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E1 Pulls Out the Stops for ‘Secret of Moonacre’

15 Jul, 2010 By: Billy Gil

The Secret of Moonacre

Dan Gurlitz, SVP and GM, E1 Entertainment Distribution, says the family film The Secret of Moonacre is his company’s biggest title of the year. It streets Sept. 21 (order date Aug. 24) at 24.98 for both the DVD and Blu-ray versions.

The film is an adaptation of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. The story entails a young orphaned girl (played by The Golden Compass’ Dakota Blue Richards) who comes to live with her eccentric uncle at Moonacre Manor, where she encounters a magical world with mythical beasts such as unicorns.

The film is directed by Gabor Csupo (Bridge to Terabithia) and co-stars Iaon Gruffudd (Fantastic Four), Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Natascha McElhone (“Californication”). With “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling and “The Chronicles of Narnia” creator C.S. Lewis among the story’s fans, and with ties to several children’s titles via the film’s stars and director, E1 is ensuring the film reaches its intended audience of children ages 8-15, namely young girls.

Gurlitz said the film, with a budget in the $25 million range, will see a limited theatrical release Aug. 12 in 21 states, at approximately 100 theaters. Lenticular posters with 3D imagery (although the film will not be shown in 3D) will be seen at those theaters and affiliate venues prior to that release, also promoting the Sept. 21 home video release date; these posters also will be given to select summer camps to raffle off to kids.

“It ties into the whole 3D thing that’s happening in the market,” Gurlitz said. “Everybone is in love with three dimensions.”

Additionally clips offering an inside look at Moonacre will go into pre-roll footage shown in markets where the film will screen. A trailer for the film also will show, and recently showed at a screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in New York, Gurlitz said.

“It’s more like a theatrical advertising plan than a direct-to-video plan,” Gurlitz said.

Partners such as Kids First! and the Dove Foundation are supporting the film, with Kids First! screening the film in its fall and winter children’s film festivals and the Dove Foundation calling the film “remarkable.” Print advertising will reach parenting magazines, and the publisher of the novel, Penguin, also will reach out to its base. A viral marketing campaign will hit such sources as Facebook and YouTube.

“I don’t hink you see indpeendent companies doing this level of marketing on their releases,” Gurlitz said. “We’re blanketing the market with this.”

For the DVD/Blu-ray, more than 40 minutes of behind-the scenes material will be included, as well as deleted scenes, and interviews with the cast and crew. The Secret of Moonacre will have a presence at E1’s booth at San Diego Comic-Con International this year as well.

“It’s gorgeous on DVD, and on Blu-ray, it’s going to be spectacular,” Gurlitz said of the special-effects-laden film.

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