Friday, June 10, 2011

Paramount Pictures using apps to promote new films; Super 8 movie in theaters today, iPhone app in May

As the week winds down I'm torn between looking at a new German tablet edition for a daily newspaper, or a promotional iPhone app for a movie that has gotten mixed reviews – the movie wins!
Paramount Pictures is releasing a new film today, Super 8, which is directed by J.J. Abrams, and produced by Steven Spielberg – in others words, it has plenty of box office potential.

So, this being the era of smartphones and mobile apps, why not release an app to go along with the new film? And that is what Paramount did back in May. Super 8, the app, was initially a free download but will now cost downloaders 99 cents.

While the app is being distributed by Paramount Digital Entertainment, it was created by QMx Interactive and Bad Robot Interactive, though my guess is that QMx Interactive, headquartered in Canoga Park, California, is the actual developer, as Bad Robot is actually a company owned by the director J.J. Abrams.

The app has gotten great reviews, while the film is a more mixed affair (here is the A.O. Scott review from the NYT).
The app, like several other photography apps, is a filter-based app that adds effects to the video shot shot using your iPhone such as scratches, color variation, X-Ray and negative, etc. As someone who used to actually shoot Super 8 film (though I generally shot 16mm) it is funny that there would be an app that would add defeats to the results in order to duplicate the Super 8 experience when we used to work pretty hard to make sure these same defects wouldn't appear in our shot film.

Paramount is now using app development as a regular part of its movie marketing efforts. In addition to the app for Super 8, Paramount has launched an iPhone app for Thor, a universal app for The LXD, and an iPad app for the Coen Brothers film True Grit.