Movie Marketing Update
Breaking Movie Marketing News:
Hit MotoGP Film FASTER Launches on iTunes
The National Hockey League Partners with Paramount on "Love Guru"
Indie Horror Film Viral Marketing Campaign Freaks out Okies

Hit MotoGP Film FASTER Launches on iTunes

New Video announced today that the hit feature film FASTER has premiered on iTunes. FASTER chases two seasons' worth of the MotoGP world championship over five continents, all the while critiquing the sport's subculture through revealing interviews with riders, mechanics, doctors, commentators and fans. The film features John Hopkins, the accident-Garry McCoy, and, for those in the know, the bitter rivalry between celebrity-schmoozing Max Biaggi and charismatic champion Valentino Rossi. New Video has ramped up their iTunes releases recently, and has become one of the leading suppliers of indie content to the store.
You can purchase a copy for $9.99 here.

The National Hockey League Partners with Paramount on "Love Guru"

NHL Logo According to Brandweek, the National Hockey League has signed on as a promotional partner in support of Mike Meyer’s new comedy “The Love Guru.,” whose plot centers on the Toronto Maple Leafs' quest for the Stanley Cup. The NHL has committed to producing original commercials in support of the release:
Marketing support will include a 30-second TV spot, produced in cooperation with the movie studio by NHL Productions, which mixes NHL game action with scenes and dialogue from the film. The spot will run on Versus, NBC and online during NHL playoff games. The spot will also appear in-arena during playoff games now through the Stanley Cup finals in June.
The league will also include film-related content on, and also plans on conducting in-arena branding and promotions.

The deal was brokered by the William Morris Agency on the leagues behalf. The film is slated to hit theaters on June 20th, with promotions running throughout the playoff season.

Indie Horror Film Viral Marketing Campaign Freaks out Okies

In order to promote the premiere of their horror film "A Beautiful Day" at an Oklahoma film festival, a local filmmaking team posted viral videos on YouTube as part of their marketing efforts. But instead of building viewer buzz, they attracted the attention of the local authorities according to the Tulsa World
A trailer for the film was posted on the video-sharing site YouTube under the headline, "Warning, Muskogee, OK." The video featured a synthesized voice saying, "People of Muskogee. Open your eyes. April 25th is a day you'll come to remember." Along with images of dark forests, it included the message "the end is coming."

Without context, the video came across as a possible terrorist threat, said Muskogee police spokesman Brad Holt.

Muskogee school officials alerted police to the video after word spread among students. April 25 is prom night for some of the schools, which only heightened concern, Holt added.

Muskogee police contacted the FBI and began investigating with federal agents before determining it was not a threat but a film trailer.

"Meant as a publicity stunt and just went bad," Holt said. "They didn't mention anything about a movie. It sounded like a threat."
Interestingly, there have been many recent Hollywood promotions of the web that haven't initially mentioned the name of the film ("Cloverfield" and the recent efforts behind "Quarantine" come to mind). Doesn't calling attention to the movie to early hurt the chance for the promo to go viral? Could it still work with a slate at the end for the film's website? Pulling the film from the festival was a chump move. At any rate, if they don't get the book thrown at 'em, this stunt could help them build up a fan base for the movie. You can check out the film's Myspace page and trailer here. It's creepy-kitschy in a DIY, "Coven" kind of way.

DoubleClick’s Rich Media Services Power Eight of the Current Top 10 Films

doubleclick logo Ad serving company DoubleClick announced today that their Rich Media and Video services are powering eight of the top ten current box office releases. Among the releases currently using their services include: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Knocked Up, Shrek the Third, Spider-Man 3, Bug, 28 Weeks Later and Waitress. You can check out a sample of the recent ads here.

With trailers among the most consumed and searched for video content on the web, tightly integrating that content directly into the advertisements has become a basic requirement for launching a theatrical release. DoubleClick released a report a few months back that showed a sizable increase in click-throughs with video served within advertisements (you can read their study data here). Given Google's recent $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick, it is likely that some element of their ad serving and rich media technologies will eventually become accessible to smaller distributors as well. While even today anyone can place video and audio ads via Google’s Adwords system, the dynamic, rich advertisements that the studios are currently using aren’t possible through current self-service tools.

