Marketing 50

'March of the Penguins'

By Published on .

Who knew that this past summer's breakout film would be a low-budget French-made documentary about mating rituals of penguins? Warner Independent Pictures dreamed it might cross over from art house to mainstream hit, but officials couldn't foresee that "March of the Penguins" would morph into the second-highest grossing doc ever, with ticket sales topping $76 million.

The studio's first tactic was to retool the movie for U.S. tastes, adding a new classical music score and a script voiced by actor Morgan Freeman.

Laura Kim, exec VP-marketing and publicity, 38, then staged screenings for families at YMCAs, Sierra Clubs and other venues. She and her team also forged ties with Sea World and the Cold Stone Creamery chain, plus others. On the film Web site, kids could create their own penguin-themed T-shirts.

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