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‘The Omen’ takes advantage of 6/6/06

Date associated with the devil is the perfect time for film’s release
/ Source: Access Hollywood

It is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers. It graces the box of a certain brand of cough syrup. Add up all the numbers on a typical roulette wheel, and you get it.

Oh, and it's the mark of the beast. According to the last book of the Bible — the Book of Revelation — anyway.

What is it? Just little ol' 666.

A number, incidentally, that the folks at Twentieth Century Fox couldn't be happier with.

In an eye-catching promotional campaign to unleash the little devil — better known as “The Omen's” Damien — the studio put up billboards and posters around the country with the numbers 6 + 6 + 06 and the words “You Have Been Warned” written in bright white against a black background.

The idea of selling a movie in an offbeat way may have originally come from independent producer and B-movie guru, William Castle.

During the 1950s, Castle promoted “The House On Haunted Hill” with a skeleton that flew over movie audiences and “The Tingler” by giving filmgoers electric shocks through their movie seats.

“The Omen” is the story of a father who realizes his adopted son, who has a 666 birthmark on his skull, is a reincarnation of Satan.

The studio chose Tuesday, June 6, 2006, for the film's premiere, saying on their Web site: “The prophecy is clear, the signs unmistakable: Armageddon is upon us. On 6/6/06, the omen is revealed … and our darkest fears are realized.”

It is the perfect date to launch a movie — or anything else — that has a biblical angle.

But Access wondered: did the average citizen have any idea what the ads meant? How well do they know the “Number of the Beast?”

Not very well, it turns out, although that's probably a good thing.

“I didn't even know that the movie was coming out until somebody said something,” actor/security guard Scott told Access. “I just thought it was a date for something.”

“I know that's supposed to be the sign of the devil and I know that it went with a trailer,” Donna, a writer, told us. “Because I'm at the movies all the time.”

Donna, however, has a personal beef with Damien.

“I'm tired of seeing original movies regurgitated,” she said. “To me, it's just June 6.”

Other studios got into the 666 act too, by releasing DVD editions of “Underworld Evolution” (vampires vs. werewolves) and “Scary Movie 4” (horror film spoof) on the devil's own super Tuesday.

And in a real life subplot that has not gone unnoticed at Access, actor Robert Englund, aka Freddie Krueger, turns 57 on 6/6/06.

As a matter of fact, raspy-voiced singer/actor Harvey Fierstein turns 52. Comedian Colin Quinn is 47. And Staci Keanan of the sitcoms “Step By Step” and “My Two Dads” is 31.

Coincidence? We wonder…