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‘Battleship’ Recruits $50M In Promotional Partnerships: Universal’s Big Bet Paying Off

EXCLUSIVE: Ever since Universal announced its $200M budget buster Battleship, this sci-fi action adaptation of the Hasbro naval strategy board game has been a big question mark around Hollywood. Now, with just two months before the movie opens overseas in April and then a month later in the U.S./Canada, I’ve learned that Universal has hedged its bet. The studio has secured promotional partnerships amounting to $50 million for TV, print, and online advertising as well as the value of in-store packaging. And that doesn’t even count the cross-company synergy effort within Comcast whose home-owned inventory won’t be charged against actual cost. What’s even more important is that these promotional partnerships have come in response to the studio’s pitch to Madison Avenue for Battleship, with director Peter Berg screening 20 to 30 minutes of footage for partners and exhibitors across the globe. And the feeling is that, if the ad people like it and the theatre owners like it, then the moviegoers may not be too far behind. That’s certainly what Universal Studios COO Ron Meyer, Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson, and Universal Pictures Co-Chair Donna Langley are holding their breath for. One moment of relief: I’ve confirmed that Comcast chief Brian Roberts recently saw a rough-cut of the film and emerged “all smiles”. (NBCUniversal bigwig Steve Burke hasn’t screened it in its entirety yet.) Of course this is the fickle movie biz and the film could still flop.

Right now the average Hollywood studio’s marketing spend on a blockbuster is $70+M domestic and at least that for international. Some studios have been known to spend $200+M globally like when Sony Pictures introduced its new Bond, Daniel Craig. So adding another $50M is both a marketing  and branding booster. I’ve learned that Battleship‘s promotional partners include Coke Zero which has planned the largest global packaging promotion in its history as well as TV ad campaign. Also Cisco which has made its first-ever film partnership with Battleship. Subway has a large TV campaign and in-store promotion with the movie, and Kraft, Nestle, and Chevron are on board as well. Also both the U.S. Navy (whose actual sailors were used as extras) and the USO are using the movie to promote themselves.
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EXCLUSIVE: Ricky Strauss Picked As New Walt Disney Studios Worldwide Marketing Chief

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 10:31am PST

EXCLUSIVE: This was the coveted Head Of Worldwide Marketing job for Walt Disney Studios which MT Carney just exited and all of Hollywood was speculating on her replacement. I’ve learned the outside-the-box winner is Ricky Strauss, the 16-year Sony Pictures veteran and most recently Participant Media’s man behind The Help for DreamWorks and Disney. I expect an announcement to be made later today. The long-time motion picture production and marketing exec joined Participant Media in March 2005 as President. In his post, he presides over all of Participant’s feature film production, acquisition and marketing efforts, as well as its television and publishing activities. In 2011 besides The Help, Participant had Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Contagion for Warner Bros. Prior to joining Participant, Ricky ran his own film and television production company, Ricochet Entertainment, where he executive  produced The Sweetest Thing, starring Cameron Diaz, among other projects. Before Ricochet, Ricky served as SVP of Production at Sony, where he developed and supervised film projects for the studio. From 1988 to 1997, he served as an advertising executive at Columbia Pictures, creating award winning ad campaigns for many feature films. Meanwhile, the LA Times engaged in a ridiculous speculation game and failed to include Strauss on a usual suspects list.

UPDATE: Here’s the official Disney announcement:

BURBANK, Calif. – January 13, 2012 – Rich Ross, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, announced today that Ricky Strauss has been

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