E-tailer to begin making official Web sites for pix

Already involved in e-commerce and Webcasting, e-tailer CheckOut.com said Friday that it plans to begin producing official Web sites for Hollywood pics, with the first for Dimension Films’ “Reindeer Games.”

In a curious move that’s being blamed on legalities, CheckOut.com, backed by Michael Ovitz, Peter Levin and the Yucaipa Co.’s Richard Wolpert, launched the site on Wednesday, two days before the pic bowed in theaters.

For “Reindeer Games,” starring Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron and Gary Sinise, Dimension Films partnered with CheckOutMovies.com to create and operate the site and position it as part of the CheckOut Entertainment Network.

Site features cast bios, a chat with helmer John Frankenheimer (“Ronin”) and a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas. In true CheckOut.com fashion, Netizens also have the chance to buy homevids and DVDs featuring the cast, as well as soundtracks from the pic and cast’s other pics.

Dimension’s deal with CheckOut is similar to the one DreamWorks inked with Amazon.com to create an “official” Web presence for “American Beauty” and “Galaxy Quest.”

“We chose CheckOutMovies.com as the exclusive host of the ‘Reindeer Games’ site because of their proven track record of working with leading studios and representing their film properties on the Web,” said D’Arcy Young, head of new media for Dimension Films.

Because CheckOut has already created a niche for itself by offering Netizens background on celebrities and chat services, the move to Web site creation for studio pics is a natural one.

CheckOut has dabbled in movie promotions before, creating campaigns for “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” “The Iron Giant” and “The World Is Not Enough.”

CheckOut.com operates CheckOutMusic.com, CheckOutMovies.com, CheckOutGames.com, the Lounge and the Wherehouse Online Stores. It has deals with RealNetworks, Talk City, GameSpy Industries, Earthlink and Launch.

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