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That’s App Entertainment!

30 Sep, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

'Man of Steel' app

Here are some of the latest entertainment apps tying into theatrical and home entertainment releases:

■ Disney has done a ton with apps. Most recently, for the Sept. 24 disc release of Iron Man 3, the studio released JARVIS: A Marvel Second-Screen Experience, bringing Tony Stark’s pal to iOS devices. The voice-activated app unlocks exclusive extras on the Blu-ray and lets owners create alarms, download ringtones, post to social media, check the time and weather, and view more than 40 unique Iron Man suits.

For The Little Mermaid, which came back to theaters for a limited run starting Sept. 20, the studio encouraged families to bring iPads to theaters and use Second Screen Live: The Little Mermaid to engage with the film and other audience members while the movie played. The app featured games, a sing-along and audience competition. Disney releases the movie on 3D Blu-ray Oct. 1.

For the June Blu-ray release of Oz the Great and Powerful, the studio also released a movie synch app.

■ Fox released a tie-in application for its CG-animated fantasy film, Epic, weeks before the film hit disc.

The “Epic Coloring & Storybook Builder” app, for both iOS and Android devices, offered users five characters and three backgrounds to work with. Once consumers bought the film, they received a code that unlocked an added 14 characters and seven backgrounds, opening up 190 pages to color.

Bhanu Srikanth, CEO and co-founder of Jargon Technologies, which produces multiplatform second screen apps for several studios, worked on the Epic app, and noted its uniqueness: “The storybook pages can be recorded in their own voice, and then the storybook can be viewed on the mobile device or sent to the TV via the Blu-ray player. This feature in particular was challenging: recording the voice in real-time on all the iOS and Android devices, convert them in real time to a BD compatible format and sending it to Blu-ray device for playback.”

And in April with the record-breaking release of The Bible: The Epic Miniseries, Fox’s free companion app became one of the top free apps from Apple.

■ Prior to the theatrical release of Man of Steel, Warner released a “Man of Steel Experience” app, letting fans take photos with Superman and access branded photo frames when pointing their smartphone at special signage in Walmart stores. The Man of Steel soundtrack with original music by composer Hans Zimmer could be heard in 11.1 surround sound via DTS’s Headphone X downloadable app for Apple and Android devices.

In May Warner launched a Father’s Day Facebook app, asking consumers to vote for their favorite titles from the studio, resulting in nearly 20,000 new consumer database adds.

■ Long before Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness even hit theaters, the studio released a movie-themed app for mobile devices, offering second-screen experiences, games and special offers.

“The app is a connection for the consumer to connect the fictional world with the consumer’s real world,” said Peter Marx, VP of business development at Qualcomm Labs, which developed the app.

■ Starz Digital Media bowed a “Da Vinci’s Demons: The Apprentice” gaming app for Apple devices, featuring more than 50 puzzles, putting players into the role of Leonardo’s pupil.

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