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U aims media blitz at summer B.O. Bedrock

With more than concession-stand popcorn riding on its big summer opener, Universal largely ignored other upcoming product in favor of a two-hour Bedrock blitz that featured appearances by “Flintstones” co-stars Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins and Kyle MacLachlan.

Exhibs were seated amid large foam-rubber set pieces from the film, including a bowling alley, a drive-in screen and — not accidentally — a”RocDonald’s” hamburger stand.

Many attendees agreed that the film’s success is largely dependent on the studio’s ability to penetrate and saturate the market with enough promos and tie-ins to seize the summer B.O. pole position.

Uni brass were quick to provide reassurance that they were doing everything possible to beat out other summer fare like MGM’s “Getting Even With Dad,” Warner Bros.’ “Black Beauty” and New Line’s “The Swan Princess.”

“We’re making Bedrock the hottest town to visit this year and the most colossal event since the Ice Age,” said Universal exec VP of marketing Barry Katz. “Our marketing campaign has left no stone unturned.”

“Flintstones” awareness already has reached a critically important 70%; the industry average is 65%, Katz said.

At the head of an ambitious $ 100 million marketing push, McDonald’s, Kraft, Sega, Nintendo and Shell have signed up for a bit of ancillary revenue; McDonald’s alone is readying a 31-country promo campaign, its largest ever.

Among the studio brass on the dais were Universal distrib prexy Fred Mound, MCA motion picture group chairman Tom Pollock, president of Universal worldwide production Casey Silver, MCA senior VP Linda Berkeley, helmer Brian Levant and leopard-skin-clad producer Bruce Cohen.

“I just drove in from Los Angeles, and boy, are my feet tired,” quipped Moranis, referring to the film’s foot-powered cars. Moranis, who is cast as Barney Rubble in the film, also said, “If Bill Clinton is impeached on Whitewater, I hear they’ll move Mark Canton up.”

While John Goodman and Rosie O’Donnell beamed their televised presentations in from Hollywood and Washington, D.C., respectively, the Bedrock Marching Band tried to make up for their physical absence.

Clad in tall fur hats and wearing leather skirts and pants, the marching band from the U. of Nevada, Las Vegas paraded to the dais, playing the theme song from the film. Later, resurgent ’80s new wave band the B-52’s unsuccessfully tried to get the audience to sing along to the same tune — even aided by a ’50 s-style “bouncing ball.”

A brief slide show featuring other Universal product included “The Paper,” Spike Lee’s “Crooklyn,””The Cowboy Way,” the feature version of the 1930s radio icon “The Shadow,””The River Wild,””The Little Rascals,””Time Cop,”” Radioland Murders,”” The War,””Junior,””Casper” and the Kevin Costner starrer “Waterworld.”

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