Lionsgate spending $45 million to market 'The Hunger Games'
To promote its biggest budget production yet, the Santa Monica-based studio is spending about $45 million to advertise the picture in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly.
Lionsgate typically devotes less than $30 million to selling its nationwide releases, which are often targeted genre films such as "Saw" and Tyler Perry's comedies, though it did spend $40 million to market the 2010 hit "The Expendables."
Hollywood's major studios can spend as much as $70 million to $80 million marketing their most expensive event movies domestically.
Lionsgate has the advantage, of course, of huge built-in awareness for "The Hunger Games." The trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins on which the film is based have already sold 23.5 million copies worldwide.
As a result, the studio has not only been able to afford a more cost-effective advertising campaign, but is able to get away with not showing any footage in commercials and trailers from the actual hunger games, in which teenagers hunt each other to the death in front of a televised audience.
Lionsgate's marketing strategy appears to be working spectacularly well. Pre-release surveys suggest that "The Hunger Games" will have an opening weekend of more than $100 million when it debuts across the country on March 23.
For more, see the story in today's Times on on Lionsgate's marketing campaign for "The Hunger Games."
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Josh Hutcherson, left, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth at the premiere of "The Hunger Games." Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images.