WB asks for ‘Giant’ favor

Studio secures solons' help in promoting movie

WASHINGTON — “The Iron Giant” is invading Congress. In an effort to boost the homevid release of the critically acclaimed pic, which fared poorly at the box office, Warner Bros. is appealing to Capitol Hill for help.

Warner Bros. has lined up some key legislators, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), to promote the movie. Even kidvid advocates such as Peggy Charren are making the trip to Washington to praise the “Giant.”

It makes sense that legislators and advocates praise the movie, said Warner Home Video’s Thomas Lesinski. He said “The Iron Giant” is the kind of G-rated, morality-friendly movie that kidvid advocates have been clamoring for.

“There are very few movies with such high quality and such a strong moral perspective,” said Lesinski, senior vice president, Warner Home Video worldwide, marketing and development. “It’s nice to showcase in Washington.”

In addition to a press conference with Markey and Charren, Warner Bros. will deliver a copy of the movie to every member of the House and the Senate — a total of 535 copies.

Praiseworthy pic

Charren and Markey, who are often critical of Hollywood entertainment marketed to kids, are expected to say at today’s press conference that they are endorsing “Iron Giant” because they want to come out strong in cases where there is something that is praiseworthy.

Charren certainly was not understated in her endorsement. In a release from Warner Bros., Charren said the pic was a “a giant step forward in the production by a major studio of a nifty film for kids and families.”

Charren is a founder of Action for Children’s Television, a group that played a central role in winning FCC rules requiring broadcasters to air at least three hours of educational kidvid each week.

“Parents, teachers and everyone who cares about young audiences should make sure that children get a chance to see this classic film,” the statement said.

Warner Bros. is determined to win back some of the dollars lost after “The Iron Giant’s” anemic appearance this summer at the box office. In addition to the effort on Capitol Hill, the pic will be promoted during the release of “Pokemon.”