Lionsgate Sacrifices “Abduction” To Test Simultaneous Facebook/DVD Release

When you’re in charge of getting people to rent a move like Abduction, with its Metacritic score of 25 and a truly remarkable 4% on Rotten Tomatoes, what can you really do? The answer: whatever the hell you want. Short of stuffing free money into every box, few things could really help this one take off — so you might as well experiment, right?

And experiment they shall. Throwing Abduction to the sharks for the sake of testing their teeth, Lionsgate is releasing the film on DVD and Facebook simultaneously.

The Facebook rental will cost 13-year-old girls everywhere $3.99 for 48 hours of access to Taylor Lautner’s face.

While plenty of movies have found their way to Facebook following The Dark Knight’s lead back in March, this is the first time a Hollywood flick has debuted on Facebook and DVD simultaneously.

Two things I notice:
— While I joke that they’re willing to sacrifice Abduction because it sucked anyway, it seems strange to test the waters with such a poorly received film. Even if damned near nobody rents this on Facebook, it doesn’t mean that Facebook rentals aren’t viable — just that no one wants to see this movie.
— Lionsgate avoided using Facebook credits (presumably to avoid Facebook’s 30% cut), instead allowing only credit card/PayPal payments. If Facebook users are anything like iOS users, ditching the in-app payment system can only hurt sales.