Studio steps up to promote interactive titles

Warner Bros. is used to spending heavily to promote its movies.

So why not apply the same strategy to its videogames?

Warners is backing the launch of “Lego Batman” with a campaign that could rival any tentpole release. The title’s rollout is being accompanied by a barrage of advertising across print, TV and the Internet, the release of licensed merchandise, a major presence at Comic-Con, McDonald’s as a fast food partner and, of course, toys.

Now that Warner Bros. is working overtime to be a major player in the vidgame sector, the effort on behalf of “Lego Batman” spotlights how aggressively the studio is likely to promote future interactive titles.

McDonald’s backed the game with toy-filled Happy Meals and TV spots throughout September. It’s the first time the fast-food purveyor has promoted a vidgame.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also produced TV spots for the title that promotes the Xbox 360 and Windows versions of the game, and Sony is bundling the title alongside an animated Justice League DVD with its PlayStation 2 console.

Naturally, toymaker Lego has created “Lego Batman”branded playsets to sell alongside classic Batman toys.

If it all looks like a movie campaign, “that was the goal,” says Martin Tremblay, prexy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “There are tentpole films and we’re trying to create tentpole games. ”

That means using all of Time Warner’s properties in a major way.

Cartoon Network is blasting ads for the game, KidsWB.com is promoting the title, DC Comics created a comicbook and Warners’ homevid division includes trailers on DVD releases.

“If you look at everything that can be done within the Warner Bros. environment, we’ve done it,” Tremblay says.

Upcoming releases like the next “Tomb Raider” from Eidos, in November, and “Fear 2,” in February, will get the same kind of treatment.

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