×

Red carpet becoming more global

Spider-Man's web rises in East

Suddenly, it’s tentpole time, and studio promo dollars are gushing.

Monday’s Tokyo preem of “Spider-Man 3” marks the first salvo, as studios prepare to spend $100 million-plus for multiple global launches of their giant summer sequels.

Sony plans nine Spidey preems before the official May 4 bow: Pic’s filmmakers and stars begin a European promo tour April 23, preeming in seven cities before heading back to the U.S. for the Stateside bow at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 30.

Spidey’s promo blitz will be followed by massive global pushes for the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the fifth installment in the “Harry Potter” franchise. Like Spidey, those pics are debuting with day-and-date launches worldwide.

Several others, including “Transformers,” “The Simpsons Movie” and the latest “Die Hard” installment, will bow in most markets at the same time.

At stake: their share of the biggest — and most competitive — box office season of the year. Last summer’s movies generated $3.7 billion domestically, and the international summer B.O. is growing.

Popular on Variety

Jeff Blake, chair of marketing and distribution at Sony, says the promo blitz for “Spider-Man 3” is designed to take advantage of the pic’s pole position in the summer box office derby.

“Believe me, it’s not vanity, it’s a necessity when you have this time schedule,” Blake said Tuesday morning Tokyo time following the premiere. “Another part of the urgency we feel is we’re the first one up. We want to get the summer off to a great start, and we want to take advantage of the fact we’re two weeks ahead of ‘Shrek’ and another week before ‘Pirates.’ ”

“Shrek 3” bows in several territories May 18, two weeks after Spidey, followed by the day-and-date bow of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” May 23. Disney will once again close down California’s Disneyland for its “Pirates” preem as part of that tentpole’s promo push.

Warner’s push for the fifth “Harry Potter” will gear up later in the summer; pic bows July 13 on more than 10,000 screens internationally.

Massive global launches can add more than $100 million to tentpoles’ already hefty pricetags once prints, advertising and cost of mobilizing talent are added in. (Blake says Spidey’s launch didn’t cost that much.)

Regardless of the cost, meticulous planning is required to pull off such large-scale launches: Sony had to lock “Spider-Man 3” six weeks early so that it could get enough prints — 10,000 worldwide — dubbed in various languages.

“There’s no doubt about it — it’s a pretty big operation,” Blake said. “It’s not a matter of cost, it’s a matter of time.”

On the plus side, studios may pay bigger bucks on the making of sequels — “Spider-Man 3’s” official budget is $258 million — but they cost less to launch than untested tentpoles, since awareness is already there. Blake says the studio is spending less on promoting “Spider-Man 3” than “Spider-Man 2,” which cost less to promote than the original “Spider-Man.”

“That’s what makes real blue-chip franchises so valuable,” Blake said. “You don’t have to spend as much.”

Studios also rely on promo partners to defray marketing costs. “And ‘Spider-Man’ certainly has no shortage of that,” Blake said.

More Film

  • Lizzo51st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Arrivals,

    NAACP Winners 2020: The Complete List

    The 51st annual NAACP Awards took place Saturday night in Los Angeles with Lizzo being named Entertainer of the Year. Warner Bros.’ legal drama “Just Mercy” nearly swept the top film awards, taking home best motion picture, ensemble, best actor (Michael B. Jordan) and supporting actor (Jamie Foxx). Lupita N’yongo won the best actress prize [...]

  • The Salt of Tears

    'The Salt of Tears': Film Review

    Handsome twentysomething Luc is a trainee joiner, a craft inherited from his doting single dad: a man at once proud of his son’s continuation of their trade, and hopeful that he’ll do something greater with it. When Luc asks his father if he ever wanted to design furniture rather than simply build it, the reply [...]

  • Time to Hunt

    'Time to Hunt': Film Review

    As context for those unaware, South Korea does not have the equivalent of the United States’ Second Amendment. Instead, the country enforces strict gun control — privately owned weapons must be stored at the police station — and fatal shootings hardly ever happen there. That’s important to know when watching Korean movies: It explains why [...]

  • SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces

    SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces on 'Comet in Moominland,' 'When the Doves Disappeared,' 'Omerta'

    SF Studios is joining forces with Antti J. Jokinen’s leading Finnish production banner Cinematic Inc. to develop and produce the animated feature “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared,” adapted from Sofi Oksanen’s bestseller. “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared” are being made by both companies as part of a five-picture deal. [...]

  • Tiger Rising

    Exclusive First Look: 'The Tiger Rising' Starring Queen Latifah

    Queen Latifah and Madalen Mills star in Ray Giarratana’s “The Tiger Rising.” The drama is based on Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times Bestselling children’s book and produced by Deborah Giarratana and Ryan Donnell Smith.  Highland Film Group is handling worldwide sales, which are under at the European Film Market in Berlin. The Tiger Rising” is [...]

  • The Berlinale Bear is Seen in

    Berlinale Enlivened by Anti-Chile State Violence Protests

    A politically charged Berlin Film Festival was further enlivened on the third day of the European Film Market by a demonstration targeting Chilean armed forces. On Saturday, the Martin Gropius Bau, the site of the EFM, saw a group of anonymous protestors unfurl a big banner from one of the market’s upper floors, with activists [...]

  • Vadim Perelman, Ilja Zofin, Lars Eidinger

    'Persian Lessons' Eidinger, Perelman Say Film Offers Parallels for Today

    Director Vadim Perelman and frequent Berlinale film star Lars Eidinger on Saturday championed their new Holocaust-set “Persian Lessons” as a timely, very German tale of how that dark history is closer to us than it seems, made uniquely possible by the fact that most of the film’s production team is not German. The film’s world [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content