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Sony Pays Theaters to Show Trailers

24 May, 2001 By: Hive News

Sony Pictures has become the first studio to pay theater chains to show movie trailers that theaters traditionally show at no cost to studios.

"It was a minimal amount of money but it was well spent," Jeff Blake, Sony's president of worldwide marketing and distribution, told the Los Angeles Times for Thursday's editions. "I don't apologize for anything we did."

Blake wouldn't indicate how much Sony paid for showing the trailer for The Animal, but a source close to the studio told the Times it was $100,000.

Sony paid General Cinema Theatres and AMC Entertainment Inc. to run a 60-second trailer for the Rob Schneider comedy before showings of the blockbuster The Mummy Returns. The Animal opens June 1.

"A picture like The Mummy doesn't come along every week," Blake said. "It gave us a unique opportunity to get 100% placement in many situations to expose our movie to the broadest possible audience."

Studio executives criticized the payments.

"People are upset because this puts the industry on the beginning of a very slippery slope," DreamWorks SKG marketing chief Terry Press told the Times. "As soon as it happened, other exhibitors (will start) approaching other studios to see if they would pay for trailers too."

Sony has already arranged with exhibitors to have the trailer for its animated Final Fantasy play before The Mummy Returns, a Universal film. When theater owners balked at playing two Sony trailers, Sony paid to guarantee exposure for The Animal preview.

The trailer for The Animal was No. 6 in total trailer play, appearing on 46% of the 552 screens surveyed by an industry auditor, the Times reported.

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