Though it was trashed by the mainstream press, the New Age cult film What the Bleep Do We Know? has found a growing fanbase, including some avid bookbuyers, since it premiered in February 2004 and was released on DVD in March. Demand for the DVD and book surprised at least one large chain that sells both, causing it to ask Disinformation Co. to rush a new book tie-in that explores the scientific and spiritual ideas in the film. Beyond the Bleep, by journalist Alexandra Bruce, will be released next month. The chain, which declined to be identified, ordered a "worthwhile quantity" of the book, according to publisher Gary Baddeley, who will print 40,000 copies.
That book has a four-month jump on What the Bleep Do We Know?, an "official" hardcover tie-in by the filmmakers William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente, coming from HCI in November. But HCI hopes to make up for the lag by marketing the book to the filmmakers' mailing list, which includes 50,000 people interested in mind/body/spirit topics, including affluent yoga practitioners and members of "new thought churches." That book, like the film, will blend interviews with New Age thinkers and scientists with a fictional story, in which a woman comes to recognize the quantum fields that underpin reality.
So far, the biggest related title has been Masuru Emoto's The Hidden Messages in Water, which includes photographs of water crystals that appeared in an art exhibit that's in the film. It has gone through 12 printings for a total of 250,000 copies since it was published by Beyond Words in March 2004, and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks. Emoto's follow-up, TheTrue Power of Water, also hit the Times list after it was published this past March, and has 85,000 copies in print.
Beyond Words also published the first direct tie-in, The Little Book of Bleeps, a collection of stills and quotes from the movie that sold through a 25,000-copy printing within a month of its December 2004 publication, according to publisher Richard Cohn.
Nearly two million theater-goers have seen the film, which stars Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, and a further one million have bought the DVD since it was released by Fox on March 15.
HCI and Disinformation might want to have their books shelved under spirituality, like the Emoto titles, rather than under science, like The Little Book of Bleeps. That, said Luisa Smith, buying director at Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., was a major factor that made the difference in the sales of the books.