SBD/August 9, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Lionsgate Tries To Generate Buzz For MMA-Themed Film With Targeted Marketing

UA, TapouT have deals with studio
around upcoming MMA-themed film
Lionsgate has started promoting its upcoming MMA-themed release "Warrior" "specifically to those who follow the increasingly popular sport, even though the film won't be released until September," according to Josh Chetwynd of DAILY VARIETY. Feature films "focusing on the MMA world haven't fared well" historically, so Lionsgate is "aiming early to connect the sport's fans with the movie." The studio is "partnering with two popular brands in the MMA universe -- Under Armour and TapouT -- with both playing prominent roles in the film." The distributor also has "identified the military audience as a strong supporter of MMA product, and has targeted them, recently sending the film's cast to Marines Corps base Camp Pendleton, Calif., for a special screening and a question-and-answer session with soldiers." Lionsgate additionally has "lined up numerous screenings nationwide for MMA fans to build word-of-mouth," and it has "honed in on influential MMA bloggers and media." However, despite the promotional focus, Lionsgate President of Theatrical Marketing Tim Palen "emphasizes what he sees as the pic's larger appeal." He said, "'Warrior' appeals strongly to a broad audience -- older females are one of the strongest quads in testing -- and the emotional pull of the film is universal." Chetwynd noted it is "uncertain whether an effort to underscore the film's wider themes will also draw MMA's most serious fans." Lionsgate's broader plan includes "targeting sports fans in general, featuring, for instance radio advertising on ESPN sports radio" (DAILY VARIETY, 8/6).
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