'Hobbit' Heats Up With Microsoft, Denny's & others
By Robert Marich
Dec. 1, 2012-The promotions for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are multiplying with Microsoft, Microsoft, Denny’s, a cruise line, mobile game and theaters offering marathons of the earlier Lord of the Rings movies. Warner Bros. is scheduled to premiere The Hobbit on Dec. 14 and astonishingly this film is not yet rated so close to its theatrical premiere.
• Comedy Central cable network’s The Colbert Report presents a week of Hobbit-themed content including in-person appearances by the cast. A press release says that host Stephen Colbert is a “Tolkien enthusiast/super fan”—which is a reference to the author of the Lord of the Rings books on which the movie is based.
• “Microsoft has reportedly licensed several of "The Hobbit’s characters for ads to run in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany,” says an Adage.com article by Thomas Pardee.
• A tie-in with Denny’s restaurant includes “Hobbit food” such as Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet and Gandalf's Gobble Melt. “The Denny's deal also included a rash of TV spots,” says the AdAge article. “It's generated plenty of buzz.”
• Crystal Cruises is offering Hobbit dinners and a tour of the movie set in New Zealand for cruises going there. “The Hobbiton dinner and village exploration fee is $265/person,” says a press release.
• New Zealand’s tourism authority has multiple promotions after a major government investment in the movie in the movie and the promotions are built around the theme “100% Middle Earth.100% Pure New Zealand.” “The Kiwi government footed $99 million of the film’s $270 million production price tag and chipped in an additional $10 million to its marketing coffer, all to make sure (director Peter) Jackson kept the project in New Zealand despite union disputes with the film's producers,” says Ad Age. A Wall Street Journal article put the New Zealand subsidy at $80 million, which drew some complaints from citizens though the government feels it is money well spent in national promotion.
• Massively multiplayer game outfit Kabam has an app enabling free mobile game play for The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth. The app works for The works for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices.
• Movie theaters showing The Hobbit are weigh in too. Some are screening the three Lord of the Rings films prior to the premier. For example, Regal Cinemas is running the extended "director's cut" of the trilogy movies Dec. 8 (at 11:15 am, 3:30 pm and 8pm) for $25 at 293 theaters.
The Hobbit is also significant because it is the first wide release film with High Frame Rate (HFR) technology presenting 48 frames per second, instead of the standard 24 frames. As a first, the number of theaters with HFR will be limited. In an industry presentation in April, theater exhibitors were unimpressed with a 10-minute HFR demonstration clip, but the technology’s advocates say the demo was flawed and the theater introduction will provide breathtaking depth.
Separately, the Tolkien estate and its book publisher Harper Collins filed an $80 million Warner Bros. last month claiming the studio exceeded its rights in licensing Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie. The lawsuit says that Warner is only allowed to license tangible physical products, not electronic incarnations.
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Below are image from the movie's Facebook page and also logo for its Kabam mobile game.