LOS ANGELES -- The direct-to-sell-through release of the live-action "The Adventures of Pinocchio" will be backed by a $10 million marketing campaign, including a cross-promotion with Hormel.
The New Line Home Video movie, starring Martin Landau and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, will street on Nov. 5 with a suggested retail price of $19.98, a 90-day pay-per-view window and a pre-book date of Oct. 15. It will feature a removable cover showing the Pinocchio puppet transforming into Thomas.
The movie is still in theaters and is expected to gross about $15 million at the box office, said Kevin Kasha, senior vice president of sales and distribution at New Line. Although it streets a week after "Toy Story," expected to be the biggest seller of the season,
"The Adventures of Pinocchio" will be the only pure family title on the market during the fourth quarter, he said.
"This is the live-action version of a Disney classic that has sold over 14 million copies in the domestic marketplace," said Kasha. "It's a perfect fit for the supermarket customer."
Gary Schloss, vice president of general merchandise at Anchorage, Alaska-based Carr Gottstein Foods, said he is expecting the film to do well when it hits store shelves in November.
"There is such a strong difference between a children's movie and an adult-oriented movie. Children can sit there and it is like a built-in babysitter. They can watch those things six, eight or 10 times during a week and can come back and see it again," he said.
As a rule of thumb, children's films generally have a higher sell-through than adult movies, Schloss said. "A family with children is more likely to buy a film than to rent it."
Hormel will offer a $5 mail-in rebate to customers buying "The Adventures of Pinocchio" and five packages of any of several Hormel brands, including Spam, Chili, Corned Beef Hash, Chunk Meat and Beef Stew. Besides Hormel, other tie-in partners are TCBY, IBM and Scholastic. Total rebates connected with the release are $12.
Jan Winn, director of HBC at Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass., said the chain will be tying in the film with the Hormel rebate in its stores, along with advertising it in its weekly circular and offering discounts through its Express Savings Club discount card.
"We expect the release of 'The Adventures of Pinocchio' to do better than an adult-oriented film like 'Mission: Impossible' because it has more mass appeal," she told SN. "We find that most children's videos released at Christmas do very well because they are seen as a gift-giving opportunity."
New Line's Kasha said, "The Turner Entertainment and New Line Home Video sales force will be working with the Hormel sales force to make sure that the supermarket buyer of the Hormel products are familiar with the program and is communicating with the video buyer."
"Hormel has put together a very aggressive sales program," said Cathy Scott, New Line's vice president of publicity and promotions. The company is designing point-of-purchase materials specifically for the supermarket and warehouse club classes of trade.
"This is going to be the perfect holiday gift, because it streets on Nov. 5, at the height of the holiday gift-giving season," said Sarah Olson-Graves, vice president of marketing.
However, some retailers questioned the viability of live-action remakes.
"Some of the remakes and live-action movies just don't do that well," said Shirley Decker, video buyer at Goff Food Stores, Haslett, Mich. " 'The Jungle Book' live-action film from Disney just bombed. 'A Miracle on 34th Street' remake in present day bombed."
To be on the cautious side, Decker said her chain will probably only bring in 24 copies per store, vs. the 96 per store that it usually orders.
"If it does well we can always order more," she said.
Likewise, Robin Carey, video merchandiser at Glen's Markets, Gaylord, Mich., also expressed apprehension about live-action remakes.
"One thing that it does have going for it is Jonathan Taylor Thomas being Pinocchio, because a lot of the young ladies think he is hot," she said.
Decker said she expects to merchandise "The Adventures of Pinocchio" in the video aisle, and possibly in the seasonal aisle.
"If it comes in a nice shipper, I can merchandise it up front with holiday candy and those types of items," she said.
The $10 million marketing campaign for "The Adventures of Pinocchio" will include ads on network television, cable TV, spot TV, syndicated TV programming and print ads.