March 17, 2012— -- Multiple arrests have been made across the country as a growing trend of young people have tried to emulate "Project X," a new film about a high school house party that rages out of control.
What sounds like the plot of almost every teen movie ever made, "Project X" is about a group of teenage nerds throwing a party to gain popularity, while their parents are out of town, only the party gets out of hand. Suddenly there are explosions, cars driving into swimming pools and a SWAT team.
The film, which is meant to look like it was shot and pieced together by a hand-held camcorder, was produced by Todd Phillips of "Hangover" franchise fame and has grossed more than $40 million dollars at the box office. Not bad considering it was made in five weeks with no big-name actors.
However, police say more and more teens have started emulating the film in real life with throwing "Project X parties."
In Miami, police say they found a foreclosed home that was not just vandalized, but trashed. They arrested the would-be host before the party happened, but no one told the nearly 2,000 people who showed up later that night that the party was off.
A Michigan father put an end to a "Project X" party when he discovered his son was planning a copycat bash. Mikey Vasovski had tweeted invitations and plans for the party from his Twitter account, writing things like, "Anyone have a strobe light?"
Suddenly Vasovski's tweets became a top trend on Twitter and he began receiving RSVP's from around the world.
"I kind of did it as a joke, but I guess people took it as oh, I'm trying to throw the next Project X," he later told ABC affiliate WXYZ."I am sorry about what happened. We didn't mean it to get that big."
His father made him cancel the party and police even camped outside their house to deter any potential party goers. It may have cramped his style, but it upped his street cred -- a local division of Gawker offered Mikey Vasovski a job because they were impressed with his marketing skills.
Mark Stephens, a retired detective-turned-private investigator, said the damages inflicted by these types of "Project X" parties are nothing to laugh at. He was recently hired to look into what happened at a trashed suburban Houston home nearly two weeks ago.
"We determined was there was you know, a wild party that got out of control, and the interior of the home was just destroyed," Stephens said.
He said he believes that there is no question that the party that occurred at the house was a "Project X" copycat.
"We came back the next night hoping or figuring that they would come back, and they did," Stephens said. "There was another party, same neighborhood, remote location, same street, just two houses down. The ones that we detained at the scene, you know, I asked them why, what was this all about, and they said 'Project X.'"
Houston police said they have recently charged 11 people with criminal trespassing in connection to "Project X" parties -- each could be punished with up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Another alleged "Project X" party in Houston went from fun to fatal in a matter of seconds. After the invitation went viral on Facebook and Twitter, almost 1,000 people showed up, and while police were trying to break it up, one party goer started shooting. Ryan Spikes, an 18-year-old high school senior and star football player, was killed.
In response to the "Project X" copycat parties, Warner Bros., the studio that distributed the film, told ABC News in a statement:
"These incidents are deplorable and it goes without saying that "Project X" is a fictional movie and that Warner Bros. does not condone--and strongly discourages—anyone from attempting to imitate conduct portrayed by actors in a controlled environment during the filming of a motion picture."
But even if teens can be persuaded NOT to try this at home, for many of the kids turning out in force to see "Project X" this weekend, throwing a part when your parents are away seems like a rite of passage. And Hollywood seems to agree. A "Project X" sequel is already in the works.