‘The Purge’ is Raging on Twitter and Facebook; Will Social Media Success Mean Big Box Office on Friday?

Ethan Hawke in 'The Purge'
Ethan Hawke in 'The Purge'

If a sudden swell of interest on social media is any indication, the low-budget thriller "The Purge" may be in for an impressive opening this Friday.

As the film's initially low-key marketing campaign is starting to kick in, "The Purge" has racked up 172,871 mentions on Twitter as of Tuesday, with that figure jumping from 36,299 to 62,715 between Sunday and Monday. And on Wednesday afternoon, the movie's official Facebook page had over 555, 000 likes, a number that's growing throughout the day.

"The marketing campaign is clearly connecting in a big way," said Phil Contrino of Boxoffice.com. "Moviegoers are hungry for alternatives to action tentpoles, and 'The Purge' will fulfill that need."

Produced by Blumhouse Productions, the outfit responsible for the "Paranormal Activity" series, "Sinister," "Dark Skies" and "The Lords of Salem," "The Purge" stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey as a wealthy couple living in a dystopian future where in order to satisfy society's thirst for violence, once a year the state stages a "purge," in which all crime is permitted, including murder and rape, as long as they're not committed against a high-ranking leader. While the couple waits out the purge in their well fortified home, an intruder makes his way in, and suddenly all bets for safety and security are off.

So far, much of the buzz over "The Purge" is inspired by its offbeat premise rather than its stars, with leading man Hawke not played up strongly in television spots for the movie. The hashtag "#SurviveTheNight," the film's slogan, is generating plenty of Twitter action, as well as the movie's title.

Universal, who are releasing "The Purge" in theaters on Friday, are doubtless hoping that the social-media driven American campaign for the movie fares better than the more conventional promotion the picture received when it opened in the UK last week. "The Purge" took in a less-than-impressive $1.5 million take in the wake of lukewarm reviews.

Watch Ethan Hawke in 'The Purge' Clip: