With 27 film releases slated for 2002, Warner Bros.’ new president of domestic marketing is in for a busy year. But 13-year Warner veteran and former executive VP of theatrical marketing Dawn Taubin is up for the challenge.
While Taubin is fresh off the heels of a successful Harry Potter campaign, she steps into her new role with the difficult task of marketing the upcoming live-action/CGI Scooby-Doo movie–slated for release on June 14, 2002–to sentimental fans of the classic cartoon series. Even though the movie, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and fiancé Freddie Prinze Jr., gets a leg up given the popularity of the animated series, it’s that very popularity that makes marketing it a delicate job: fans feel a certain amount of ownership where Scooby-Doo is concerned. ‘We have to meet the expectations of fans and not over-commercialize something they hold dear,’ says Taubin, who will get plenty of practice spinning television and classic properties to filmgoers with upcoming promotions for kid flicks The Powerpuff Girls, Pokémon 4 and, eventually, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Taubin will also have to span the spectrum of the property’s broad demo: kids familiar with the Cartoon Network re-runs and DTV features; young adults who grew up on Scooby; and parents forever on the lookout for good family entertainment. And even then, resurrecting a cartoon classic is no guarantee of box office success–having cost US$76 million to produce, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle made a paltry US$26 million at U.S. theaters. ‘In order for a movie like Scooby to survive on screen,’ explains Taubin, ‘we have to appeal to all audiences, young and old. You also want them to know that they’re going to get something different than what they can get for free on a Saturday morning.’
Along with Scooby-Doo, Taubin is hard at work on the campaign for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (due out in November 2002), for which Coca-Cola will return as the main sponsor. ‘We set up the second movie well by staying true to the book on the first one,’ she says, careful not to sound too confident. ‘But I don’t think the pressure’s ever off.’