Studio to create holiday ice palaces at Taubman properties

As studios increasingly look for new ways to promote their movies, marketers are finding malls across the country ready to open their doors to creative campaigns.

Twentieth Century Fox has pacted with high-end mall operator Taubman Shopping Centers to build holiday-themed ice palaces at 16 of its properties to promote the homevid release of “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

With Taubman attracting more than 120 million shoppers to its malls during November and December, Fox sees the deal as a lucrative means by which to court consumers in a way it can’t through traditional retailers or at the megaplex.

“Malls provide you with an incredible amount of foot traffic and exposure for your movie,” said Mary Daily, president and chief marketing officer of worldwide marketing at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “You get a chance to be in front of millions of our target audience and bring them entertainment in a unique way.”

At the same time, Fox is essentially constructing a pop-up store to sell DVDs and Blu-rays in malls where studios are seeing fewer retailers sell their pics on homevid. With the “Ice Age” palaces, Fox is tapping into the growing phenomenon of pop-up stores and restaurants.

“We’ve seen an explosion of the pop-up culture,” Daily said. “At many of these malls, we have no outlet to sell people movie content, and we’re doing that with an immersive family experience.”

Each “Ice Age” structure will include photo ops with Santa Claus and “Ice Age” characters starting Nov. 8. The structures include a 22-foot dome with a 360-degree screen that will play a musicvideo from the film and feature falling snow and a light show.

With families typically waiting 45 minutes in line for their photos with Santa, Fox designed the palaces to include five “Ice Age”-themed activity stations to keep kids engaged.

Taubman’s malls will promote the “Ice Age” experience in its parking garages, on escalators and in elevators. Locations include Los Angeles’ Beverly Center; Miami’s Dolphin Mall; Dearborn, Mich.’s Fairlane Town Center; and Chicago’s Woodfield Mall.

“Ice Age: Continental Drift” will be released on digital platforms Nov. 27 and on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 11. The “Ice Age” franchise has earned nearly $2.8 billion at the worldwide B.O., with the first three films selling 100 million units on disc.

Mall takeovers are fairly new for studios and have also been embraced by TV networks, with the CW recently plastering Westfield Shopping Malls locations to promote “Arrow,” while it also did so last fall for “The Vampire Diaries.” Disney did install mock pirate ships and a massive ship in a bottle in malls nationwide for the fourth “Pirates of a Caribbean” campaign.

Fox deal for “Ice Age” is part of a yearlong partnership between the studio and Taubman that also involved smaller promos for the most recent installments of the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “Chronicles of Narnia” franchises.

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