Joel Silver has had a history with producing numerous big-budget, high-profile action films, including Die Hard, Predator, Lethal Weapon and The Matrix. But he has never had the pleasure of seeing any of his films marketed for children. At least, not until now. Speed Racer, coming in May, will be able to market to kids in a very broad-based approach, according to Variety.
Silver explains that Speed Racer needs all the attention it can get in a highly competitive summer, with the film opening only one week after Paramount unveils Iron Man. "You have to open big," he says. "You have to let them know you're out there. The only way to make a lot of noise is to have people shout from the rooftops. (Speed Racer) was an opportunity to do something we've never done before." Silver intends to get that noise from the film's tie-ins to General Mills, McDonald's, Target, Mattel, Lego, Topps and Esurance, among others.
Much of the marketing imagery will revolve around the Mach 5, the white, futuristic race car driven by Speed (Emile Hirsch) and designed by Pops Racer (John Goodman).
"The car was a big factor for us," says Jill Wilfert, VP of licensing and entertainment for Lego. "In the past, we'd been more involved with properties that had been very well established, but we fell in love with the story and the way the Wachoswskis are treating the movie."
The marketing tie-ins include:
General Mills - who will be stamping Speed Racer imagery on packaging of its cereals and other brands like Betty Crocker cookie mixes, Old El Paso Mexican foods and Fruit Gushers
Lego - who will be creating four playsets based around the film
Target - which rarely does film promotions, coming aboard as the film's official retail partner and, in addition to in-store ads and circulars, offering a gift card that enables consumers to access exclusive footage from the film
Puma - will be designing Speed Racer-themed shoes
McDonald's - who will be offering separate Happy Meals for boys and girls
Speed Racer is a live-action adaptation of the popular cartoon of the same name, which is in turn an adaptation of the Japanese anime series Mach GoGoGo. Directed by the Wachowski Brothers, Speed Racer stars Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci, Scott Porter, Matthew Fox and Roger Allam. Speed Racer zooms into theatres May 9, 2008.