Teenage flick scores, thanks to social media

BOX-OFFICE HIT: Actors Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort at The Fault In Our Stars premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City last week.


    Jun 10, 2014

    Teenage flick scores, thanks to social media


    SOCIAL media came of age in Hollywood over the weekend.

    The Fault In Our Stars took in a spectacular US$48.2 million (S$60 million) at North American theatres between Thursday night and Sunday, and it did so with nary a billboard in sight and no television ad barrage.

    In fact, 20th Century Fox spent less than US$30 million on marketing, or half of what studios typically spend to introduce a summer film.

    Instead, Fox relied heavily on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to cultivate ticket buyers for this little tear-jerker that could, which cost just US$12 million to make.

    "Our campaign was all about igniting the core audience of teen girls and fans of the book with a lot of early engageable content that went viral very fast," said Marc Weinstock, Fox's president for domestic marketing.

    The Fault In Our Stars, about two teenagers who fall in love while battling cancer, was adapted from John Green's best-selling book of the same title.

    Warner Bros, by contrast, threw everything it had at Edge Of Tomorrow, a science-fiction film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt that cost US$178 million to make.

    But a full-frills marketing and publicity campaign could not overcome a stubborn marketplace suspicion that Edge Of Tomorrow was skippable: Ticket sales totalled US$29.1 million, a gloomy total for such an expensive picture.

    That box-office result was not even good enough to beat the second weekend of Disney's Maleficent, which took in about US$33.5 million to place second behind The Fault In Our Stars.

    Maleficent has taken in US$127.4 million in North America and an additional US$208.1 million internationally, according to Rentrak, which compiles ticketing data.

    Warner noted that Edge Of Tomorrow performed substantially better overseas, where ticket sales have so far totalled about US$111 million.