It’s a fuel-injected, financial phenomenon. Disney and its wholly owned production partner Pixar are revving up the hype machine for their latest production, “Cars” and launching the biggest movie and merchandising promotion campaign in Disney history.
It’s the latest production in a relationship already generating close to $4 billion in global box office sales so far. Disney bought Pixar in January for $7 billion, turning Steve Jobs and his $4 billion in stock into the King of the Magic Kingdom
“I think Steve will be a big voice, and I think that's a good thing”, said Bob Iger, Disney CEO.
Not to mention Bob Iger’s most important partner, Pixar CEO, Steve Jobs.
“We think we got something pretty good going here. It's gonna be a pretty exciting world, looking ahead to the next five years,” said Jobs.
This time around, 17 promotional partners from McDonalds to Porsche will be in on the marketing blitz. Twelve of them will spend $50 million alone to promote their tie-ins on TV and in print, with video games maker THQ serving up a version of Cars “On the Go”.
“Something is working very well," said Brian Farrell, CEO of THQ. "We know that, Disney knows that and Pixar knows that. So that creative collaboration has created success and we don't see that changing.”
The film features a Porsche as a character, along with a Mack truck. The Goodyear blimp is now a “lightyear” – along with “lightyear” tires. It's a nice homage to another Disney/Pixar blockbuster, Toy Story -- not to mention the film’s underlying connection to America’s hottest spectator sport, Nascar racing.
“In terms of creativity, 'Cars' will be one of the best films Pixar has done,” said Aryeh Bourkoff, and enteraintment analysts with UBS.
Disney and Pixar are pulling out all the stops for its massive premiere party, renting out the Loews Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and partnering with chipmaker Texas Instruments. TI is showing off its new digital movie projection technology, running on its red hot DLP microprocessors - the same chips inside today’s top flat-panel televisions to digitally beam the premier across four, 115-foot screens at the track, the largest projection ever for the 30,000 fans who are expected to attend.
Which shoud, make for a blockbuster event even before the blockbuster officially opens.