‘Avengers’ Gamers on Facebook Get First Look at Movie Spot

Walt Disney Co. (DIS) unveiled the latest ad for its May 4 movie release “Marvel’s The Avengers” inside a game on Facebook.com.

The commercial appears in the game “Marvel: Avengers Alliance,” which Disney created for Facebook. Players who watch get a virtual gold bar to buy weapons and other products. Playing is free; the bars cost $1 for four.

“Marvel: Avengers Alliance,” has attracted 640,000 daily users, according to AppData, a researcher. It is part of a broader trend in which studios drum up interest for pictures by engaging potential ticket buyers online. Disney said it is the first time Marvel has used a game to introduce a movie ad.

“Disney is leveraging its assets in such an exciting way across multiple platforms,” said Jeff Gomez, founder of Starlight Runner Entertainment, which consults with companies on online strategies. “Our tracking indicates it’s been highly effective. They’re going to reap rewards.”

“The Avengers” follows a team of Marvel superheroes battling to save the earth. It stars Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, reprising their roles as Iron Man and the Black Widow from 2010’s “Iron Man 2,” which grossed $624 million worldwide for distributor Paramount Pictures on a budget of $200 million, according to Box Office Mojo, an industry researcher.

“We believe this game is the ideal platform for reaching a large and passionate Avengers fan base,” said Mike Rubinelli, a vice president of Playdom, the social-game company Disney acquired for $563 million in 2010.

‘Captain America 2’

This is the first Marvel movie marketed and distributed by Disney since it acquired the film and comic-book company for $4 billion in 2009. Previous Marvel films were distributed by other studios with licensing agreements.

The company today announced an April 2014 release date for “Captain America 2,” sequel to a 2011 film that brought in $369 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Disney, based in Burbank, California, rose 0.4 percent to $43.08 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 15 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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