Disney gets risqué with Unrated release of ‘Badder Santa’

Disney Home Entertainment will be releasing an unrated cut of ‘Bad Santa’ tentative titled ‘Badder Santa: Unrated Edition’ on Blu-Ray, High-Def Digest reports. While the release date is set for November 20th, the raunchy details of the disc’s contents are still under wraps. With the former Buena Vista Units all now bearing the Disney moniker, Dimension no longer a Disney Label, and Touchstone long buried, Disney doesn’t really have an appropriate label for gross-out comedy anymore.

To date, all versions of ‘Bad Santa’ have sold more than 1.38 million units on DVD, according to Nielsen Videoscan.

Best Buy partners with the Rolling Stones on DVD Exclusive

Best Buy Logo The Rolling Stones and Best Buy have partnered on a new exclusive DVD Release for the second time in four years, according to Businesswire. Called The Biggest Bang, this four DVD set of the Stones’ recent record-breaking tour will be available starting June 12 for $29.99 exclusively at Best Buy’s retail and online stores. The Biggest Bang features duets with Dave Matthews, Bonnie Raitt and Eddie Vedder, among others, and features over 50 songs and footage from around the world. Previously, Best Buy released Four Flicks, a 19-times platinum Rolling Stones set that remains the number one selling concert DVD in U.S. history according to Nielsen Soundscan.

The release comes at the height of the “retail exclusive” trend. With price search engines on the web leveling the playing field, retailers have been pressured to come up with limited, exclusive versions or outright exclusive releases to help drive traffic to lagging retailers. In the past year, Best Buy has been at the forefront with home entertainment exclusives, with some notable releases being The Office Severance Package, a Scrubs bonus DVD, and a two week Apple iTV exclusive. While a boon for retailers, these special releases are making DVD distributors work harder (and less profitably) for what amounts to similar buying levels from DVD’s sales peak in 2005. That being said, the collaborative nature of these projects has strengthened the distributor-buyer relationship, and has helped to make distributors become more customer-centric.

Report: PC Usage for Movie Downloading and Viewing Rises

According to a new report titled “At the Click of a Mouse” by Solutions Research Group, the PC is morphing from a work-related device to a digital “life hub,” with movie downloading and viewing being a core activity. According to the study, 47% of US-based PC users watched DVDs on their computers in May 2007, up from 29% last October. Over 15% of users had downloaded a full-length movie from the web (although only 8% of those were paid downloads.) The report also notes that 66% of surveyed consumers believe that one day, “all movies will be available at the click of a mouse,” with nearly three quarters of those between 30-49 believing the statement to be true.

Despite the enthusiasm, the report notes that only 30% of consumers have visited the movie sections at iTunes, with even less (under 10%) for WalMart and Amazon’s Unbox. Netflix is showing some promise out of the gate, however, with one in three users of that service having used their online instant viewing feature in the last month.

To download a PDF summary sheet of the research report, click here.

Fox and Peach Arch team with Reader's Digest Family Films to Produce 'Ace of Hearts'

Reader's Digest This week, production began on ‘Ace of Hearts’, the first release under the new Reader’s Digest Family Films brand, according to a company press release. Peach Arch Entertainment is producing the film and will handle international distribution, while Fox will handle domestic marketing and distribution. Reader’s Digest will leverage its 40 million subscriber base (the largest magazine in America) via direct marketing, print and online promotions worldwide. The company also plans on leveraging its 26 other publications and web properties. The deal was brokered by the William Morris Agency and the Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Stiffelman, Gilbert-Lurie, Cook, Johnson & Wolf law firm.

Starring Dean Cain, ‘Ace of Hearts’ is a family adventure film following the adventures of a cop and his loyal German Shepard as they battle forces with a pack of wily criminals out for revenge. The film is tentatively slated for an early 2006 release. The script is based on a story that originally appeared in Reader’s Digest in 2002.

Warner Independent Tests Custom Local TV Spots with Spot Runner

spotrunner_logo.jpg According to Adweek, Warner Independent Pictures used Spot Runner, a web-based service for local TV ad buys, to promote the release of 'The Painted Veil' in late December. Warner ran the spots in 18 markets where the film was playing, and tagged each commercial with the names of the actual theaters where the film could be seen. Preliminary research from the studio has shown greater ticket sales in some markets where the ads have played, although the overall costs of the ad buy were comparable to traditional buys. All in all, the move is reminiscent of the voice-tagged local commercials indie distributors used nearly 40 years ago to drive audiences to their low budget "sword-and-sandal" pictures.

