- Disney on Nov. 2 will start promoting "Ralph Breaks the Internet," the sequel to the 2012 animated film "Wreck-It Ralph," with an augmented reality (AR) smartphone game in theaters. Moviegoers who download the Noovie ARcade app can play the game during movie previews at 1,700 theaters including AMC, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group, according to an announcement.
- The game challenges players to feed the animated Kitty and Bunny characters as fast as possible, resembling a scene from the movie, which premieres Nov. 21.
- In-theater advertising company National CineMedia developed the Noovie ARcade app, which is free to download from Apple's App Store and Google Play. David Sieden, VP of cinema partnerships at Disney, said AR is a way to get audiences excited for the movie release.
Disney's game tie-in with "Ralph Breaks the Internet" transforms theaters into giant video game screens through AR tech and is a creative way to engage audiences at the movies, where many people spend time looking at their phones waiting for the show to begin. The movie is well suited for a game tie-in, given that its main characters are based on those from a video game, while the trailers show popular internet brands like Facebook, Google and Snapchat.
The "Ralph Breaks the Internet" in-theater game comes a month after National CineMedia debuted an AR horror experience in theaters for moviegoers who have downloaded the Noovie ARcade app. Audiences who saw "Venom," "Halloween" and any PG-13 or R-rated movies could participate in the AR experience that ran through Oct. 31. Similarly, Moviebill last summer distributed millions of copies of its free print publication that moviegoers could scan with Regal Entertainment's mobile app to activate AR experiences related to top movies. That campaign during "The Avengers: Infinity War" saw 2 million scans of Moviebill's AR content, signaling major engagement that led to increased downloads of Regal's app.
The film industry has had a solid year, per the National Association of Theatre Owners. Summer theater admissions up 12.3% with hits like "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," which was promoted with a variety of AR and VR experiences.