Facebook May Redeem Terrible Taylor Lautner Movie

Abduction was supposed to be Taylor Lautner's big post-Twilight breakout film, but unfortunately for his fledgling reputation as one of Hollywood's hottest young stars, it wasn't exactly what you'd call a cinematic success. Between the lukewarm box office figures and the truly cringeworthy 4 percent Rotten Tomatoes score (including the following hilarious review: "Perhaps the only way to approach Abduction that will not result in a 105-minute boredom-induced coma is to think of it as a comedy, preferably with a drinking game attached"), it seemed like this movie was destined to be quietly filed in the discount DVD bin and ultimately forgotten.

As it turns out, Abduction may have one more shot at turning a decent profit. Leave it to Lionsgate -- the studio behind all the Hunger Games marketing sorcery -- to figure out a novel way to potentially resurrect interest in Lautner's film, via something that's being called "social cinema."


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On Tuesday, Lionsgate made Abduction available for rental through Facebook, which marks the first time a new-release title has been simultaneously launched on Facebook, DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download. For $3.99, you get access to Abduction via Facebook for 48 hours, during which time you can watch it, post notes about various scenes for your friends to read (apparently the comments are displayed on the bottom half of the screen), and take trivia tests to access behind-the-scenes interviews with Lautner.

It's an intriguing move that may in fact boost viewership for the film, although it strikes me as a bit odd that the studio picked a critically-panned movie to experiment with. Then again, there's probably a juicy Venn overlap between "young people who are addicted to Facebook" and "rabid Taylor Lautner fans."

What's also interesting about this whole thing is that while Lionsgate is clearly hoping that increased viewer interaction will turn an otherwise meh movie into something that resonates with fans, they're also looking to find out exactly who those fans are. When someone rents the movie through Facebook, they're giving Lionsgate a direct line to their personal information. Demographic information and, better yet, contact information. As the executive VP of Lionsgate said,

We already know who our fans of the [Facebook] page are, but we don’t have a direct to consumer relationship with them.

In other words, prepare for some marketing emails, Facebook renters.

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The Facebook option isn't particularly appealing to me, at least not in its current iteration, but it's fascinating to think how social viewing may affect the film and television industry. Can a crappy show be redeemed by the ability to share the viewing experience? Can a studio manufacture fan devotion through interactive elements? Only time will tell, but I'm guessing Taylor Lautner is hoping the answer is LIKE.

Would you watch a movie through Facebook? Do you think doing so would change how you felt about the film?

Image via Facebook

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