Jordan effort hopes to bring Imax to masses

By Published on .

The $10 million promotional campaign surrounding the May 5 release of "Michael Jordan to the Max" plays up the larger-than-life stature of the film's star with the tagline, "Up close, some heroes get even bigger."

Beyond DDB, Chicago, and NBA Entertainment are handling the marketing campaign for the large-format film showing on at least 50 Imax screens, which are eight stories high.

A TV spot produced by NBA Entertainment was scheduled to break April 16 during NBC's "Game of the Week." The 30-second spot will air on games throughout the rest of the basketball season and during the NBA playoffs. Billboards and a wall in New York's Times Square also went up last week. Print breaks in newspapers in early May; radio spots follow in June.

Beyond DDB has garnered several North American sponsors for the film, including as the presenting sponsor. Mr. Jordan, along with fellow athletes John Elway and Wayne Gretzky, serves on the board of the e-commerce sporting goods site.

The 45-minute film, which chronicles Mr. Jordan's final basketball game and includes personal interviews and off-court footage, is the first large-format film release from Giant Screen Sports, Evanston, Ill. James D. Stern Productions and NBA Entertainment also worked on the movie's production.


Don Kempf, Giant Screen Sports president, is confident the film will break the record for number of theaters to open an Imax movie, set earlier this year when "Fantasia 2000" opened at 54 theaters.

In addition to traditional marketing for the project, Beyond DDB created a theater guide to help theater owners promote the film and education packets to guide teachers who are trying to incorporate a field trip to see the film into classroom work, said Karen Baker, director of event marketing at Beyond DDB.

Mr. Kempf, whose company is currently working on large-format films about World Cup soccer and another on Mr. Gretzky, predicts "Michael Jordan to the Max" will help transform Imax theatergoing.

"This has the potential to expand the demographic of Imax moviegoers dramatically," he said. "It has the potential to bring in kids and adults from different segments of society who have not considered Imax as a prime choice for entertainment."

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