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January 16, 2001, Tuesday, FINAL EDITION

HEADLINE: Big studios bank on Super Bowl spots for blockbuster buzz

BYLINE: Theresa Howard


NEW YORK -- Grab the popcorn and Sno-Caps and get ready for some
of the most action-packed movie trailers in Super Bowl history.
Four Hollywood studios return to the field with an ad blitz studio
execs hope will build buzz for their wannabe blockbusters.

The big studios are back for Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa on Jan.
28. The studios last tackled each other at 1998's Super Bowl.
In the lineup this year are Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and
MGM. Disney was reportedly in for
Pearl Harbor, but the
company says that it will not be in the game.

Last year's overkill of 17 dot-com advertisers crowded out many
traditional advertisers, including some of the big-name studios.
This year only three dot-com companies are back for CBS' airing
of the game.

For the studios, the Super Bowl is a forum to boost the hype for
expected summer hits as well as a unique opportunity to reach
a global audience. Even if the movie isn't considered a potential
heavyweight before the game, the mere presence of the flick in
the high-priced Super Bowl ad lineup can provide a ticket to being
thought of as a blockbuster candidate.

Sony's Columbia Pictures division is vying for that status with
A Knights Tale. The company is optimistic that its fourth-quarter,
30-second spot will provide enough extra push to spark the buzz.
The action-adventure scheduled for release in June stars Mel Gibson's
Patriot son, Heath Ledger.

"This is not an obvious choice, but we have a lot of confidence
in the film," says Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing
and distribution for Sony Pictures. "It certainly has the ambition
of a big summer movie. If it is not, then we are presenting it
in a way that will justify that ambition."

thanks, Rai


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