×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

How Warner Bros. Uses a Video Game to Fuel Interest in Its Movies

When “Aquaman” hits theaters Friday it will do so riding a wave of publicity from an unusual place: the massively popular lo-fi, Lego-like game-creation platform “Roblox.”

With more than 80 million monthly active users, “Roblox” popularity as both a place to create and play games is well established. But it wasn’t until earlier this year, that Warner Bros. discovered just how powerful a tool it can be for igniting interest in its movies.

In March, Warner Bros. teamed up with “Roblox” on a cross-promotion for the film “Read Player One,” using the event as a testbed of sorts for marketing to a younger audience of movie-goers through the game.

Roblox Corporation collaborated with the film-maker to create an in-game parallel to the central plot of the movie: Players in “Roblox” were asked to find three hidden keys across different games, use them to unlock gates and then finally defeat Mega Corp before it could seize control of “Roblox.”

Each key granted players an in-game virtual reward and the first player, only the first player, to take down Mega Corp and complete the entire quest, earned a one-of-a-kind in-game hat for their character to wear.

The results of the event were seismic.

The “Ready Player One” activation resulted in 47.2 million hours of gameplay from 181 million game sessions, a “Roblox” spokesperson told Variety. The in-game event also became a massive social success, garnering nearly 700 YouTube videos, 30,000 Twitter posts and 16.2 million views of “Ready Player One” videos.

While Warner Bros. can’t tie the opening weekend success of the movie to that “Roblox” cross-over event, the film did track higher with teens and kids, matching the demographic that absorb the game. And the company was so happy with the partnership, that they decided to try it again, and again.

The next big event inside “Roblox” tied to a WB movie was a sponsored magical attraction based on the movie “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” The event launched in October and was tied to the game’s annual Hallows Eve special event. This year’s Hallows Eve event included the movie attraction, a recreation of Hogwarts in the game and scenes from the film. The partnership seemed to fuel engagement for the game, resulting in more than five times the combined gameplays from the previous year’s event.

The latest cross-over features Warner Bros.’ upcoming superhero flick “Aquaman.” “Roblox” launched an Aquaman event in the game on Nov. 20, allowing players to explore the world of Atlantis and film-inspired avatars exclusive to the event. To date, the event has had more than 52 million gameplays with the developers expecting that number to more than double by the time it ends after the holidays.

Warner Bros. tells Variety that the success this year means they plan to continue the effort in 2019.

“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Roblox this past year,” said Andrew Hotz, Warner Bros executive vice president of worldwide digital marketing. “As audiences continue to fragment and their attention is drawn to a variety of entertainment types, it is critical to find partners that have a dedicated and engaged audience, which ‘Roblox’ certainly has.

“For many ‘Roblox’ players, our partnership opened up their imaginations and led to their first experience watching a Steven Spielberg film with ‘Ready Player One’ or an introduction to the thrilling underwater adventure of ‘Aquaman.’ Together with ‘Roblox,’ we’re looking forward to continuing to break new records in 2019 and finding new ways to fascinate Roblox audiences.”

More Gaming

  • Netflix HQ LA

    Netflix Engineers Developed a Rumble Pack Feature During Latest Hack Day

    A duo of Netflix employees had a unique idea for making the service’s shows even more stirring: They added a rumble pack option to the Netflix app as part of the company’s latest hack day. When watching shows like “Voltron,” the feature makes phones vibrate in sync with the action on the screen, similar to [...]

  • Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Game

    ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ to Launch This Week

    “Pokemon Go” maker Niantic is getting ready to launch its next big game: “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is set to launch in June 21, the company revealed in a tweet this week. The worldwide launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite begins this Friday, June 21! Keep your eyes peeled and wand ready for more information [...]

  • Sarah Iooss - Twitch

    Twitch Hires Sarah Iooss, Former Mic and Viacom Exec, as Head of North America Sales

    Twitch has tapped Sarah Iooss, most recently EVP of revenue at millennial-news startup Mic, to lead the advertising sales team in North America for the Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform focused on video gaming. Iooss will be based in New York, reporting to chief revenue officer Walker Jacobs, who joined Twitch last fall after serving as [...]

  • littlstar ps4 app

    Littlstar Expands Beyond VR With New PS4 App, Signs Up 30,000 Paying Subscribers (EXCLUSIVE)

    A&E-backed immersive content aggregator Littlstar is expanding beyond virtual reality (VR): The New York-based startup launched a dedicated PlayStation4 app this week, giving users of Sony’s game console access to their personal media libraries, as well as both traditional and 360-degree video content from a variety of publishers. Littlstar also announced that it signed up [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8 Production

    'Game of Thrones,' Netflix VFX Among Those to Be Featured in SIGGRAPH Production Talks

    VFX pros behind the final season of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster film “Avengers: Endgame,” Pixar’s upcoming “Toy Story 4,” last year’s Oscar-winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Netflix series, including “Stranger Things,” and more will give SIGGRAPH 2019 attendees a behind-the-scenes look at their work during the conference’s Production Sessions. There will even be a [...]

  • jfk mooonshot ar app artwork

    JFK Presidential Library Releases Moon Landing Augmented Reality App

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library has released an augmented reality app (AR) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and the role President Kennedy played in getting the U.S. to the moon. The app, which is available for free for iPhones and Android, lets users relive the Apollo 11 mission in their [...]

  • 'Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the

    'Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch' Is Still a Fantastic Anime Adventure

    Six years after it’s original release “Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch” is coming back with a Nintendo Switch version and remastered edition on PS4 and PC. It’s time for more long-winded, adorable JRPG action. It’s odd since comparing the new version of the Level-5 developed classic with the original game is pointless [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content