By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 11, 2010 at 7:37AM
Studios Paramount and Disney are kicking marketing into gear for the education doc Waiting for Superman and the 3-D VFX extravaganza Tron: Legacy, respectively.
Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which opened September 24 and expands throughout October, is designed to make viewers angry enough to actually do something. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100-million challenge grant to the Newark Public Schools was announced on Oprah. And on Monday, Paramount took the five kids profiled in Waiting for Superman to meet President Obama at the White House.
The studio is also deploying interactive marketing techniques to pull moviegoers into participating in fighting for change in the nation's education system. Now that Paramount has signed up over 150,000 people via its Take the Pledge campaign to see Waiting For Superman, the 12-year-old NewSchools Venture Fund is honoring its commitment to invest $5 million in innovative educational organizations working toward the eradication of achievement gaps in low-income communities (specific recipients are yet to be announced).
NewSchools' CEO Ted Mitchell says:
Excellent schools, with outstanding teachers, make all the difference in a child’s life. But in some places in this country, access to an excellent school is a matter of chance. It’s not fair, and we all need to step up to change the odds. NewSchools and its entrepreneurs are demonstrating every day that it can be done.”
Meanwhile, as Disney's new marketing chief, industry outsider MT Carney, learns on the job and defends herself after the lackluster opening of Secretariat, Disney marketing is pulling out the stops to build buzz in advance of the December 17 release of the $170-million plus sequel Tron: Legacy. Last week the studio bought a series of wrap-around print ads in the LAT (rather early for a holiday film) and on October 28 they kick off a ten-week countdown with the free Tron Night: An IMAX 3D Experience, which includes a twenty-minute sneak peak from the film at select 3-D and IMAX theaters worldwide. (This strategy did not work so well for Avatar last year.)
Tickets are available here starting at 10am/PDT Tuesday. Following Tron Night are Tron Tuesdays for ten weeks leading up to the release, showcasing new video and film content, behind-the-scenes exclusives and artwork, via select broadcast and online outlets. There's also the Tron: Evolution videogame on December 7 as well as Disney California Adventure Park's nighttime visual/musical street event "ElecTRONica" running each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night through April 2011 and nightly through the holidays.