Column: Social media has had a tremendous impact on movie and television marketing, increasing awareness and visibility for a TV show or movie across the globe in a click — a lot clicks — of a button. Some of the best social media teams right now on TV are the two Jimmys — late-night talk hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. These two are in a constant battle for viewers and they really go at each other on social media. Their social engagement across platforms and their understanding of social heralds a new generation of savvy Hollywood stars backed by sophisticated online marketing teams that understand how to push past traditional media to build a tremendous fan base. Increasingly, stars, celebrities and their teams are using social media to extend awareness of their brands — because that is what they have become — online and off, driving ratings and box office as well as bigger fan bases.
These days, a performer’s social media footprint is strongly considered when marketers start strategizing a film’s campaign. Vin Diesel is the current king of social, almost entirely because of the monster presence he’s built on Facebook. In the months since his emotional tribute on FB for his good friend and Fast & Furious co-star Paul Walker who died in a car crash, Diesel has seen his Facebook presence vault from an already whopping 54M likes to 72.3M, according to RelishMix, which tracks social-media engagement by TV shows, films and performers. And in six months, his following has jumped 46%.
Unlike Kimmel and Fallon, Diesel has no team to manage his social profile. He does it entirely on his own. “Vin is a very unique case in that he curates that himself and the voice is authentic and all the posts seem real because they are real,” says Michael Moses, co-president of marketing at Universal Pictures. “He doesn’t have a social-media team. He maintains that. He has an authentic relationship with his fans.” Moses calls it “a higher level of commitment and engagement.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: ABC‘s multi-camera comedy pilot from actor-comedian Kevin Hart is undergoing a change following the table read. The character of Mircea, Derek’s (Romany Malco) post-divorce girlfriend, has been reconceived and will now be called Mandy. As a result, Amber Stevens, who had been cast as Mircea, is exiting, and Army Wives alumna Ryan Michelle Bathe has been tapped to play Mandy. Mircea was originally written as Derek’s new live-in girlfriend, a former super-model who once jet-setted around the world, who is now a hostess at a local restaurant and very much in love with the newly divorced Derek. The character of Mandy is still being fine tuned but, in broad strokes, she is Derek’s optimistic girlfriend who fears she may have gotten in over her head when she encourages Derek to make peace with his over-dramatic, overbearing, ex-wife. Read More »
Universal Pictures announced that it will release the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube buddy comedy Ride Along 2 for the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. It’s a date worked very well for the original Ride Along, … Read More »
Warner Bros has slotted the Etan Cohen-directed comedy Get Hard for March 27, 2015. Will Ferrell stars as a rich, soft-handed investment bank manager who is sentenced to a maximum security prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It was inevitable after the huge success of Ride Along that Universal Pictures executives would be salivating to get the sequel together. Tim Story will direct Ride Along 2 and Ice Cube and Kevin Hart are closing to reprise their roles as the quick-witted security guard (Hart) who has his eye on his partner’s (Cube’s) sister. The film debuted five weeks ago on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend to bring in a record opening of $41.5M. It has since grossed more than $120M worldwide as of this weekend. The three-day gross on Ride Along dropped only 9% even as they shed 283 screens with $3,460 per screen. Helluva hold.
Will Packer and Cube’s Cube Vision (Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez) are coming back to produce from a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? A late June/early July start is planned and all are hard at work finalizing the script which is expected to have more action and am hearing that it will be more multi-cultural to expand the demos. Smart move, all, if you want to expand into the lucrative Latin American and European markets. Yes, it’s comedy but it’s also business. Ride Along is in six territories currently with expansions into other markets yet to come, but it is getting 97% of its total box office ($121.2M) from domestic. Likewise, the bankable Think Like a Man also had 95% of its box office coming from the U.S. Universal EVP Production Scott Bernstein will oversee the project for the studio. Larry Brezner is also producing and BenderSpink, executive producing. Read More »
Romany Malco is set as the lead of ABC‘s multi-camera comedy pilot Keep It Together, lifting the cast-contingency off the project from hot actor-comedian Kevin Hart and former Community executive producers … Read More »
As Deadline reported yesterday, it looks like Hollywood has a new king of the MLK Day weekend. A week after the record-breaking debut of Ride Along, Sony said today that it has booked Kevin Hart starrer The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures have been reserving prime release date real estate for secret family film projects. Deadline has the details on the one that will be released on February 12, 2016. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri has set Louis C.K., Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and Ride Along’s Kevin Hart to voice the main characters in what is being called the Untitled Pets Movie. Meledandri is producing the 3D animated film with longtime collaborator Janet Healy. Chris Renaud, who helmed the first two Despicable Me films for Illumination, will direct this one, and the co-director is Yarrow Cheney, who helmed a short that will be part of The Minions DVD release. The script was written by Despicable Me scribes Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio.
