‘Riddle’ Poses Sales Questions

When Yoram Gross Film Studios’ “The Magic Riddle” is launched at AFM next week, it will be the first fully animated family-oriented feature to come out of Australia.

While animated features have seen a resurgence in popularity over the past two years, an Aussie offering in the field is to some extent an unknown quantity, particularly in the U.S. As Gross puts it, “The U.S. very often isn’t aware of what has been going on here.”

Marketing strategy

How best, then, to position and sell the film?

Beyond Intl. is selling the picture; according to film sales executive Gary Hamilton, a priority is to make the flick’s potential buyers aware of the film as a marketing package.

“We need to take advantage of the opportunities such a film gives, and present a package that includes a promotional campaign that can be reproduced in another market,” he says, giving Goldcrest’s handling of Don Bluth material as an example.

To create one immediate element of that package, YGFS is spending around $A25,000 to recreate the film’s costumes to help tubthump the film at shopping malls and other venues. The promo will also be on display at AFM.

High-end deal

The film itself will be positioned as a quality animation offering, at the high end of the market. “Having it is one thing, but we need to convince distributors that it has the potential to rise above other films in the market,” Hamilton says, noting, however, that there are few high-budget animation offerings at any one time.

Beyond has already targeted various major theatrical distribs/exhibs, which Hamilton says have shown strong interest to date. AFM will see consolidation of those contacts, and will be a launching pad to sell the film territory by territory.

Hamilton also notes that “Riddle” will act as a natural promotion for the animated feature “Blinky Bill” when the latter pic is launched next year.

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