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Chuck E. Cheese’s Chooses Animated ‘Free Birds’ as First Film Promo

Film's producer Reel FX had worked with family-friendly chain to redesign its mouse mascot

Free Birds,” the animated pic from Reel FX that Relativity Media will release Nov. 1, will become the first film that Chuck E. Cheese’s has agreed to promote.

The marketing milestone is surprising for the family eatery, given its audience.

But as companies increasingly turn to tie-ins with various forms of entertainment as ways to stand out with their consumers, it’s no surprise that Chuck E. Cheese’s is among the newest to embrace Hollywood.

The restaurant chain will back the “Free Birds” release with TV commercials, print and online ads, in-store signage and giveaways, radio broadcasts and offer an exclusive line of “Free Birds” merchandise at 520 of its locations nationwide, the company said. A “Rock-N-Wristband” promo, running in stores Sept. 15-Nov. 30, will let kids collect one of four wristbands featuring the Chuck E. mascot, his guitar or characters Jake and Reggie from the film with the purchase of any pizza or value deal.

Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler and Woody Harrelson voice characters in the Thanksgiving-themed film about two turkeys from opposite sides of the track who must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history and get turkey off the menu for good.

“The opportunity to partner on a major motion picture is a first for Chuck E. Cheese’s, and one that we are extremely excited about,” said Scott McDaniel, chief marketing officer for CEC Entertainment, Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company. “We’ve spent the last year introducing our new, contemporized mascot to all of our guests, and now we’re ready for the silver screen. In Reel FX and Relativity, we’ve found partners whose goal to make families laugh and smile resonates with Chuck E.’s philosophy.”

For Relativity, Chuck E. Cheese’s provides the company with a partner that brings together families it can put its animated toon in front of in a unique way.

“With the timing of this release, we’re getting into the part of the season when families start spending a lot of time together at the movies, going out to eat and playing games,” said Joshua Pollack, president corporate and strategic partnerships and global brand management, Relativity.

Reel FX already had a relationship with Chuck E. Cheese’s, having worked on the company’s commercials and played a key role in redesigning its mouse mascot. Both companies are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.

Reel FX launched its film arm in 2010 and is also working on Guillermo del Toro’s “The Book of Life,” and “Beasts of Burden,” an adaptation of a Dark Horse Comics title.

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