One of the ways you know Lionsgate is feeling good about the prospects of "Hunger Games" is by the way they have already promoted Liam Hemsworth to "last-name-only" status in the new trailer for "The Expendables 2."
And I'll say this for Lionsgate… I've been watching companies mount online campaigns for movies for the last fifteen years, and you can tell when a studio is all-in on something. And right now, there's no one working harder for something that's coming out next year than Lionsgate is for "Hunger Games," and today is a milestone for them, one they've chosen to commemorate with an online Poster Puzzle Hunt that uses Facebook, 100 different websites, and Twitter in one fell swoop. We've come a long way from when Gordon Paddison and New Line decided to bet big on an Internet presence for "Lord Of The Rings," and when Lionsgate asked if we wanted to play along this morning, we jumped at the chance, if only to see how the whole thing's going to work.
March 23rd is the day the film comes out, and so today, 100 days out, Lionsgate is sponsoring the #HUNGERGAMES100 Poster Puzzle Hunt. Just like that. And using that hash tag as the thing that unites all of us, 100 sites are simultaneously premiering individual puzzle pieces, which will unite into a new poster for the film that will only be published when the first person solves the puzzle. At that point, we'll be putting up the poster here as well, so if you want to sit out all this running around, you can just check back later today to see the poster for yourself.
Because every participating site will be using that same hash tag, you can just run a search for #HungerGames100 to find the pieces. Then upload a photo of your solved puzzle to the film's official Facebook page, and @tag The Official Hunger Games Movie Page.
Now, we're Puzzle Piece 70/100. So use this link to get your copy of it, and then get moving. You've still got 99 more sites to visit if you want to play.
It's just one more way to keep "Hunger Games" fans involved and active, and it's smart as a way to build some sort of fan community by the studio. I've seen other people try with things like this, and the best-case scenario is what happens when there's a "Dark Knight" viral that gets solved in something like 37 seconds because of how many people are playing. It's worth paying attention to how people respond here, and I'm betting it's going to be fun.
The film is about a competition and there's a structure to the world that really lends itself to this sort of gameplaying, complete with 12 different Districts and all the various Tributes.
Enough! You've got Puzzle Pieces to find. Your District is depending on you.
UPDATE: Looks like special congratulations go out to Tribute @johnshoward for being the man to finally solve the puzzle. There's a shout-out to him on the Facebook page, and now we can reveal the finished poster...
... which looks pretty darn good to me. Fun stuff, and a nice example of how you can make this sort of stuff fun instead of just perfunctory, involving fans instead of simply selling to them.
"The Hunger Games" opens in theaters everywhere March 23, 2012.
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