There’s nothing like a good kid movie duel to add some excitement to the lazy days of summer, but an anticipated head-to-head between the second Pokémon movie and the first Digimon flick has been averted at the last minute with the digital monsters on the run.
Pokémon The Movie 2000 has been scheduled for a July 21 release for some time, and as of mid-April, Fox Family Worldwide executive VP of consumer products and promotions Elie Dekel was saying Digimon: The Movie would come out just two-and-a-half weeks later, on August 9. A few weeks later, despite a QSR tie-in with Taco Bell featuring 16 different transporter Digivice premiums and other partner-driven promos lined up for the August 9 timing, the release date shifted to a nebulous third or fourth quarter release, possibly in October.
The reason? ‘You’re a moving target,’ says a Fox Family spokesperson. ‘Sometimes the other person puts a movie in a spot, sometimes he moves it, sometimes you move it. Sometimes it’s too crowded. That’s the reality of the movie biz.’ At press time, discussions were underway to determine whether the promos for the Digimon release, which include tie-ins with Dark Horse Comics and Tyson Chicken along with Taco Bell, will stay put or push back to the new release date.
Meanwhile, over in the Pokémon camp, the promo program is ready to roll. In addition to the July Burger King tie-in, which will feature 24 interactive plastic card and character Kids Meal premiums, in-store signage, on-line support and national TV ads, the Pokémon sequel will be pushed via tie-ins with Lowes Cineplex Odeon, Wizards of the Coast, Target, Kmart, Sears, Kellogg, Clorox and Choice Hotels.
Launching in July, a huge in-theater push from Lowes will include signage, displays and a kids meal program. Kids will receive a free gift and themed tray with their purchase of popcorn and soda. Four special-edition Pokémon strategy cards from Wizards of the Coast (not available in stores) will also help lure kids to theaters.
Retail initiatives include a movie-directed merch program beginning June 25 that will see Target stores offering a free movie ticket with the purchase of a Pokémon Nintendo game. Beginning in August, Kmart will chip in by offering a free laminated binder insert calendar with the purchase of Pokémon movie merch. Sears’ ongoing Poké Mart themed area will debut new movie-related product as well.
Kellogg has signed on with in-pack movie-themed items offered via six or seven million packs of Pokémon-branded Pop Tarts and Eggo frozen waffles starting later this summer, Clorox has partnered up to offer Pokémon posters with the purchase of two packs of Glad Sandwich Bags, and Choice Hotels is mounting a US$3-million radio and print campaign. The hotel promo will include 1,700 Comfort Inns and Comfort Suites and features a free 52-page Pokémon activity book for every kid guest, with over a million books to be distributed through the end of July.
Pokémon distributor Warner Bros. will bind the movie push with ads airing across the U.S. via broadcast and kid cable pushing the free trading card offer, and Atlantic Records will release the movie soundtrack in July.
Nintendo of America’s VP of product acquisition and development Gail Tilden says the overall campaign message is: ‘This summer, one person can make a difference,’ a tag inspired by a movie plot that sees master trainer Ash Ketchum spearheading a mission to save the Pokémon world from evil forces.