Warner Leans on MySpace for ‘300’

NEW YORK Warner Bros. is hoping its action movie 300 will have a big opening this weekend, thanks in part to buzz generated on MySpace over the past two months.

As part of the Warner’s deal with MySpace, the studio ran ads, sponsored a new site function and gave members an exclusive screening.

The results have been encouraging, said Shari Friedman, vp, entertainment sales at MySpace sibling Fox Interactive Media. She cites not only the billions of ad impressions for 300, but 8 million trailer views on the site. In addition, the film’s MySpace profile has gathered over 213,000 friends.

In an unusual move, MySpace timed a site upgrade with the film’s promotional phase to drive brand awareness among its 160 million members. The FIM sales team approached Warner about sponsoring the upgrade, which ties into a new MySpace feature that allows users to post 300 photos.

“From a branding perspective, it was a great fit,” Friedman said. “It was a real opportunity for Warner to be embedded into the DNA of MySpace. Those are opportunities that don’t come around that often.”

On profile photo upload pages since Jan. 2, users have seen a banner ad reading, “Your profile can now hold up to 300 photos thanks to 300.”

Thanks to the photo promotion, a site-wide ad campaign and buzz generated from pre-screenings held for MySpace members in three cities, users have viewed 300‘s trailer 8 million times in the past two months. (The trailer plays automatically when visitors land on the 300 profile page.)

Friedman said MySpace is quickly becoming a must-have for movie promotions, with two films, John Tucker Must Die and Step Up, even using their MySpace pages as official movie sites. This allows movies to maintain a fan base from the time of release until the DVD sales window, Friedman said.

“What we do better than anybody is get that word of mouth going,” she said.