Lionsgate (HAPPILY N'EVER AFTER) goes viral this month in a partnership with HABBO to determine the fate of a HABBO animated release. Utilizing this interactive technology, Lionsgate will tap directly into HABBO's extensive online community of teens for feedback. Starting Jan. 15, "Habbos" will be able to view 10 very different animated shorts based on the Habbo World, which will be posted on Habbo.com and local Habbo sites around the world and voted on by the millions of registered users of these sites. The animated shorts were created in a variety of styles (including 2D, 3D and Flash) by renowned animation houses from around the world. The "Habbos" will have the option to vote on whether or not Lionsgate should produce and distribute a longer feature film for the DVD and online marketplace based on their feedback on the animated shorts.
These 10 "Habbo"-sodes will be available for 14 days, where registered users will be invited into the venue to screen the shorts and vote "HABBO movie or not!" Based on the resulting vote, Lionsgate and Habbo will determine whether to green light a full-length film, even using this input to determine the genre and animation style of the movie. The resulting film would be released both on DVD and online, distributed by Lionsgate.
"Lionsgate has established itself as a true leader in the distribution of family entertainment and innovative marketing. Through this unique partnership with HABBO, we are going directly to the online community and putting the power in their hands by allowing them to determine what movie they want to see," said Michael Rathauser, vp of marketing, Lionsgate. "This partnership with Habbo will also provide us with valuable information and the opportunity to explore new and different targeted electronic distribution platforms for content that resonates within a very defined audience. It's an exciting new world of opportunity."
"We're proud to announce our partnership with Lionsgate. We were previously approached from several major studios. However, Lionsgate stands out as an expert in the teen film market and they share Sulake's commitment to quality, innovation and fun," said Teemu Huuhtanen, president, North America, Sulake Corp.
"Habbo-sodes were submitted by key animation studios located around the world and we appreciate the immense talent contributed to this project. The opportunity to now position Habbo as a leading distribution and promotional channel of all digital content from video to music is tremendous. Furthermore, by integrating our millions of Habbo users into this project, we will be spearheading a new kind of user-generated content as we empower them with the ability to determine the future of this animated film," he added.
This partnership between Lionsgate and HABBO marks the second time the two companies have collaborated to create a unique online experience for consumers. In July 2006, HABBO.com hosted a virtual red-carpet premiere event for ULTIMATE AVENGERS 2, the highly-successful direct-to-DVD Marvel Animated Feature. Tens of thousands of Habbos attended the screening, which was the first time the online community was able to view 10 full minutes of a never-before-seen film prior to its release.
Lionsgate is a leading independent filmed entertainment studio, winning last year's Best Picture Academy Award for CRASH, generating two consecutive years of $300 million-plus domestic theatrical box office, operating a $500 million-plus home entertainment business and producing a broad slate of prime time television series for fiscal 2007. It is a premier producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. It has a prestigious library of more than 10,000 titles.
HABBO (www.habbo.com) is a richly colorful, multi-dimensional virtual community and game environment for teens. Users join by creating a fully-customized online character called a Habbo. From there, they can explore many public hang outs, play a variety of games, connect with friends, decorate their own rooms and have fun through creativity and self expression. Since its launch in 2000 by Sulake Corp. (www. sulake.com), an interactive entertainment company that specializes in developing, publishing and distributing multiplayer social networking communities and games, HABBO sites have been introduced in 29 countries on five continents, with more than 70 million Habbo characters created and more than 7.5 million unique users each month. The highly-trafficked U.S site is visited by more than 1.7 million unique users per month, who spend on average more than three hours a week on the site.