Who would have thought Trey Songz would be a movie idol? It seems he is the reason why Texas Chainsaw 3D cashed in at the box office last weekend, despite bad reviews.
Exit polls conducted by research firm Marketcast found that one in three Chainsaw ticket buyers under 25 said they went to the movie because of Songz.
And get this. When the director, John Luessenhop, told Hollywood studio execs they wanted to cast Songz as the leading man, most had never heard of the R&B singer.
“People at Lionsgate were uncertain, saying, ‘We’ve never heard of him. We don’t know who he is,’” Luessenhop told the LA Times. And according to the newspaper, after Tim Palen, the studio’s chief marketing officer, Googled Songz, and found he “was a two-time Grammy nominee with 5.6 million followers on Twitter and 14 million fans who ‘like’ his Facebook page,” the studio backed Luessenhop’s decision.
Luessenhop’s gamble paid off. The movie debuted with $21.7 million. It is not the first time Luessenhop pulled in urban music artists for his movies. In the past he has cast both Chris Brown and T.I., helping them to transition into the film world. The horror film director told the Times he first saw Songz at the 2011 BET Awards and was so impressed with his performance and presence, he tracked down Songz’s agent.
Songz has already completed his second film gig; he will next appear in this summer’s dramatic comedy Baggage Claim.
Songz has been heavily promoting ‘Chainsaw’ on his Twitter account, reminding his fans to head to the movie theater and retweeting positive reactions to the film.
Turns out Songz, who has made an impressive return to music with Chapter V (which was Grammy nominated this year) wasn’t just satisfied with merely acting in the movie. He was hands on in the marketing campaign as well. According to the Times it was Songz who asked Lionsgate to create a custom 90-second trailer of the film that would play prior to his song “Don’t Be Scared” during his Chapter V Worldwide Tour, which hit the road in November.
“I wanted [Lionsgate] to know that this film was truly a priority for me,” Songz wrote in an email to the Times from Germany, where he is currently on tour. “The fan reaction could not have been better. They loved the clip. They were scared for themselves, they were scared for me, it worked out perfectly.”