Lionsgate pic is first new release to hit site on day of disc bow
Lionsgate isn’t spending any time deciding on which homevid platforms to release “Abduction” — it’s going with all of them, including Facebook, becoming the first distrib to release any film at the same time on the social network as on DVD.“Abduction” becomes the latest pic with which Lionsgate is experimenting as it looks to shake up the homevid biz with new distribution methods to make up for lower DVD revenues. The company recently gave “Margin Call” a VOD release simultaneous with its theatrical run, with Lionsgate president co-chief operating officer Steve Beeks saying, “We’ve got to find new ways to get to consumers” to attract larger audiences to its films. Lionsgate also made Kevin Smith’s “Red State” available on VOD before its theatrical release. Last year, Lionsgate said it would shorten the homevid window for “Abduction” to 91 days, giving the Taylor Lautner pic helmed by John Singleton an earlier limited VOD run for 10 days in December. For users in the U.S., “Abduction” bowed on Facebook on Tuesday, the same day as its Blu-ray and DVD hits store shelves and digital versions became available across multiple e-tailers. Lionsgate is treating the move as a new chance to attract Lautner’s teen fans to the film, which struggled at the box office, earning just $28 million in the U.S. and another $54 million overseas. To launch the Facebook option, Lionsgate is using Milyoni’s Social Cinema technology which taps into so-called F-commerce — the swirl of e-commerce and marketing that has evolved around Facebook — and allows users to comment, chat and share their movie-viewing experience with friends. Viewers can also answer trivia questions while watching the movie, which will unlock an exclusive interview with Lautner. Another new feature will allow users to interact with poll questions while watching the movie. “We are excited to offer our highly social, tech-savvy movie fans a whole new experience with the release of ‘Abduction’ on Facebook,” said Anne Parducci, exec VP of marketing for Lionsgate home entertainment. Milyoni CEO John Corpus said, “The movie industry is on the verge of a new golden age — one that allows fans and their powerful social networks to spread the word and extend a movie’s viral effect across regions.” Lionsgate is expected to continue to experiment with additional pics moving forward, including with films produced by Summit as part of its acquisition of the company. Summit’s execs aren’t likely to object considering that company experimented with “Source Code,” making the Jake Gyllenhaal starrer available on VOD and electronic sell-through two weeks before its traditional homevid release last summer to test demand for viewing a bigger-budgeted film digitally prior to the release of physical discs. Summit typically offers its films on VOD and as digital versions day and date with a disc’s release.