On one busy intersection in Los Angeles, eight brightly colored billboards are pushing "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
That kind of hype is overkill even by Hollywood standards, but the signs on La Cienega and Venice Boulevards are evidence of an expensive situation at the studios this summer. The costs to tout their tentpoles is going up.
"They're certainly not getting cheaper
to market," says one studio maven with a laugh that ended in a sigh.
Studios don't have the built-in recognition factor to push many of the releases this season. "Indiana Jones" not withstanding, Hollywood is light on sequels vs. last summer, and it costs more to launch new properties that bizzers hope will turn into franchises.
There's speculation it could cost as much as $150 million to market some of the 2008 summer tentpoles worldwide. While studios are sometimes willing to confirm production budgets, they are loathe to talk about marketing costs.
Among the major studios, the average cost of marketing a domestic release was $35.9 million in 2007. That's only an average, meaning event pics cost much more. That's a far cry from 1995, when "Toy Story" was the most advertised film of the year, with a marketing budget of around $35 million.