MGM Super-sizes 'Rollerball'

As if MGM execs didn’t have enough on their plate with a possible sale and a slate of pics to promote, the prospect of free Super Bowl tickets is now sending the Lion’s boardroom into a tizzy.

It’s all rooted in the studio’s novel approach to promoting its Feb. 8 release of “Rollerball,” using the festivities around the Super Bowl to boost interest in the movie among key demographic slices. Indeed, where better to promote a movie about a violent sports spectacle than in and around the most-watched violent sports spectacle in America?

The studio cut a deal with the NFL, costing roughly what MGM would have paid for a standard premiere and junket, to weave “Rollerball” ads, talent and on-air promotions into NFL Films programs that will run on ESPN, Fox and CBS in the days just before the Feb. 3 game. “Rollerball” stars Chris Klein, LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos will be seated at the big game near stars that broadcaster Fox is likely to put on camera.

The studio also will get game tickets for some execs, though just how many is still being negotiated. So far, Lion leaders Chris McGurk, Michael Nathanson and Alex Garner are in, though chairman Alex Yeminidjian will miss the festivities because of scheduling conflicts.

Beyond those six tix, though, the fighting over who else gets in could be fodder for the next MGM war pic, insiders say. And percenters, praisers, pals and pure hangers-on are also working furiously for a free ride in.

Talk about a lion’s den.

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