Turning the initial hoopla over Universal Studios' "The Flintstones" into a Stone Age memory, "The Lion King" is casting the biggest shadow in a summer of hot promotional tie-ins. After box office receipts of $42 million in its first weekend, tremendous word-of-mouth was expected to carry the film through the big holiday weekend.
While Toys "R" Us and Payless ShoeSource are purring with satisfaction over their tie-ins, none of the partners appreciates the film's success more than Burger King Corp., the fast-food industry's perennial second fiddle.
In less than two weeks, Burger King had distributed more than half its 30 million "Lion King" premiums, and said kids' meal sales had tripled.
After losing face with franchisees last year for betting its summer chips on "Last Action Hero," Burger King hopes to ride the "Lion King" coattails into a successful fall unveiling of its new corporate ad campaign.