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USATODAY.com - Marketers hope 666 will be their lucky number

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Money  Cars  Event tickets   Jobs  Real estate  Shop   Online degrees Marketers hope 666 will be their lucky number Updated 6/2/2006 6:33 PM ET E-mail | Print | By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY It only comes once a century and it's sure to be a devil of a day: June 6, 2006 is the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year.

As in 666, the "number of the beast" or Anti-christ in the Bible's Book of Revelation. But that link to the agent of Lucifer certainly isn't scaring marketers.

It's the day 20th Century Fox picked to release its remake of the 1976 satanic horror flick The Omen, about a demonic boy Damien born with a 666 birthmark. Promos warn: "6+6+06 HEED THE OMEN."

Studio executives saw the potential early in script development, says Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Tom Rothman.

"Suddenly the movie became cooler," he says. "We were being spoken to."

It required, however, breaking the traditional Friday release pattern to go with a Tuesday.

"It took months of work with exhibitors," says Rothman. But he thinks it'll heighten the horror. "When audiences go to scary movies, they want to get the chills. The date helps with that audience participation."

The date brought out the devil in conservative author Ann Coulter. When asked in an interview on Fox's Your World with Neil Cavuto about the symbolism of June 6 for the release of her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, she said, "It's my little tribute to liberals to have it come out on six, six, six."

Also on Tuesday, thrash-metal band Slayer will release Eternal Pyre, a five-tune EP, through teen store Hot Topic. It seems like a hex was put on their more elaborate plans for the day: The plans to release the full album were thwarted when they couldn't secure studio time, and the scheduled launch on Tuesday of their "Unholy Alliance" tour was thwarted by a band member's unexpected gallbladder surgery.

Disturbingly dark death metal group Deicide, led by a Satanist front man, will mark the day with two new songs on iTunes from its upcoming album The Stench of Redemption. It, too, had a devil of a time trying to get the whole album out on the day.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but in the end it didn't work out," says Zeena Koda, a spokeswoman for its label, Earache.

Brooklyn-based brewer Sixpoint Craft Ales is teaming with Manhattan bar The Stoned Crow to host a "Shout at the Devil" promotion Tuesday: Burgers and fries will sell for $6.66, while six varieties of Sixpoint beer will flow from six taps.

"Sixes are wild next week," says Sixpoint President Andy Bronstein.

Biblical scholars, such as University of North Texas religion studies professor Joe Barnhart, say there's no religious significance to the date. But that's not stopping Christian businesses from marking it.

Tyndale House on Tuesday will release The Rapture, the 15th title in the apocalyptic Left Behind series that has sold more than 43 million books. Web ads ask: "06.06.06 Will you be ready?"

The Parable Group of Christian stores partnered with Tyndale for a June 6 offering of the earlier Left Behind books in paperback for $6.66.

Yet, some marketers say they aren't trying to taunt the Anti-christ — or stir up a 666 controversy.

Despite Coulter's gallows humor, her publisher, Crown Forum, said via e-mail that the release date for Godless was selected "before the book had a working title." It said it releases books on Tuesdays, and chose June 6 to be early in the summer reading season.

Likewise, spokeswoman Elaine Schock insists CMH Records' release Tuesday of Strummin' With The Devil, a bluegrass album tribute to Van Halen from David Lee Roth and other artists, is purely coincidental.

"It really wasn't a devil thing," says Schock.

Some businesses, such as hospitals, may have fewer customers on Tuesday.

Alisa Naceille was due to have her baby by cesarean section on Tuesday, but her husband, Peter Kuhn, had worried about the date. On her way to a checkup, she passed a billboard that read: "You Have Been Warned 6+6+06." She didn't realize it was an ad for The Omen; her first thought was, "This must be a sign."

The surgery is now scheduled for June 7.

Contributing: Janet Kornblum, Shawn Brouwer

Posted 5/31/2006 11:00 PM ET Updated 6/2/2006 6:33 PM ET E-mail | Print |   Mia Farrow and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick share a creepy moment in the remake of The Omen. Newspaper Home Delivery - Subscribe Today HomeNewsTravelMoneySportsLifeTechWeather About USATODAY.com: Site Map | FAQ | Contact Us | Jobs with Us | Terms of Service
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