Lionsgate has teamed up with F-commerce firm Milyoni to bring director John Singleton's 2011 thriller Abduction to Facebook. This is the first new release to be made available on Facebook on the same date as the DVD, the Blu-ray Disc, and the download. The choice of movie, however, is quite unfortunate.
While I'm all for proving other forms of distribution work when it comes to movies, especially new releases, Abduction isn't the movie to do it with. The trailer is embedded above and here's the synopsis:
Abduction, full of intense action and explosive stunts, stars teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner, (The Twilight series), as Nathan, a young man who discovers his parents are not who he thought they were. While trying to uncover his true identity, he is unwittingly thrust into a deadly world of covert espionage, forcing him to turn to the only person he can trust, his neighbor Karen (Lilly Collins). Racing to evade a team of operatives and assassins, Nathan realizes that the only way he can survive is to stop running and take matters into his own hands.
Except for the Twilight part, this doesn't seem half bad. Yet the movie did terribly. Apparently even Lautner couldn't get his preteen fan girls to come watch. The movie's release on the big screen in September 2011 was a train wreck, to put it lightly. It received 25 points (3.9 user score) on Metacritic and just 4 percent (44 percent audience rating) on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie's availability on demand to Facebook's users thus won't really be a big deal, and it will likely do poorly. Why choose Abduction for your test run when you can choose a much more successful film? For example, when Warner Bros. started out on Facebook, the movie studio launched its test with The Dark Knight, and then followed up with more movies as well as a TV show. I really hope Lionsgate won't use this as an excuse for writing off the social network as a viable platform.
In case you do want to prove them wrong, Facebook users in the U.S. can rent the movie through Abduction's Facebook Page, which by the way already has 995,000 Likes. Thanks to Milyoni's Social Cinema technology, you can watch the movie on demand while chatting with friends, answering trivia questions to unlock an exclusive interview with Lautner, as well as sharing and tagging favorite clips. The PG-13 film will be available for $4 via PayPal or credit card. Lionsgate is apparently not using Facebook Credits to avoid Facebook's 30 percent cut.
"We are excited to offer our highly social, tech-savvy movie fans a whole new experience with the release of Abduction on Facebook," Anne Parducci, Marketing Executive Vice President of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, said in a statement. "By leveraging the built-in social backdrop of Facebook and the tremendous reach of the platform, plus the opportunity to see special content featuring Taylor, we hope to offer fans a truly exhilarating viewing experience."
"Milyoni's immersive technology allows innovative movie studios like Lionsgate to integrate fun social features into all aspects of the digital viewing experience," Milyoni CEO John Corpus said in a statement. "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."