Studios spell relief s-e-q-u-e-l

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For studios, summer sequels can bring some quick relief to whatever mistakes they've made so far this year. Take "Dr. Dolittle 2," "Scary Movie 2," and "Rush Hour 2." Or maybe "Jurassic Park 3." With these films, studios are naturally looking to build brand names around films that have a limited risk and an existing marketing base.

"They'll all get their shot-that's why they get made," said one marketing executive. "There was a great satisfaction with the first one. And [consumers] left wanting more."

Sequel marketing materials explain less, particularly story lines. "You don't have to spend time selling across the premise-it's already sold," said Craig Murray, president of Craig Murray Productions, an entertainment boutique agency.

Marketing for Fox Filmed Entertainment's "Dr. Dolittle 2" attempts to use materials found in the first edition. For TV spots, that means quick lines about a doctor, played by Eddie Murphy, that can hear animals talk. Outdoor-ad copy is even simpler-"Eddie. Dr. 2."

For a sequel, movie studios try to target at least 60% to 70% of the first movie's box office revenue, said film marketing consultant John Jacobs. All these movies appear to be on target or better, according to the HSX barometer.

New Line Cinema will try to repeat its success in "Rush Hour 2," a buddy-cop movie with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Early returns indicate marketing will go after a similar demographic of young men.

Dimension Films' "Scary Movie 2" will also try more of the same. Gone is siren Carmen Electra, and in comes Tori Spelling. Dimension is expected to show off some of the cast changes in marketing materials.

Universal Studios' "Jurassic Park 3" marketing materials reveal some of the big dinosaurs-a no-no in previous versions, which were directed by Steven Spielberg.

Experts say Walt Disney Co. has done a masterful job touting blockbuster "Pearl Harbor" despite bad reviews. Disney did the unusual after the movie opened: It avoided the issue, staying instead with similar brand image of the pre-opening part of the campaign.

"It's totally rare for the movie to do that," said Mr. Jacobs. "Disney was very smart about this."

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