The Secret To Box Office Success

This holiday season, we’ve seemingly skipped over the feel-good movies that usually become instant classics ("The Santa Claus," "Home Alone") and have gone straight to blockbuster franchises with new releases like, "Mission Impossible IV" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." In fact, we can imply that the majority of motion pictures released this season are the most anticipated films of the year. The acclaimed actors can’t take all of the credit for creating pre-Oscar buzz, though -- it’s the online marketing campaigns that help captivate fans and propel award-contenders into the social media spotlight. Honestly, with the amount of creativity the entertainment industry is channeling into such efforts, there needs be an awards category for Best Online Movie Promotion.

With so much video content now widely available online, movie fans are able not only to find movie trailers as soon as they hit the Web, but also to explore a movie before it opens. Curation of contextually relevant video content that surrounds a given release is an increasingly important part of buzz-building -- in many cases extending the movie marketing lifecycle to six to nine months before the premiere and continuing through the Blu-ray/DVD release several months later.



We see a strong appetite among our viewers for a first look at holiday movie releases several months before they hit theaters, providing movie studios with a great opportunity to tap into and turn up this demand by establishing on ongoing dialog with consumers that generally peaks during this season. The magic is in providing viewers with access to complementary content that rounds out a story -- in video. This might include a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes, exclusive interviews with the stars, an original mashup that pays homage to related movies, music videos from the soundtrack or a countdown of all-time-great onscreen moments from past movies from the same director.

It is this more fully developed online entertainment experience that encourages consumers to act as ambassadors -- not only watching and re-watching videos themselves, but sharing this content with friends and helping build excitement about the movie in the social media sphere. It is this type of personalized entertainment experience -- complemented by a multiplatform media campaign, in which consumers define their own pathway and engage with a movie over a longer period of time -- that begs the question, is the social engagement for a particular film indicative of the movie’s box office success?

For the highly anticipated film based on the international bestselling novel, The Girl with the Dragon TattooSony Pictures Entertainment creatively fed fans’ appetite for content by releasing a secret Tumblr site full of exclusive photos and a nine-minute news clip that is supposedly devoted to the disappearance of Harriet Vanger (the central mystery plot line). The site also launched a competition that involves solving puzzles embedded in photos posted on the site -- if you crack the code; you unlock a location somewhere in the world where an authentic prop from the film is hidden.

Paramount Pictures also made good use of online promotion for “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol” with heavy advertising across social sites. In order for fans to unlock exclusive footage of the film, they needed to tweet or share #Mission, and even released a free Facebook game that featured additional multimedia.

Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures are taking extensive measures to promote these two “holiday” films with multifaceted online campaigns designed to engage audiences. The reward for both is that in a few months, these efforts will still live on --and in many ways, evolve. Moving forward, marketers who don’t step up and integrate the many facets of engagement that online channels offer will likely struggle to build a similar level of excitement around their films -- no matter how groundbreaking the performances and effects may be.

Next story loading loading..