CULTURE POP: MOVIE MARKETING: 'STAR WARS' HITS ON NOSTALGIA BUG WITH RE-RELEASE

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Credit a bug carrying a potent strain of nostalgia for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.'s successful re-release of "Star Wars."

Restricting its bite to members of the press, "Star Wars" nostalgia was disseminated widely and quickly throughout the U.S. host body in January, proving especially contagious among boomer clans and Gen Xers. From The New Yorker to The New York Times, Time to Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly to Details, the media devoted a plethora of pages and several covers to the film.

Neither Fox nor Lucasfilm executives would comment on the marketing of the re-release; director George Lucas doesn't want the re-release to be seen as a crass marketing effort for merchandise or upcoming new films, say executives. But insiders note that the media were the marketers in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 31 launch. It's believed that Fox spent just 20% to 25% of its estimated $30 million-plus marketing budget for the re-issue of the trilogy.

The most high-profile media spending was by PepsiCo, which kicked off its tie-in promos for various brands on Fox's Jan. 26 broadcast of Super Bowl XXXI.

The balance of Fox's media budget will be spent on maintaining momentum behind the nostalgia trip. "The Empire Strikes Back" arrives Feb. 21 and "Return of the Jedi" hits March 14, both boasting enhanced prints and sound tracks. Advertising will be supported by more media hype: "Entertainment Tonight," "Oprah" and MTV

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