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‘The Purge’ Surges on Social Media Ahead of Friday Debut

Universal's horror thriller has nearly half a million Facebook "likes"

Universal’s horror thriller “The Purge” is burning up on social media ahead of its box-office debut Friday.

Between Sunday and Monday, its mentions on Twitter skyrocketed from 36,299 to 62,715, according to BoxOffice.com, which said it had a total of 172,871 mentions four days from its opening. It was strong on Facebook as well, with 498,077 “likes” as of Monday.

“The marketing campaign is clearly connecting in a big way," BoxOffice.com’s Phil Contrino told TheWrap. "Moviegoers are hungry for alternatives to action tentpoles, and ‘The Purge’ will fulfill that need.”

Also read: Mini-Budgeted 'Sinister' Horrifies the Box Office – Here's How

Ethan Hawke stars in the micro-budgeted Blumhouse Productions thriller, which is directed by James DeMonaco. Lena Headley and Max Burkholder co-star in the tale of a family held hostage during a 12-hour period in which all crime is legalized.

Many of the social media conversations appear to be organic, involving "what-would-you-do" discussions around the film's premise, rather than generated by the studio. 

How directly social media activity translates to box-office performance is an open question, which varies from film to film. The young crowd most likely to be interested in “The Purge,” for example, is likely to be active on Twitter and Facebook.

For comparison’s sake, Twitter mentions of “The Purge” more than double the 70,045 that another Ethan Hawke horror thriller from Blumhouse, “Sinister,” had at a similar point, and it has more than tripled that film's 117,922 Facebook “likes.”

“Sinister” debuted to $18 million on Oct. 2 last year, and early tracking has “The Purge” in that range, too.