New ‘Lassie’ looks fetching to marketers

U.K. remake secures tie-ins

Lassie’s come home — and with her own product placement deal.

In a maverick tie-in with the upcoming U.S. release of indie pic “Lassie,” Classic Media (home of the franchise) has unveiled a natural dog food and treat line named after the beloved canine.

Lassie Natural Way, which began hitting shelves earlier in the summer, is now available in 7,000 grocery stores nationwide.

Pic, which bows Sept. 1, marks the 11th in the Lassie line. This latest U.K.-based rendition, from writer-helmer Charles Sturridge, stars Peter O’Toole, Samantha Morton, Peter Dinklage and Jonathan Mason, and takes the tale back to its children’s book roots as penned by Eric Knight.

Samuel Goldwyn and Roadside Attractions are releasing the film theatrically, while the Weinstein Co. and homevid affiliate Genius will handle DVD.

Indie pic already had a solid run in the U.K. last winter, taking in more than $2 million.

Lassie hasn’t woofed it up on the silver screen in years, so her mystique may be lost on kids. But Roadside and Goldwyn are relying on grandparents and parents to introduce a new generation to the four-legged brand.

The pic’s toplining collie has been on a whistle-stop tour promoting both the film and the food.

If the pic doesn’t pan out with viewers, Classic still hopes it can hook the hungry hounds of auds for a pretty penny.

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