sid Sheinberg, who mistook a million website visitors as people who would buy tickets and pushed for a wide release to empty theaters. Time and time again, you read stories about movies being marketed poorly because the studio did not understand the film or how to market it to audiences, so they cast a marketing net over every platform in hopes it gels — but in the case of The Green Inferno, the studio not only seems to understand the film, but understands its commercial limitations and how to exploit a niche demo-graph that’s hungry for this type of movie. There is a commercial dead zone these days for films that are not quite multiplex releases, but not arthouse releases either and usually get relegated straight to video or dumped in a few theaters while simultaneously on VOD. Hopefully the box office for The Green Inferno will inspire a new marketing push for films that would normally be kicked to the curb.