Columbia Innovates To Promote Men In Black II

Kolkata: | Updated: Jul 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
It’s all about painting cities black. Come August and the sequel to this blocbuster will make its appearance in India. After the runaway success of Men in Black five years back, Columbia Tristar India, part of Sony Entertainment Corp, has lined up an aggressive marketing blitz for its latest sci-fi comedy Men in Black II.

The Wills Smith-Tommy Lee Jones starrer is slated to hit the movie halls in India on August 2, exactly a month after it was released in the US. According to industry sources, Columbia Tristar will spend about Rs 1.5 crore to promote the film in India including various area-specific events.

In Kolkata, Columbia Tristar will use trams as its vehicle for communicating to the public. For this, Columbia has started painting the trams in Kolkata black apart from organising various on-premises marketing activities to promote the film.

According to Mr Vikramjit Roy, marketing and communication head of Columbia Tristar India, trams have a special appeal and Kolkata is the only place in india where trams ply. “It is a first. Nobody has ever used trams to promote a film,” he says.

Columbia Tristar has called its campaign ‘Back in Black’ and has roped in various corporates to co-sponsor the event. “We have tied up with Sify, Ray Ban, Reebok, ING Vyasa and Seagrams as co-sponsors. This is in stark contrast to

Men in Black I where we had only Ray Ban and Cadbury Schweppes as co-sponsors,” Mr Roy says.

The I&B Ministry’s easing of norms to promote films in India has also helped Columbia Tristar to market MIB II more aggressively. Says Mr Roy, “Earlier, the I&B ministry ensured a ‘Variety Check’ where a film needed to have a review on the pages of Variety magazine before being allowed to be marketed in india. But now that rule is no more in existence.”

Men in Black II has made $90 million opening in the US and Columbia expects the film to do equally well in India. MIB I earned a gross revenue of Rs 7 crore, but with MIB II Columbia is optimistic of raking in about Rs 12 crore.

The film is being released in four languages—English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The Hindi version will be called ‘Vishwarakshakon Ki Vapsi’. MIB II will release with roughly 225 prints in India, more than double the number of prints released at the time of MIB 1 (100 prints).

The Tommy Lee Jones-Will Smith duo play government alien busters who save mankind from the ‘scum of the universe’. MIB II gives one a spoof on alien activity and this futuristic drama is rife with humour and action. The film also has special effects, unique alien creatures and lots of action.

Columbia has planned major campaigns and contests to promote the film in India.