How The Hunger Games Built Box Office Momentum with Social Media

The Hunger Games broke box office records this weekend, earning its spot as the highest grossing domestic opening for a movie that isn’t a sequel. The film adaptation of the first installment in the popular literary trilogy brought in $155 million in the US and Canada on its first weekend and $214.3 million worldwide.

Lions Gate Entertainment backed up pre-existing enthusiasm for the series with a thorough social media marketing program, which helped the film gain momentum months before its release. Let’s take a look at the digital activities included in the film’s $45 million marketing budget, which range from an interactive site to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube presence, plus a mobile application.

Site: theCapitolPN

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The film’s website relies on gamification as a way to encourage fan engagement. Users can register as citizens by logging in with Facebook or Twitter. Once registered, citizens are assigned to a local district and provided with information about the number of registered citizens and discussion rate per area. Districts then compete for highest engagement levels using the hashtags below.

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Tumblr: Capitol Couture

About 2 months in advance of the movie’s release, Lions Gate launched a Tumblr blog based on the fashion of the Capitol. Posts include photos and .gifs of characters’ clothes and accessories, in addition to occasional reblogs and contests that encourage fan enagement. The studio also conveniently plugs the movie with widgets for purchasing tickets, “now playing” banner ads and reblogged movie reviews.

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Facebook

Oddly enough, the Hunger Games’ Facebook Page has not made the switch over to Timeline format, but that hasn’t stopped fans from engaging en masse. As of March 26, the page has 3,483,074 page likes, and individual posts show even higher engagement rates. The latest update (shown below) raked in 97,348 likes, 20,454 comments and 1,247 shares. Additional post content includes images from the film, memes from around the web, plugs for Hunger Games’ iOS game, quotes and previews that include direct links to buy tickets.

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Twitter

As of March 25, the film’s Twitter account (@TheCapitolPN) has 58,958 followers, and has seen great success with hashtags #headforthesquare, #lookyourbest and #hungergames12.

https://twitter.com/#!/TheCapitolPN/status/183289195509465088

https://twitter.com/#!/TheCapitolPN/status/182271550794371072

YouTube

The movie’s YouTube channel, dubbed CapitolTV, shares clips, trailers and cast interviews, and also allows users to submit videos for the chance to be featured on the site. As of this writing, Capitol TV has 52,013 subscribers and 22,550,658 video views.

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Mobile: Girl on Fire for iOS

In the official application for the Hunger Games users become Katniss Everdeen, the film’s heroine, guiding her home with bow and arrow in hand. The game has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars, with a total of 1302 ratings.

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Girl on Fire is available for free for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Were you among the millions of fans who engaged with Hunger Games’ online entities before seeing the film? Share your Hunger Games digital experiences with us on Twitter.