Yahoo Inc. is trying to stake a claim on the summer movie season with the launch of Movieland, an interactive online game promoting 35 upcoming big-budget films.
Developed with participation from all the major movie studios, Movieland is laid out as a virtual board game, with each square representing a summer film. Users will be able to watch trailers, answer trivia questions, earn and share online badges, buy tickets and win prizes.
Ken Fuchs, vice president and head of sports, entertainment and games at Yahoo Media Network, said Movieland "game-ifies moviegoing in an interesting way. It sucks people into an experience."
The game debuted Tuesday on Yahoo Movies with trailers and trivia for all the films. It also offered online tickets to Warner Bros.' "Dark Shadows," Paramount's "The Dictator," Lionsgate's "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and Universal's "Battleship" and "Snow White and the Huntsman." Ticketing for other movies will be rolled out as they approach their release dates.
Doug Neil, senior vice president of digital marketing at Universal, said the studio's participation in Movieland will complement its existing marketing.
"We have seen interactive experiences that have a game structure to them to be more immersive and engaging relative to the exposure to our films," Neil said, adding that Movieland is "a great way to drive people into a more organic conversation around our film."
Movieland will spearhead Yahoo's efforts this summer to promote its Yahoo Movies site, which the Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet company says reaches 26 million users a month. Planned promotions include a large presence at Comic-Con in San Diego in July and live streaming of red-carpet premieres.
In the last year, Yahoo streamed the premieres of blockbusters "The Hunger Games" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1."
As Yahoo tries to return to business as usual in the wake of former Chief Executive Scott Thompson's resignation Sunday, the Yahoo Movies push is part of the company's strategy to transition from a Web portal and search engine to a producer of premium online information and entertainment.
"We are a content company as much as we are a technology company," Fuchs said.