Warner Brothers goes on a hyped crusade

US estimates suggest Warner Brothers will have used almost $60m of media exposure from Warner and its promotional partners to support the release of Batman Forever.

The company has used the movie’s release to relaunch – in effect – the Batman brand. The second movie, Batman Returns directed by Tim Burton, was deemed too dark and menacing by many (box office: $163m). This summer, with a new Batman (played by Val Kilmer) and the introduction of The Riddler (Jim Carrey), Warner hopes interest in the third episode will match the euphoria that greeted the original Batman back in 1989 (box office: $251m).

It has created a Batman Web site on the Internet – which has so far attracted 2 million subscribers – and rededicated its studio stores “official Batman headquarters”. An advertising campaign running since May has plugged both. A teaser campaign in the national press featured riddles. A McDonald’s promotion included Batman Forever extra-value meals, glass mugs and millions of branded trayliners.

Comics, new promotions, a Fox Television animated TV series and e-mail targeting media professionals makes it more than just another movie launch.

Warner Brothers is reportedly spending $25m on marketing the movie which cost $100m to make. Other studios are also spending heavily: Paramount is expected to spend more than $20m on Apollo 13 – a figure matched by Disney for its latest animated feature, Pocahontas.

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