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A New First: Lionsgate Debuts ‘Crank’ Art on Twitter

The studio uploaded the poster to Twitpic, then sent a link to the poster to its 980 followers via a Tweet.

Lionsgate stepped up its online marketing efforts today by revealing the outside poster for its upcoming film “Crank High Voltage” … on Twitter.

The studio uploaded the poster to Twitpic, Twitter’s photo-sharing site, this morning, then sent a link to the poster to its 980 followers via a Twitter tweet.

"To our knowledge, it’s the first time a studio has debuted original content on Twitter. We thought it would be a great way to kick off our Twitter campaign for the film,” Danielle DePalma, vice president of new media for Lionsgate, told TheWrap. “We are very excited about the direct, real-time communication with film fans that Twitter affords and wanted to let everyone know that Twitter is going to be a place that they can get exclusive Lionsgate content and news before anyone else.”

Lionsgate operates three Twitter accounts that send their followers updates about films, events and other news. The tweet regarding the “Crank” poster was sent via “lionsgatefilms” this morning.

DePalma said the studio has been using Twitter to track users’ opinions of their films but now plans to use it more as a medium to market titles directly to moviegoers. “[Twitter] has developed into the perfect tool for real-time updates about content, screenings and regional promotions. We plan on getting much more active from here,” she said.

Gordon Paddison, former online marketing head for New Line and principal of new-media marketing consultancy firm Stradella Road, said that debuting the new art on Twitter is a good way to reach the film’s core audience of young males. “The film is ADD and the audience is ADD," he said. "So it’s a good match between audience and product. So putting it on Twitter is an interesting idea.

“Twitter does have an audience of influencers. It isn’t a community in the same way other social networking generally is. It’s not like Facebook, where you’re sharing stuff with a bunch of friends. On Twitter, you’re broadcasting to a group of people who are following your insights.”

However, blogger Elisabeth Rappe fears studios marketing on Twitter could threaten film bloggers who depend on offering sneak peeks of studio art and trailers, and also could cost Twitter cultural cache. 

“Many are applauding this new frontier of communication, while others say this is the beginning of the end,” Rappe wrote on the Cinematical blog. “The Re-tweeting of posters, stills and trailers could put us all out of work. For other media geeks, the ‘Crank’ poster means that Twitter is no longer cool, and is now just another tool of the corporate machine.”