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Hollywood hoping for devilish profits

For the past several weeks, strange billboards have been cropping up all across L.A.  They’re dark, frightening, and some say from a marketing standpoint, they’re genius.  By CNBC's Stephanie Stanton
/ Source: CNBC

In case you missed it, this Tuesday is 06/06/06. For many, the number 666 is associated with evil. But one movie studio is playing on those fears and using the number to promote the remake of a classic horror movie.

There’s no doubt there are a lot of strange things here in Los Angeles. But for the past several weeks some strange billboards have been cropping up all across the city. They're dark. They're frightening. And some say, from a marketing standpoint, they're genius.

These eerie black billboards have been spotted around town and have many people wondering what the heck is going on. Some observers associate the billboards with evil or the devil. Others say the signs make them nervous.

The billboards are part of a creepy marketing campaign by 20th Century Fox to promote the remake of its classic 70's thriller “The Omen.” The movie hits theaters — you guessed it — this Tuesday, June 6th, instead of the usual Friday release.

"It's gonna be No. 1,” said marketing consultant Laura Ries. “And it's going to get big numbers and no doubt get a lot of attention and make a lot of money."

Hollywood isn't alone in zeroing in on the evil “ka-ching” of 666. Conservative author Anne Coulter's new book "Godless" is set for a June 6th release. Coulter, likened by some to the devil, is calling the book "her little tribute to liberals."

Not to be outdone, heavy metal band Slayer is releasing their latest album, “Eternal Pyre,” on the devil's day.

Even Christians are betting on the sixes. The publisher of the top-selling “Left Behind” book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins is teaming up with a Christian bookstore to sell the popular books in paperback for $6.66.

"No one's as touchy about any subject more than religion,” said Ries. “It's just one of those hot button issues and it's gonna create controversy."

So what is it about 666? The number is considered the Mark of the Beast in the Book of Revelation. That even has some expectant mothers putting off their deliveries — if they can.

Numerologists say: Don't worry — Tuesday is nothing to fear.

“It adds up to 18, which is a new beginning and is actually very good financially,” said Cerina Kaye, a numerologist and psychic reader at the Psychic Eye Book Shops in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “It is a humanitarian number.”

But 20th Century Fox — and the others taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime rest are hoping 666 will be a good omen — one they can take to the bank.

“The Omen” cost about $60 million to make and the movie's producers are hoping to rake in a lot more than that.

But psychic Kaye said she doesn't think the movie will do as well at the box office as people are expecting.