Firstly, I would like to introduce myself as one of the new contributing writers brought aboard by Nick, Dan and the rest at MovieViral. With the recent success of the District 9 viral, I’m sure many of you have wondered what new movie will capture our attention next. Although there are some solid campaigns out there now, with the likes of 2012 and Surrogates, I came up with five films that I think could really benefit from developing a viral marketing campaign.
Avatar Day has come and gone, and the general consensus from those that saw the trailer or the IMAX footage is mixed at best. Once deemed “the film to change cinema,” Avatar is now predicted by some to be winter’s biggest box office dud. For these reasons, I think 20th Century Fox desperately needs to reinvigorate their target audience with a viral campaign. Although the momentum behind the film is gone, there remains an interesting and original premise that has the potential to deliver. Director James Cameron must make the most of the three and a half months before the film’s release by engaging with the audience. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with remaining tight-lipped about the plot, but at least offer teasers to fans that don’t require them to drive to an IMAX theater! How about establishing a website that allows users to develop their own Avatar’s that are in line with the mood and visuals of the film? I think it would be a good first step to get the hype machine going again.
The Twilight Saga
Before I’m run off the site for sounding too much like a tween, consider these two factors that make the upcoming Twilight films perfect for viral marketing. The first is an established fan base. Although not necessary, it is extremely helpful in a campaign. What made The Dark Knight viral so epic and expansive was in large part because Warner Brothers had a preexisting fan base with which to target their product. This made generating hype much easier because the audience was active and willing to play along without first needing to be convinced it was worth their time. Also, like Batman, the four book long Twilight series has enough backstory to engage users and keep them excited for the film’s release. I could easily envision a campaign asking audiences to “choose a side” between the “Vampires” and the “Werewolves” (A subplot that will emerge significantly in the third film). This approach was done to near perfection in the District 9 campaign, when the film’s homepage prompted users to identify as humans or non humans before proceeding to the site’s content. Such moves would be sure to ground Twilight fans deeper into the film’s reality. If Summit Entertainment’s goal is to have a film event the likes of which no teenage girl has ever seen, a solid viral campaign will certainly be needed.
Having recently read some of Geoff John’s Green Lantern graphic novels, I’m absolutely stoked Hal Jordan is making it to the big screen. Although Ryan Reynolds would not have been my first choice for the title character (that honor goes to Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame), I have incredible faith in director Martin Campbell, who most recently brought James Bond back to relevancy with Casino Royale. If the film is an origin story, as one would assume, one could really develop a viral campaign around the introduction of the Green Lantern Corps, or the Guardians of the Universe, the organization Hal Jordan joins after acquiring his ring. I mean really, tell me one superhero geek who wouldn’t submit their email address for a chance to join the ranks?
According to IMDB’s page,The Losers is loosely based off of a DC Comics property of the same name. Its premise surrounds a CIA black ops team on the hunt for those that double crossed them. With the film’s mysterious premise and impressive cast that includes Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, and Idris Elba, I think the film has the potential to be a surprise hit next year. If the eventual trailer doesn’t give too many details away, a viral campaign can really drum up interest by building up the mystery of the story, and hint at the question that most followers will surely ask: Who is behind their assassination plot?
I’ll admit Legion isn’t at the top of my must see list for 2010, but the trailer suggests a decent action/horror film. Paul Bettany certainly looks badass as Michael, and it’s always nice to see Doug Jones (whom I recently met and is incredibly cool) gain more recognition. Ultimately though, I think the film must do more to distinguish itself from others in the genre . I personally was immediately reminded of past movies like Van Helsing or Underworld after watching the trailer. I think a campaign designed to tease about humanity’s impending doom, along with conveying Michael as the lone hope, might help generate the following needed to make this January release a success.
So what do you think? Am I way off with my analysis for these films, and are there others that might benefit from a campaign? Have I written about more Twilight than MovieViral can handle? Leave some comments below!