Now showing on Facebook: Pulp Fiction and other Miramax movies

August 22, 2011

Have you ever logged on to Facebook to watch a movie?

Film studios are betting you will.

On Monday Miramax announced a special Facebook app that will allow users to rent, and eventually buy, movies and view them within Facebook. The studio is releasing 20 movies, including Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting and Spy Kids, in its new Facebook app. Users can rent the movies with Facebook Credits, the virtual currency that Facebook has developed for its 750-million user social network, and watch them on their laptop, iPad or TV.

Last week Universal Pictures made its Facebook debut, releasing the 1998 bowling classic The Big Lebowski to Facebook users. Warner Brothers’ Dark Knight and Paramount’s “Jackass” franchise of films were also released for rent on  Facebook earlier this year.

Facebook has already proven to be an ideal distribution channel for games, with more than 200 million users playing social games like Farmville and Mafia Wars on the service every month.

Whether the social network proves as good a fit for Hollywood content remains to be seen.

The recent announcements are heavy on social buzzwords (Miramax promises its films will be part of the “fabric” of discussions on Facebook), but they aren’t exactly a full embrace of Facebook as a film distribution channel. So far, the fare consists of titles that have been available on DVD for years.

But with DVD sales plummeting in recent years, any new market for selling or renting movies is an important one for the studios.

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