'Spidey' Marketing Tab Put at $150 Million Spider-Man 3 opens Friday, but a marketing campaign has been under way for some time. The film is featured in ads for Target, 7-Eleven, and breakfast cereals. It may be one of the most widely marketed movies ever produced.

'Spidey' Marketing Tab Put at $150 Million

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Now, on Fridays we focus on your money, and today, we're talking about how you spend your money, especially how kids spend money, or, in some cases, how your kids spend your money.

"Spider-Man 3" opens nationwide today. Sony says the movie cost $270 million to make. Industry insiders say it came in at over $300 million, which would be a new record if true.

As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, "Spider-Man's" costs for marketing to kids, as well as grownups, may set a record, too.

WENDY KAUFMAN: The marketing budget for a blockbuster film is typically about 50 percent of the production cost. In the case of "Spider-Man 3," that would add up to about $150 million. Sony, the film's producer, will spend some of its own money, but much of the rest will come from advertising partners who pay Sony for the right to use "Spider-Man" in their marketing campaigns.

(Soundbite of movie "Spider-Man 3")

Unidentified Man #1: Spider-Man, now we have you where we want you.

Unidentified Woman: Yes, Sandman.

KAUFMAN: Seven-eleven, for example, began promoting the movie with special Slurpee cups a month before the film's U.S. release. Cereal maker General Mills is featuring Trix the Rabbit dressed up as Spider-Man. You'll find Spider-Man-inspired packages of Cheese Nips and a scratch-and-win game at Burger King, not to mention video games, puzzles, even kids' shoes.

Historically, about 60 percent of movie marketing dollars were spent on TV ads. But increasingly, advertisers are moving to the Web. Sony itself put up ads on MySpace and sponsored blogs and downloadable trailers, while companies like Target are trying to engage consumers with their own interactive Web campaigns.

(Soundbite of TV ad)

Unidentified Man #2: Calling all Spider-Man fans: Target presents the "Spider-Man 3" spin your own Web zone contest.

KAUFMAN: Mark Young, who teaches entertainment marketing at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, says the marketing departments of these companies are very savvy, and they've done the math.

Mr. MARK YOUNG (Professor, University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business): They've looked at "Spider-Man 1" and "Spider-Man 2" and have calculated that using that image is going to pay off in a big way. You know, you have to think about this franchise of "Spider-Man"; the global box-office is about $1.6 billion.

KAUFMAN: Sony and its advertising partners can only hope that the latest "Spider-Man" movie does as well.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.

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