This becomes the fifth animated film for Illumination and a return to an original property, and the Pets pic marks the first animated studio feature that Louis C.K, Stonestreet and Hart have taken part in. Here’s the logline: the action comedy is set in a Manhattan apartment building. After the two-legged residents head for work and school, their pets gather to start their day, which consists of hanging out, trading humiliating stories about their owners, and helping each other work up adorable looks that will lead to more snacks. The head hound is a quick-witted terrier rescue (Louis C.K.), whose position at the epicenter of his master’s universe is suddenly threatened when she comes home with Duke (Stonestreet), a sloppy mongrel with no polish. The two soon find themselves on the mean streets of New York, where they meet the adorable white bunny Snowball (Hart). It turns out that Snowball is the leader of an army of pets that were abandoned and are determined to get back at humanity and every owner-loving pet. The dogs must thwart this plot and make it back in time for dinner. Read More »
Vampire Academy is moving up and out of Valentine’s Day weekend and will now bow on Feb. 7, giving the horror pic a couple of more weeks to play before RoboCop (MGM) and the next Kevin Hart pic About Last Night coming smashing through theater doors. Okay, now that Ride Along is busting up all Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday records at the box office with an estimated $42.2M take for the three day and $48M-plus for the four-day gross, Valentine’s Day weekend looks interesting given that Sony is releasing both pictures (Robocop on the Wednesday before). About Last Night, which also stars Regina Hall and Joy Bryant, will be released through its Screen Gems moniker. Of course, one is a violent actioner and the other is a romantic comedy so much different pics, but Sony’s gotta be thrilled after seeing these grosses. Read More »
For a guy who stands at 5-feet-4, it’s not surprising Kevin Hart wishes he “was a little bit taller.” In this music video, which Universal made as a promo for the upcoming pic Ride Along, Hart puts his own take on Skee-Lo’s “I Wish”, taking on his co-star … Read More »
Security guard and avid gamer Ben (Kevin Hart) wants to ask his girlfriend to marry him, but he wants her brother’s blessing first. Oh, the brother? He’s a tough, ill-tempered cop (Ice Cube) who refers to his potential future in-law as a “man Smurf.” So Ben must prove … Read More »
A multicamera comedy from top standup comedian Kevin Hart and former Community executive producers Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. Written by Goldman and Donovan, the … Read More »
Production is underway on The Wedding Ringer, the formerly untitled Kevin Hart comedy being directed by Jeremy Garelick in his feature helming debut. Among the finalized cast in the pic that co-stars Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco, … Read More »
Stef Dawson has joined the cast of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. She will play Annie Cresta, the love interest of Finnick (Sam Claflin). The Australia native is known for … Read More »
Will Packer, who has seen four of his films debut atop the domestic the box office chart, will develop new projects for Universal Television, it was announced today. The Think Like A Man producer has worked … Read More »
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube headline the Tim Story-directed Ride Along, an action-comedy from Universal. Ice Cube stars as tough APD detective James who takes his sister’s future security guard husband Ben (Hart) on a 24-hour ride-along to prove that he deserves his future bride. But … Read More »
Days after landing a buddy comedy alongside Josh Gad — to go along with a recent renewal for Real Husbands Of Hollywood, the semi-scripted BET comedy he co-created and stars in — Kevin Hart has a stand-up movie hitting theaters just in time for Independence Day. Kevin … Read More »
After the six major studios wrapped up their turns in front of the CinemaCon convention goers with 20th Century Fox earlier today, it was Lionsgate‘s turn to carry the flag for the indie sector, even though NATO’s John Fithian said last year that in Lionsgate we are seeing the birth of the “seventh major studio”. And although some of the speakers during the company’s relatively brief presentation this afternoon took up that mantle, Lionsgate in its sizzle reel actually touted the fact that they are the only non-major to actually go over $1 billion in a single year — certainly thanks to the dynamic duo of Summit’s Twilight finales and The Hunger Games, which became the third-highest-grossing film of 2012 with more than $400 million domestically. So are they are a major? A mini-major? A true independent? Or just a money-minting film company with a couple of franchises the real majors would kill for (and in the case of Twilight actually passed on — ouch).
But as befits any wannabe major, a spiffier, more corporate logo was in order, and as Deadline reported earlier they debuted it for the theatre owners here in Las Vegas. As distribution head Richie Fay put it during his turn onstage, “Lionsgate is an overnight success that was 12 years in the making”.
As far as the presentation went, Lionsgate certainly took an independent route from the way the majors have behaved all week, offering a musical-chairs lineup of executives taking their turn in front of delegates who crowded into the Colosseum to check out the product. In addition to Fay, we also heard from CEO and co-founder Jon Feltheimer, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Rob Friedman and AMC theatres exec Elizabeth Frank, who pointed out the company released 20 major films in 2012 and led the field 11 separate weeks. She said her company was looking forward to the 17 movies on tap this year and many of them were showcased for the first time over the course of the 80-minute show emceed by comedian Kevin Hart. Read More »