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An Heroic Promo Effort

5/08/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

Cinemax will become heroic this summer. Home Box Office’s premium sister service, which will celebrate its silver anniversary in August, is placing its consumer and affiliate promotional emphasis in the months ahead behind a quartet of box office hits under the “Summer of Heroes” banner.

The multifaceted campaign, beginning this week, centers on theatricals The Day After Tomorrow (premiering on Cinemax May 14), Spider-Man 2 (June 4), I, Robot (July 9) and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (August).

“This is the best summer lineup we can remember. These four films alone took in over $1 billion in box office,” said Cinemax vice president of program planning and scheduling Jill Champtaloup. “But we wanted to support those tentpoles with other product, so we went to second windows and our library.”

MORE IN THE THEME

Playing to a large extent off action, adventure and science-fiction themes, other films that will air this summer on Cinemax include: Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Resident Evil 2, Starsky & Hutch, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Top Gun, Superman: The Movie, Alien vs. Predator, Chronicles of Riddick, Patriot Games and Dirty Harry.

Champtaloup believes these and other films will reinforce the idea “that Cinemax has the best movie lineup for our existing subscribers and help convince new customers to sign up for the service.”

Along those lines, Cinemax will provide affiliate support in the form of cross-channel spots, direct-mail pieces, tent cards, training materials, broadband/online backing and an incentive sweepstakes.

As it did with last November’s “Are You The One?” promotional gambit behind The Matrix film franchise, Cinemax will be creating a special “Summer of Heroes” tab within the video-on-demand movies category that will ultimately house all four of the tentpole films and a host of others. (Down the road, Champtaloup said HBO/Cinemax envision working up a similar play for all six of the Star Wars films.)

Moreover, as it did with Matrix character visits last fall, Spider-Man will be on hand at select MSO call centers.

On the consumer side, Cinemax plans to run one ad in Entertainment Weekly the week before each of the four films premiere, roll on-air promos across its multiplex channels and engage in radio promotions in the New York and Philadelphia areas.

WATCH FOR NEWSIES

Those markets will also be home to “newsboys” handing out the “Daily Bugle” (the newspaper in Spider-Man) touting the Summer of Heroes. Online, Cinemax, in addition to features on its own Web site, has secured a national ad schedule on the Yahoo! Web portal (www.yahoo.com), bowing May 12 and continuing throughout the summer.

A sweepstakes will award a Heroes Reward of $10,000, while others will receive a home-entertainment package, comprising a 21-inch HDTV and home theater system. Other prizes include DVDs or screening invites to the upcoming Warner Bros. theatrical Batman.

Cinemax will also raise its flag on August 1, the day it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Although Cinemax executives contemplated running top films from over that span, they decided to present a lineup of recent hits, “more representative of what Cinemax is today,” according to Champtaloup.

September