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Studios Pull Out Marketing Stops on Tron: Legacy and Waiting for Superman

Photo of Anne Thompson 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.
Thompson on Hollywood

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).

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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.

This article is related to: Box Office, Franchises, Genres, Studios, Marketing, Exhibition, Winter, Sci-fi, Documentaries, Action, Paramount/Vantage/Insurge/CBS, Disney , 3D

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.