Regal Entertainment Group, the nation's largest theater owner, is refusing to run Paramount Pictures' summer release Cradle of Life in some of its theaters because of a dispute concerning a DaimlerChrysler Jeep promotion.
At issue is an in-lobby "standee," a promotional sign for the movie, which promotes a contest for the chance win a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, DaimlerChrysler's new sport utility vehicle. It shows actress Angelina Jolie in character as Lara Croft, seated in the Rubicon.
Regal wants remuneration for displaying the signs, but Paramount won't pay. Now 47 of Regal's theaters won't run the movie, which opens nationwide July 25.
Marketing executives close to the companies say Paramount doesn't get paid by Chrysler to put the standees in theater lobbies. But Chrysler is indeed spending some $10 million in paid media to promote the movie, according to executives, mostly through TV commercials featuring the Rubicon and Tomb Raider film footage. Jeep's commercial broke June 9, and a print ad broke in the July issue of Dennis Publishing's Maxim. Fallout from the marketing misunderstanding included Chrysler canceling a major media buy on Regal's DCN in-cinema network.
"This is more than just a product placement," Jeff Bell, vice president of Chrysler Group's Jeep, said in early June. "We have created a 360-degree integrated marketing campaign around the movie." Chrysler's campaign includes a video game, print and in-movie product placement.