Studio executives figured that horror movie-loving teens would flock to the picture, which stars Tom Wilkinson as the priest who is put on trial for allegedly causing the girl’s death and Laura Linney as the spiritually conflicted lawyer who defends him. But Screen Gems worked hard to attract a spiritually-oriented audience as well. It conducted an online poll asking participants if they believed in demonic possession (66% did) and issued a promotional mini-newspaper that reprinted articles from recent years about the Vatican’s views on Satanism and incidences of real-life exorcisms.
"We tried to get people thinking about the fact that this exists in the world," says Valerie Van Galder, who handled the marketing of the film. "We tried to make exorcisms newsworthy."
The studio also courted the Christian media with screenings and interviews with director Scott Derrickson, pointing out that he is a churchgoing Christian.
Actually, if the article is accurate, that’s not a whole heck of a lot of "courting," but simply what the professionals call "marketing." Holding screenings for critics? Awesome.