Facebook Game ‘Car Town’ Helps Drive Promotion of ‘Fast Five’
The virtual world of social gaming is colliding with the real world of movie marketing.
Movie studio Universal Pictures and movie theater chain Regal Entertainment Group have teamed up with Long Beach, Calif.-based Cie Games Inc., producer of the Car Town game on Facebook, to promote the action film Fast Five. The movie – part of The Fast and the Furious franchise – opens April 29; it stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The companies said this partnership represents the “most comprehensive effort” yet by a major movie studio and a major movie theater chain to mesh real-world marketing with promotion via social gaming. Until now, film studios have conducted limited experiments with marketing movies through social games.
Car Town players now can view the Fast Five trailer at the in-game drive-in theater and even race in a virtual Rio de Janeiro, where the movie is set. Before the movie’s release, Car Town will create special missions that tie in with Fast Five’s storyline.
Regal Entertainment Group, which operates movie theaters in 37 states, will offer Car Town players an opportunity to buy movie tickets within the game and earn an exclusive in-game benefit. In addition, Regal will promote the Car Town and Fast Five combo in theaters, online and through social media.
Gary Lokum, an executive at NBC Universal, said: “Our goal is to extend the film experience in innovative ways. This program accomplishes that on multiple levels: as a revenue-generating social gaming platform, film marketing outlet, and as a new way to reward fans of the franchise via virtual gifts.”
Justin Choi, president and CEO of Cie Games, said: “Car Town has given The Fast and the Furious franchise a significant reach into social media. Universal Pictures has given us the ability to reach consumers on all other major media and retail channels. ... This type of program represents the future of cross-media integration.”
In less than a year, Car Town has attracted more than 8 million players. Forty-six percent of Car Town enthusiasts play at least once every three days, according to Cie Games, and 80 percent are under age 35.