The Columbia Tri-Star Motion Pictures holiday film, adapted from the E.B. White book about a mouse adopted by a human family, is drawing in an estimated $25 million to $30 million in promotional tie-ins among big-name advertisers including Radio Shack, 1-800 Dentist and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Crest.
Columbia Tri-Star executives wouldn't discuss promotional plans for "Stuart Little," but at least two of the promotions will tie in with scenes from the live-action and computer-animated movie.
RADIO SHACK CAR
One is from Radio Shack, purveyor of radio-controlled toy cars in its 7,000 U.S. stores, which is creating a special edition "Stuart Little" radio-controlled auto. It's modeled on the rodent's roadster in the film -- a tiny, retro-1930s-style car.
In addition, the retailer will produce two dedicated TV commercials for the film, shelling out an estimated $15 million in media, according to a promotion industry executive.
Radio Shack feels "Stuart Little" is a good fit because its image as an all-family electronics retailer matches the demographic of the Columbia Tri-Star movie.
CREST, 1-800 DENTIST
The movie promotion's other deals also have some teeth. P&G's Crest and 1-800 Dentist are working together, tying into a key point in the movie when Stuart bonds with his human "brother" played in the film by Jonathan Lipnicki, as both brush their teeth.
The referral dentist service 1-800-Dentist is producing TV spots, spending $3 million to $5 million in media, according to the executive. Although exact plans couldn't be learned, it's believed the service is looking to "Stuart Little" to help launch its Internet activities -- especially aimed at kids -- to make brushing a cool activity.
Crest's plans, too, are being kept under wraps, although it's known the marketer will be doing point-of-purchase and product displays related to the film.
Another promotional partner, mall-based retail confection chain Sweet Factory, will be producing a special "Stuart Little" candy package.
Since travel is a major theme in "Stuart Little," who is always looking to find his way home, the film's Dec. 10 release proved serendipitous for in-flight cataloger Skymall, as it falls during the heaviest travel period of the year.
Skymall is onboard for a travel-related promotion, selling special "Stuart Little" merchandise. The film also will be promoted on airport TV networks.
The "Stuart Little" tie-in programs are continuing on track despite the fact that their architect, Sony Pictures Entertainment Senior VP-Global Strategic Marketing Mark Workman, announced he was leaving at the end of the year.
Promo partners also are counting on good box-office receipts for "Stuart Little" based upon some of the talent involved in the film. The mouse will be voiced by Michael J. Fox and the screenplay was written by M. Night Shyamalan, author of