There is one point that needs to be closely scrutinized, however: The article notes that Warner had 36 custom spots developed. While the costs of tagging each ad and the related production expenses are probably low, it would be interesting to see what this campaign's overall ROI was when compared to a more traditional TV ad campaign.

In just over two weeks of release, 'The Painted Veil' has grossed $720,000 on 72 screens, according to Box Office Mojo.

Miramax to Increase Focus on Marketing Partnerships with Disney Divisions

Posted on 09/22/2006
Filed under Disney, Industry News, Miramax, Movie Marketing, Partnerships

Miramax Logo
Miramax is getting serious about forging marketing campaigns and promotional partnerships with other Walt Disney Company divisions, according to Variety.

To kick off the move, Miramax Executive V.P. of Business Affairs Michael Luisi has been given an expanded role that will put him in charge of developing partnerships with Disney divisions such as ESPN, ABC and Hyperion. While Miramax has conducted these sorts of promotional activities in the recent past, the move signifies an attempt to systematize these activities, to improve Miramax’s brand recognition, and to better integrate Miramax into the company as a whole. The move also mirrors Disney’s move towards greater divisional symbiosis. The best example has been their recent success with the ‘Pirates’ franchise, which began as a theme park ride and has led to increased park attendance and merchandise sales.

Miramax has grossed a little over $17 million year to date on six releases, down drastically from the division’s peak of $427 million in 2001. The sharp decline in revenue reflects the division’s shift in focus from larger budgeted tentpole productions under the Weinsteins to a mix of lower-budgeted independent fare and foreign acquisitions.

Bollywood Embraces Online Movie Marketing

With the burgeoning growth on India’s online population, Bollywood movie marketers are ramping up their online marketing efforts, according to The Hindu Business Line.

According to the article, over 38.5 million Indians have Internet access, and although broadband penetration is in its early stages, over 1.5 million homes already have high-speed access. There are also an estimated 20 million Indians living abroad who are interested in keeping up with the latest Bollywood productions.

Indian film marketers have noted that young, tech-oriented professionals with disposable income are highly likely to use the web to discover movies to see in theaters:

Says Rajnish R., Head - Digital Marketing Revenue and Strategic Business, MSN India: "People who use the Internet are twice likely to go watch movies in multiplexes (than those who do not). Indians abroad go online to read movie reviews before they book a ticket or buy the DVD. So, the adoption of online media is attractive to new-age producers, who themselves are Net-savvy."

Online promotions on large portals such as MSN India typically cost between 800,000 and one million rupees ($17-25K dollars). Promotions on Indiafm, Bollywood's #1 movie portal vary from 50,000 to 1.2 million rupees ($1100 -$26,100) depending on the targeted regions and audience.

Individual film sites are also become more common, and traffic has been booming – Hungama, a top online promotions company for Bollywood, noted that some of their larger sites attract up to 12 million page views a month. Online interactive contests are also becoming popular, and are now sporting major corporate sponsors.

The migration to more sophisticated online marketing methods mirror’s Bollywood’s increasing marketing savvy in other channels. Recent calls for more integrated marketing have increased lately, even culminating in top talent calling for the emulation of Hollywood-style marketing.

The Indian film industry sold more than 3.8 billion tickets in 2005, grossing over $1.14 billion dollars, according to a recent article on Bloomberg. By comparison, Hollywood grossed nearly $9 billion dollars during the same calendar year.

Previous 10 entries...

Fox Launches Second Demographically-targeted Specialty Division with FoxFaith
AOL RED Announces Exclusive "Direct-to-download" Horror Film Release
Movie Ads in the Wild: New York City Edition
CARU Asks Disney to Stop Advertising 'Pirates of the Caribbean' to Kids
New Movie Marketing Collateral - Monday 9/18
Wal-Mart Accelerating Digital Movie Download Efforts
Sony Pictures Signs Promotional Deal with Heineken for 'Casino Royale'
MySpace and Fox Partner to Launch the 'Black Carpet Screening Series'
Warner Bows 'The Lake House' Simultaneously on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray
Lionsgate and Warcon Records promo ‘Saw III’ with Live Musical Event

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