Not all film marketing experts are sold on the ultimate value of fan events. Ben Carlson, president of market tracking firm Fizziology, believes the biggest social-media boost still comes from online trailer releases.
"As soon as you put a good trailer out, it almost immediately becomes a trending topic on Twitter," he said, adding that in-person showcases like those held by Disney and Sony don't have the same social media impact.
"It's more for the influential film bloggers. It does some nice heavy-lifting there," he said. "I don't think the mainstream moviegoer who might be in Kansas City or Memphis or Helena, Mont., is going to necessarily be paying attention to what's happening at an event with a few thousand people, but they will read about it on Ain't It Cool News."
Carlson said the trailer for another anticipated summer release, Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim," premiered for a group of fans before making its online debut, and it was the latter that resulted in a palpable Twitter bump.
"Instantly thousands and thousands of people were talking about it, and that's without any kind of special push to it at all," he said. "People just love the content."
Still, in a hyper-saturated media world, there's something about being the first to see something really cool, never mind seeing movie stars like Depp and Damon in person. Disney's Ayaz said he expects the studio to hold fan-focused events for future "tent pole" releases such as "Thor," ''Captain America" and "Maleficent." Sony previously held an event for "The Amazing Spider-Man," and is releasing the sequel next year.
"People are more distracted than ever before and they have a lot of different mediums to get access to our content, and what is more basic and more powerful than having a live event where you have your creative (people) — the actual filmmakers and the actors and the talent from your film — directly answering questions and showing their work to the fans?" Ayaz said. "It's a basic idea but it's still one of the most powerful ideas when you've got the goods and you've got a really good movie."
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy .
The Lone Ranger: http://disney.go.com/the-lone-ranger/
Star Trek: Into Darkness: http://www.startrekmovie.com/
Pacific Rim: http://www.pacificrimmovie.net/