While using social media to promote projects and connect with fans has become a part of the celebrity job, last week celebrities were enlisted to promote a new social network. At June 5 in New York City, Jim Carrey, Ed Helms, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Joel McHale, Olivia Munn and Snoop Dogg all showed up to show off the features of Airtime, a new live video chat social network created by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, the duo that brought us Napster.
Can’t you just feel the love?
This past weekend saw the release of two films that have been heavily promoted with social campaigns. Which one made the most of the social cinema?
And the winner is (drum roll)…
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which took in over $60 million at the box office during its opening weekend.
DreamWorks has to feel good about its campaign that combined social media with traditional marketing. The studio created an iPhone app that allowed users to take pictures with a rainbow colored wig, or edit the wig into preexisting pictures, and share them through Facebook and Twitter. Dreamworks also encouraged users to use the hashtag #madwigout.
The studio also worked with social game designers Zynga to incorporate Madagascar 3 into the popular game, Draw Something. Companies like Dole and Sun-Maid featured Madagascar on product packaging with QR codes that would direct consumers to film-related content and games.
That’s not to say that Fox’s Prometheus was a loser. After a series of viral videos and live social media events, Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror flick brought in $51 million over the weekend. And that’s with the audience-limiting “R” rating.
The campaign has been called “savvy and possibly groundbreaking,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Although the paper wonders if the strategy will backfire in the second weekend due to fans taking to social networks to share negative comments, both films exceeded expectations, and the social campaigns definitely played a role.
You can bet that studios are still thrilled with the results, and are taking notes for the future. The social cinema, it seems, is here to stay. Especially considering…
ANOTHER Prometheus viral video. Are you kidding?
No, we aren’t. Fans that stayed until the end of the credits (no spoiliers, we promise) would have noticed the logo of Weyland Industries with the tagline “Building Better Worlds Since 10. 11. 12,” and a website address.
Curious fans that followed the link have found the “corporate timeline” for the fictional company, which notes that it was founded October 11, 2012. Only one part of the page is interactive, and it points to another mysterious website, www.whatis101112.com.
The website doesn’t seem to be much more than an advertisement for Friedrich Nietzsche’s novel, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. But there is a short video, once again featuring Guy Piece as Peter Weyland.
This is now the fourth viral video promoting Prometheus, but the movie has already been released. What’s with the 27-second teaser? Our guess is that its already the beginning of the campaign for the Blu-ray release.
Or maybe Fox has trapped itself into a never-ending, viral video blackhole.
Only time will tell.
The Canyons is a mysterious new film directed by Paul Schrader (screenwriter of the classic films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull) and written by Bret Easton Ellis (author of American Psycho).
Not a lot is known about the movie yet, other than it will take place in Los Angeles, will involve 5 main characters hoping to break into the film industry whose lives intertwine. Given the dark nature of most of Schrader and Ellis’s work, its probably not going to be a cheerful movie.
What is really interesting, however, is the use of social media in the film’s pre-production. Ellis and Schrader are using a Facebook page and a LetItCast page to accept audition tapes from anyone intested in performing the five major roles.
The duo and producer Braxton Pope are also utilizing Kickstarter to crowd-fund the film. The team hoped to raise $100,000 and prizes include:
- A money clip that was autographed by Robert De Niro and given to Paul Schrader on the set ofTaxi Driver.
- Paul Schrader’s shooting script for Taxi Driver at the end of filming.
- Dinner with Paul Schrader.
- Paul Schrader will cover your script – with notes delivered in person if you live in NY or LA.
- Five autographed copies of any script Paul Schrader has written.
- Bret Easton Ellis will read and review your novel and have that review appear on an international blog or website.
- An autographed hardcover of every novel in Bret Easton Ellis’ canon.
- A special framed commemorative photos from Last Temptation of Christ signed by Martin Scorsese (to Paul) given to you at a personal lunch with Paul Schrader in NY or LA.
- Bret Easton Ellis and Braxton Pope will livetweet (approximately 20 tweets) their honest thoughts on your film at the time of your choosing to their 390,000 followers/fans.
- A choice of one framed autographed photo of a legendary film director from Paul Schrader’s personal collection (Truffaut, Kazan, Coppola, Lucas, Wilder, Bergman, Allen, Stone, Polanski, Cassavettes, Capra, Forman, Huston, and more to choose from).
- Braxton Pope will meet you in LA and bring you an exclusive autographed script with a 1 of 1 cover created from an on set photograph nobody else in the world will have.
- Bret Easton Ellis and Braxton Pope will watch your short film, tweet their honest thoughts and a link to the film to their combined 390,000 followers/fans.
Not surprisingly, the team surpassed its goal in a matter of weeks.
Could The Canyons be the beginning of major players using social media to breaking away from Hollywood studios? Or is it just extremely clever marketing? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
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