At this point, is there anyone on earth who’s not aware The Hunger Games is hitting theaters this weekend?
Other than The Dark Knight, it’s probably the most anticipated movie of the year, especially with young adults. Fans have lined up two weeks in advance, and Lionsgate has already sold thousands of tickets in advance. The Hunger Games sure to become a cultural event, and you’d think a movie that’s got this big of a built in audience doesn’t need any publicity or heavy duty promotion, right?
That certainly didn’t stop Lionsgate from giving the film a big promotional push, and according to the New York Times, this includes giving away 80,000 movie posters, 3,000 billboard and bus stop ads, and nearly 50 magazine covers.
Not to mention in today’s age of viral marketing, there’s also a big push on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, iPhone, and live streaming from the Hollywood premiere.
When the film’s trailer was released on iTunes, it clocked in with eight million views the first day, and a YouTube channel, Capitol TV, confirmed 17.7 million views.
As you may recall, the movie that started modern viral marketing was The Blair Witch Project, which set up a website because it was cheap to do, and it built strong word of mouth long before the movie came out. Now with the avenues mentioned above, there’s so much more you can do to get good old fashioned word of mouth going, and as the New York Times reports, Lionsgate also did this with a relatively small marketing staff of twenty-one people working on “a relatively tiny budget of $45 million,” where major studios can spend $100 million marketing a movie.
There will also be big synergy with the books, and the success of the film will absolutely drive the novels even further on the best-sellers lists, like we saw back in the ‘70s with The Godfather and Jaws. There’s reportedly over 24 million copies of the Games books in print in the U.S., and at your local Barnes and Noble, there’s piles of them waiting to be snapped up by fans.
Considering the Hunger Games movie came in at a relatively low budget for today’s Hollywood, (reportedly $78 million), whatever Lionsgate spent to market The Hunger Games will probably look like bargain of the century when it makes a ton of money this weekend at theaters everywhere.