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MovieFone, the movie listings service, this week launches MovieMail, a direct e-mail offering.

MovieMail is actually an extension of MovieLink, the Internet version of MovieFone. To get MovieMail, which is free, consumers need to dial up MovieLink and register by giving their e-mail address, ZIP code and favorite film genre.

MovieMail then will send e-mails to consumers only on films in those genres. A first message will provide information on an upcoming film, including studio production notes, cast lists and the opportunity to download images and trailers. A second message related to the same film will arrive just prior to its release, with information on the nearest theaters and show times and hotlinks to MovieLink for advance ticket purchases.

MovieFone has been flogging MovieMail over the past few weeks with online ads. Radio and print ads begin in several markets in the coming weeks via Ryan Drossman & Partners, New York.

"It's a great way to personalize and customize our complex database," said Matt Blumberg, MovieLink's general manager.

Universal Pictures is the first studio to sign up; it will begin using MovieMail this week to promote "The Jackal," a thriller starring Richard Gere and Bruce Willis that opens Nov. 14.

Although there are currently no plans to sell the program to outside advertisers, Mr. Blumberg said MovieFone might consider a way for a film's promotional partners to tie into the service.

MovieFone executives wouldn't break out their expectations for the service, but said they don't expect it to be one of their primary products. MovieFone receives 1 million to 2 million calls per week, while MovieLink is used by

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