Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 27th, 2014 at 10:13 am,

5. Funny People

funny people poster 280x416 Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

The team behind Funny People pulled out all the stops when creating viral video content to promote the movie. Although the first major installment, a Funny or Die collaboration that featured Adam Sandler’s face on a little baby, wasn’t chock full of laughs, it did get the Internet talking. It also led to a fake NBC sitcom called Yo Teach!, which NBC graciously hosted on their website, as well as the amusing LaughYourDickOff.com, which features stand-up from Aziz Asnari’s character in the movie .


4. District 9

district 9 header1 Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

The heart of the viral marketing campaign for D9 were the billboards and bench ads seen around major cities that essentially promoted the segregation of humans and aliens. Slogans like “Bus bench for humans only” not only created real world buzz, but spurred a social media discussion that was supplemented by a robust collection of pictures on the movie’s official Flickr account.

Additionally, positive Twitter sentiment about the movie is credited for sustained results at the box office. It pulled in over $14 million on opening night, but then an impressive 12.6 million the next day. Bruno, by contrast, was a movie that was widely panned on Twitter, pulled in $14 million opening night, and then a measly $8.7 million the next day.


3. Watchmen

watchmen final poster header Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

The Zack Snyder-directed Watchmen came with a massive, built-in audience of comic book lovers. But the viral marketing behind the movie expanded that audience with a series of clever, faux-news YouTube videos that racked up millions of views. Take, for example, this clip from a 1970 edition of NBS Nightly News, anchored by Ted Phillips, that features an extensive report on Dr. Manhattan. The video accumulated over 200,000 views just two days after it was uploaded.


2. Terminator Salvation

terminator salvation poster 11 Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

Christian Bale’s on set tirade was perhaps one of the biggest social media and celebrity stories of the year. While the tirade didn’t exactly make Bale look like a saint, the idea that it was a stunt to drum up buzz for the movie is not without merit. After all, just a short while after the video hit the Internet, Terminator Salvation was trending on Twitter, and every blogger and their college roommate were gossiping about Bale. The tirade aside, Paramount released a rather novel, interactive Twitter game wherein players deciphered coded messages to fend off robots and rise in the rank of the Resistance army. Of course, while rising in the army, players were disseminating free Terminator promotion to their network of followers.


1. Paranormal Activity

paranormal activity poster1 Hollywood’s 10 Biggest Social Media Success Stories of 2009

Produced for less than $15,000, this camcorder horror flick has already raked in over $108 million and is hailed as the most profitable movie of all time. The marketers behind the movie hosted screenings at select college campuses, then progressed to midnight screenings around the country, encouraging fans to “tweet their screams” and join the movie’s Facebook page. They pieced together shots of audiences screaming to create a truly a viral trailer, and to tip the film into national distribution, set up an Eventful.com competition wherein one million “demands” eventually brought the movie to a theater near you.

What was your favorite Hollywood social media success story of 2009? Please let us know in the comments.

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  1. Solid analysis. It was indeed a heck of a great year for Hollywood, and I was more than impressed how they were doing more than just buying billboards and crossing fingers.

  2. Why is Kofi’s name on this post?
    What the f?, is so scary about Paranormal Activity. (Please spoil this for me! No really I want to know what’s the big deal?). This sounds like the latest “Ring”, Blair Witch, sensation?
    If Terminator used Bale’s tirade as a marketing ploy it was a failure. Lol
    “District 9″ should be No.1 on this list as the film not only had great viral and bus bench ads, it also had the best 1-800 number greeting.
    If any of you called that number you know what I mean. ;-)

  3. I knew as soon as I read the title that Paranormal Activity was going to top this. I demanded the hell out of it. Haha

    Ultimately, I was sort of let down by the movie though. It is GREAT to watch once, but repeated viewings not so great. The first time I was frightened, the second time – not so much. But, the alternate ending was f****** awesome.

  4. This post does not rank movies on their merits, just on their marketing via non-traditional methods.


    Kofi’s name is on it because I didn’t feel like creating a new author account for a one-shot article, and he’s the one who put it in the system and formatted it.

    Paranormal Activity most definitely wins this with the “Demand It” concept that made it seem like if you didn’t asks for it, it wouldn’t play in your town. As to what was scary about it, it was the suspense and dread of anticipation of what was going to happen. Up until that hokey “fang” ending, it was very much based in reality and THAT is what made it scary if you let yourself get sucked in to it.


  5. I liked how District 9 was marketed. The posters were very cool. I was very curious after seeing pictures that said “Humans Only” and things of that nature. I never saw one of those posters around my town, but even on the internet they sparked some interest.

    The Dark Knight had great marketing, but of course that was last year. Actually… 2 years ago now, but I remember copying and pasting The Joker’s message that said “HaHAaHahaHahAhAhaha” and taking away the laughter to reveal the message “See You In December”.

  6. I really like the twilight saga movie, very romantic, but unfortunately I have not watched the last episode, I am very curious about the end of the story :)