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Blogging the Best Picture Marathon 2009

Like last year (and the year before), I'll be seeing all five Best Picture nominees back-to-back tomorrow! But this year, I get to liveblog it!

For the past two years, I’ve enjoyed AMC’s Best Picture Showcase. For an explanation, I’ll quote from my entry from last year:

For those of you not in the US (or even if you are in the US, if you haven’t heard about this before), this is what is becoming an annual tradition from AMC, where essentially, the day before Oscar night, movie fans have the chance to watch all five Best Picture nominated films back-to-back in one afternoon. For $30 you get unlimited popcorn and a ticket to each movie — plus you can come and go as you please. Sitting in a movie theater for 12 hours, watching five movies back-to-back = bliss!

This will be the third year that my mom and I will be attending the Showcase, however, this year there are a few changes. First, Grant will be coming with us. It was sweet of my mom to include us in what has traditionally been “our” thing — but we know he’ll enjoy it. Second, this year I get to liveblog the whole experience! AMC’s PR people contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in live blogging/tweeting/flickring the event, in exchange for two free passes. Since I would have done all that anyway, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to parse all the info (my thought is that I’ll have an RSS feed tomorrow for a post that shows my tweets, flickr stuff and other thoughts — or I might just try to blog from my BlackBerry.

I’ll definitely be tweeting about the event and uploading photos to a Flickr group that @giannii created. All of the bloggers attending the Best Picture Showcase throughout the country will be using the #amcbps hash-tag so you can follow that feed to stay up to date (or to contribute).

I really think AMC totally went about promoting the even this year the right way. In years past, Entertainment Weekly has mentioned the event (that was how I found out about it the first year), and there has been some newspaper coverage or ad space, but this year they really did a good job of getting the word out using social media. A lot of this is because AMC had the foresight to hire @jpgardner as their Social Media Manager. I’ve been following Justin on Twitter for I don’t know how long (feels like forever in Twitter time) and he has a real handle on how to community engagement the right way.

Let’s look at how and why AMC Entertainment has succeeded:

  • They approached bloggers and Twitter users with both an interest in film and with community connections I don’t know if I was approached because of my Twitter following or because I blogged about the Best Picture Showcase last year, but the fact that they contacted me shows that they were doing their homework. I’m a nobody, but a nobody who loves film and who interacts with a lot of other film fans.
  • They really focussed on the excitement of the event The reason my mom and I will be doing this for the third year in a row (and the reason Grant is coming with us), is because this is one of the most fun movie going experiences you can have. If you’re a movie fan, there’s nothing better. Even if you are the type of person that can’t imagine spending 12 hours in a theater, this is still a great event. You’d be surprised how much time flies when you are seeing really quality flicks back to back. Plus, the AMC staff has always been incredibly great at accommodating patrons and making the experience as much fun as possible. That level of fun and excitement came through with the social media campaign.
  • It’s clearly not (just) about the money A lot of companies fail at social or interactive marketing and community outreach because it is clear they just want people to shill for their stuff. This isn’t the case here. Sure, part of the campaign was to raise interest in the event through word of mouth and online channels, but it was clearly about more than that. The focus on tweeting during the event, taking photos, blogging, really making it a fun experience that you can share with your friends all over the place — makes it clear this is just about money. If it were just about money, why encourage people to interact when the event has already started? No, by doing this, not only does AMC make it clear that they aren’t wanting people to just shill for their event, they are showing that they understand that engagement is what keeps people coming back. I’ll say this — even before being approached this year, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be doing the Best Picture Showcase this year. None. The experience has been so great in years past, it was a given. Not only that, but the experience has only increased my brand loyalty to AMC. I can’t always go to AMC because the theater down the street is a Regal and the indie theater down the street is a Landmark, but when I do have the choice, I’ve always preferred AMC. The fact that they do events like this and really try to makes stuff special only cements that loyalty.
  • The price is right  As with years past, the price of a ticket is only $30 ($25 if you are a Movie Watcher card member and you buy at the box office). Five movies and unlimited popcorn for $30 is unheard of. You can get a soda with unlimited refills for about $4, and that makes the whole thing that much better. I’ll be at the newly renovated Buckhead Fork and Screen (formerly the Buckhead Backlot, also known as the place I lost my awesome Diesel hat and the place I left my cell phone in 2001 — got back the phone, not the hat :(), where they serve alcohol (beer, wine) and actual food — so my experience will be even nicer than it was in the past. In this economy, $30 for a day of entertainment is a really great value. Not to mention, it’s a great way for movie lovers on a budget (and that includes me — I just moved into a bigger place and got engaged, our going to the movies budget took a backseat to new furniture, the new TV and my beautiful engagement ring). Plus, it’s an awesome way to get geared up about the Oscar’s the following night.

All in all, this is one of those movie events I look forward to the entire year. Save seeing Vertigo followed by Psycho in glorious 70mm at the Fox Theater on Hitchcock’s 100th birthday, it is my favorite movie experience ever. To quote Ferris Bueller, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”


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February 2009
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1 person has left a comment

Linda Sherman - Gravatar

Linda Sherman said:

I am in the USA but apparently under a rock (I was not following @jpgardner, now I am) because I didn’t hear about this till I saw your tweet today. I am going to see if I can still get in. I work for Singular Magazine I wonder if they reached out to the press?

Posted on: February 20, 2009 at 6:59 pmQuote this Comment