Word of the deal comes as the fledgling studio this week releases its much-anticipated first feature film, "The Peacemaker," an action flick starring George Clooney. More than a half dozen other DreamWorks films are slated to hit during the next 15 months, including "Paulie," about the adventures of a talking parrot voiced by actor Jay Mohr of "Jerry Maguire" fame.
Subway will anchor a multipartner promotional push for that movie, said Anne Giangardella, head of promotions for the studio.
BIGGEST EVER FOR SUBWAY
The fast-feeder is said to be plotting its biggest entertainment marketing program ever against the film. The "Paulie" promotion will be backed by national media advertising with additional local support from Subway's 12,000 outlets in the U.S. and Canada.
The six-week program will revolve around a kids meal offer that will include four "Paulie"-inspired toys. Johnson-Grossfield, Minneapolis, handles Subway's kids meal programs.
"It's a nice match of marketing agendas," Ms. Giangardella said. "Subway has gotten pretty innovative in the way it markets to kids, and 'Paulie' will have a broad appeal to an all-family audience."
$60 MIL IN ADVERTISING
DreamWorks Pictures will spend an estimated $60 million-plus to advertise its three 1997 films, which also include "Mouse Hunt" and "Amistad." The latter is being directed by Steven Spielberg, who founded the studio in 1994 with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
DreamWorks this week will ramp up TV support for "The Peacemaker," including a buy on the Sept. 25 season premiere of NBC's "ER," in which Mr. Clooney stars. Focus Media, Los Angeles, handles media buying.
The decision to keep spending down until this week was driven more by competition than synergy; DreamWorks wanted to wait until PolyGram Films' "The Game" and Warner Bros.' "L.A. Confidential" hit theaters.
DreamWorks spent just 35% of its "Peacemaker" budget prior to this week, beginning with an outdoor teaser campaign headlined, "How do you get the world's attention?" A reference to the film's villain, the line is ironic given the hoopla surrounding the studio.
STUDIO'S LOW PROFILE
Earlier this month, DreamWorks slipped a four-page free-standing insert into Sunday editions of The New York Times and Los Angeles Times hailing the arrival of the studio and its films. But for the most part, the studio itself has kept a low profile, focusing on "The Peacemaker" and other products.
"This poor movie already has the weight of the world on its shoulders, with everyone in the media reminding everyone who wants to see it that this is our first movie. Why would we want to add to that?" said a DreamWorks executive.
The real question is whether the DreamWorks name will affect ticket sales. Conventional wisdom says films and their stars are the consumer brands, not the studios. But Howard Lichtman, exec VP-marketing and communications at Cineplex Odeon, said his research indicates the movie will perform strongly and will benefit from the allure of the studio's pedigree.
"There is a segment of consumers surprisingly knowledgeable about the industry from both a product and business perspective, for whom the DreamWorks angle is obviously an added attraction," he said.
FOUNDERS ARE BRANDS
Dave Studeman, managing director of the Seattle office of branding consultancy Landor Associates, said DreamWorks is a consumer brand because its founders are consumer brands.
Some, however, insist studio names don't sell tickets.
"Down the road, DreamWorks and other studios will need to develop brand names to distinguish themselves with consumers," said Michael Wolf, partner and head of the media and entertainment practice at Booz Allen Hamilton. "Right now, it