Mexico hot for ‘Ice’

Fox toon set to top all-time B.O. chart

Fox’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown” will surpass “Shrek 2” by this weekend as the biggest-grossing pic ever in Mexico.

Through Tuesday, “Meltdown” (known here as “Ice Age 2”) had earned nearly $28.6 million compared to the nearly $27.8 million earned by “Shrek 2” in 2004.

Twentieth Century Fox Mexico marketing director Juan Carlos Lazo estimated the film — now in its fifth week — would earn more than $29.2 million during its run.

Lazo said Fox Mexico spent a year ramping up the marketing blitzkrieg, which included “very strong investments” in TV ads rolled out by promotional sponsors, including Domino’s Pizza, L’Oreal and Mexico’s bread/snack giant Bimbo.

Lazo said Fox had more than doubled the number of promotional sponsors involved to 27 compared with the original pic’s tally.

“When the first ‘Ice Age’ came out, people obviously didn’t know the characters. But when we began to sell licenses this time, a lot of people bought it up,” he said.

Besides a saturation campaign of billboards and bus ads, plus teaser trailers running for nearly a year, Lazo said Fox had tried a host of new gambits to target specific audiences, including 3-D animated ads during major soccer games and specially designed postcards for young adults that were distributed at concerts, such as U2’s recent show.

Lazo said Mexicans love the big Pixar, DreamWorks and Disney toons, although those based on U.S. TV shows, such as “Rugrats,” don’t fare as well.

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