This Winter’s Big Movies Have Been Active on Facebook

It’s not uncommon that at least one movie will land a spot on Inside Facebook’s list of Top 20 Facebook Pages each week, a sure sign that, while movies may be one of the original forms of mass media, they’re not about to be left out on Facebook.

We looked primarily at movies whose pages made the Top 20 list recently, including two from this week. Most of these pages follow a similar pattern: they start up a few months/weeks before the movie is set to premiere to build up excitement, they provide stills and videos from the film and post actively with news and entertainment stories to the Wall.

Often the Wall is filled with polls and rhetorical questions in the status updates, there are often links to Twitter or MySpace, some Pages have exclusive content specifically for Facebook fans and there’s the ever-present countdown to the premiere, or self-congratulatory posting if the film wins an award.

The romantic comedy “When In Rome” is a good example of what a typical move Page ends up looking like. The landing Page is on a Fan Board tab, which includes snippets from the film, places where fans can make comments, as well as videos of actors answering questions from Facebook fans. Leading up to the film’s premiere, Page administrators were posting multiple times a day. However, once the movie was in theaters on January 29, the posting stopped; there are currently just under 163,000 fans on the Page.

Teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson of “Twilight” fame is being used to pitch the new drama “Remember Me” on Facebook, which is set to premiere on March 12. The Facebook Page is set up to get fans sharing from the moment they hit the Remember Me FBML tab. It encourages them to share a video of Pattinson speaking of the film, post images of him to their friends’ Walls, take a poll, add a comment and view a Twitter feed of the film.

There are more than 314,000 fans of the Page. The Wall for a film that stars other big-name actors includes polls, news stories, photos and videos, but most of the information is Pattinson-centric, pointing to the PG-13 film’s marketing strategy to lure “Twilight” fans to the theaters for another dose of him.

Which is a good segue to discuss a few films that seemingly have cornered the market on branding on and off Facebook, making their presence on the social network only a part of a larger package:  “Twilight” and “Avatar.”

As previously discussed, “Twilight” is such a big brand that a movie with nothing to do with the franchise other than featuring one of its stars cannot escape its fans, known as “Twi-hards.” The Page has more than 5 million fans and still has an active Wall that posts about the young stars of the film and comments on these pieces routinely generate more than 10,000 responses, which is probably why films featuring them — Pattinson in “Remember Me” or Kristen Stewart in the yet-released “The Runaways” — tend to emphasize their presence in the film over that of their co-stars.

Big moneymaker “Avatar” had a similar fate, as the movie was part of restaurant campaigns, a Coca-Cola campaign, and also carried the cache of director James Cameron of “Alien,” “Terminator,” and “Titanic” fame. The Page has more than 1 million fans and was on our Top 20 list for several weeks in a row.

Another interesting thing movies are testing out are employing relatively sophisticated apps in their Facebook marketing. Some of these may be used just once while others can be enjoyed on more than one occasion.