"Shrek Forever After," "Sex and the City 2," "The Karate Kid" -- when it comes to movies, this summer seems unusually full of sequels, remakes and spinoffs.
But Paramount is going a step further. On July 8, it will release "Grease Sing-a-Long," which is not a remake or a sequel, but a slightly retouched version of the 1978 musical film "Grease," which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as a pair of 1950s-era high-schoolers.
The movie, a smash in its day, could turn a sizable profit again. After all, how much could a few subtitles, which appear during each number, karaoke-style, possibly cost?
What's more, Paramount is launching a publicity campaign with a grass-roots feel, similar to what the studio did for last year's cheapo chiller "Paranormal Activity." Instead of booking thousands of screens across the country and then trying to attract audiences with costly advertising, Paramount is opening "Grease Sing-a-Long" in fewer than 20 markets and asking fans to vote for additional screenings in their towns through Eventful.com.
It worked for Ocala, Fla. Granted, that's Travolta's adopted hometown, but so far more than 1,100 people have voted for "Grease" to play there -- enough to put it on the premiere list alongside Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago.