- Warner Bros. last night debuted the latest preview for the action movie "Tenet" in the hit video game "Fortnite." The trailer for the film from "Batman Begins" director Christopher Nolan appeared in the game's "Party Royale" virtual island, per an announcement on Twitter.
- In addition to showing the trailer at the top of every hour, "Fortnite" also has an exclusive interview between video game journalist Geoff Keighley and actor John David Washington, who stars in "Tenet," per a separate tweet.
- "Fortnite" announced the movie trailer two weeks after introducing "Party Royale," a non-violent, combat-free section of the game where people can gather as avatars and watch virtual events. In introducing "Party Royale," "Fortnite" publisher Epic Games announced that the multiplayer game had more than 350 million registered players, who racked up 3.2 billion hours of gameplay in April, per a tweet.
Warner Bros.' premiere of the latest trailer for "Tenet," which is rated PG-13 for younger moviegoers, aims to reach a target audience of action movie fans who are most likely to play video games like "Fortnite." About 82% of the player base for "Fortnite" is under 35 years old, while 40% of U.S. children ages 10 to 17 play the game at least once a week, a study last year by National Research Group revealed. Those demographics tend to be elusive to other media channels, making "Fortnite" more significant to marketers of youth-oriented products, including summer blockbusters.
The premiere of the "Tenet" trailer is another sign of how "Fortnite" is evolving from a popular online video game into a social network and virtual entertainment venue — a transformation that's become even more relevant due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Fortnite" last month saw a record turnout of 12.3 million attendees to its virtual concert starring rapper Travis Scott, surpassing the prior record of 10.7 million for a virtual show featuring DJ Marshmello last year. The record turnout indicates that virtual events can draw massive attendance, especially with the pandemic keeping more people indoors.
That captive audience of people looking for digital entertainment, combined with the closure of movie theaters, has at the same time transformed how movie studios are promoting and distributing feature films.
Universal Pictures last month launched a campaign on Snapchat to promote the animated movie "Trolls World Tour," which it distributed through video-on-demand (VOD) channels instead of through theaters. The movie's popularity among families looking for kid-safe entertainment during lockdown signaled how VOD can generate strong revenue. Following that release, Warner Bros. this month promoted the VOD premiere of animated feature "Scoob!" with a dance challenge on viral video app TikTok. Tenet's trailer indicates Warner Bros. is still aiming for a theatrical release, which is set for July 17.
The popularity of "Fortnite" among younger audiences has lured a variety of marketers to the platform. Mobile video startup Quibi last month premiered one of its shows in the game's virtual drive-in section called "Risky Reels," the same place that Disney showcased exclusive footage from "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" as part of its promotion for the franchise installment. Fast-food chain Wendy's and Nike's Jordan Brand also have integrated their brands with gameplay in "Fortnite."