This week, Po, the Kung Fu Panda, voiced by Jack Black charges into UK cinemas for Kung Fu Panda 3 with his superstar voiced friends Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) Tigress (Angelina Jolie) Mantis (Seth Rogen) Viper (Lucy Liu) Crane (David Cross) and Jackie Chan as Monkey.
Adding to the cast, this time are Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston; J.K. Simmons and Kate Hudson.
The films have been great and promotion has been in full effect and I am reminded of an event that Sainsbury’s put on for Kung Fu Panda 2 entitled Pandamonium in the Park.
It was a great event at the Althorp Estate where alongside Chinese themed displays such as dragons, martial arts, magicians and shaolin warriors, various companies such as Crusha; Flora; Cadbury and Kelloggs had stalls to give away samples and promote their brands.
The reason most would have purchased tickets, I imagine would have been to see Po himself and hear the film’s composer Hans Zimmer perform from the soundtrack as well as some of his memorable tunes from Pirates of the Caribbean and True Romance to name just two.
The original film was also shown in the afternoon to build the anticipation for the sequel. With a big chain like Sainsbury’s, behind it, the ticket price was cheap at £15, you would probably pay a lot more for that to see Hans Zimmer I would imagine so was an absolute bargain.
It was a great day, I came home with tons of samples, enjoyed lots of Kung Fu Panda themed display, saw an amazing concert and got my photo with Po and of course I shared these pictures on Social Media and here I am again now sharing those images for the new film.
Similar to this experience, can be film premieres, where alongside the stars, the characters will often appear by someone in costume. from Alvin and the Chipmunks to stars of Ice Age or Zootropolis.
Fans, of course, if they can’t get near the stars, have a good chance of having a picture with Alvin Chipmunk, Sid the sloth or Judy Hopps from those 3 films I mentioned
Sometimes, most recently Po the panda graced Hamleys for a meet and greet with his fans, I myself also met Drac from Hotel Transylvania in a shopping centre as another example.
However, when these events are announced (and when we hear of them you can be sure we will post on our facebook page) outcry will occur because the character will only be appearing in main cities such as London, Manchester or Glasgow for example.
However, it does seem odd, I do not know the price of these costumes, but if it was to tour, for example, a Sainsburys or a Cineworld chain across the country, with many having their picture with a movie character, you can be sure that it would likely appear on Social Media, free advertising. If a franchise film, those pictures would likely reappear when the sequels follow too.
Imagine Po, in all the cinemas of a chain which should cover most of the UK, the venue could make a fun day out of it, local shops could get involved, a cake shop could make Panda biscuits for example. A collection for charity could even happen, Po is a panda, an iconic symbol of the WWF for example.
It would be great to see this happen, as it could even encourage more people back into the cinemas and would surely be more promotional for a film than having it wrapped on a bus, which can sometimes stay on them long after its left the cinema and on DVD? The costumes can of course go out on tour again to promote the home release as well!
I can’t see it ever happening, especially with apps that can do this sort of thing, but I think it would be great! I’m sure it would be a great revenue source as well, I’m sure a child having met Zootropolis rabbit Judy Hopps as an example, would be straight off to the toy store to buy a cuddly version of her.
What do you think? Would you like to see movie characters go out on promotional tours across the country? Can studios do more to let fans get involved with their characters? We’d love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films
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