Facebook “likes” Hollywood – will offer movies online

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Does Batman want to "friend" the Joker?

As if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t already control most of the universe, the Facebook founder – played as a socially-challenged social network pioneer by Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher’s Oscar-winner – has cooked a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures to serve up the studio’s titles online. Starting with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, select Warner’s fare will be available to rent via the respective films’ fan pages. The Dark Knight’s Facebook page, it should be noted, has nearly four million fans.

Facebook’s move into digital distribution with Warner Bros. is akin to putting a toe in the virtual waters, but it’s already had huge ripple effects in Hollywood, where competing studios are expected to follow suit (and where shares in Netflix dropped dramatically when the deal was announced). The alliance is also being seen as a way for Facebook to flex its Credits currency system – heretofore used primarily for virtual games – and position it as a viable alternative to PayPal. The rental fees at the outset: $3, or 30 Facebook Credits.

Just one question as Facebook thunders down the highway in its quest for global -- no, make that intergalactic -- dominace: does Christian Bale’s brooding crimefighter have the tech-savvy to edit his own Facebook profile? Does anybody?

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