LOS ANGELES: The PR staff at New Line Cinema wasn't satisfied with
a high-profile White House screening of its new film, Thirteen Days -
even though the showing, arranged by former Clinton press secretary Mike
McCurry and attended by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), provided President Bush
the perfect opportunity to flash his bipartisan credentials and got
major national coverage. Nonetheless New Line had even higher designs
for its celluloid.
New Line's PR staff of 20, with help from Santa Monica PR consultant
Stephen Rivers, arranged for a DVD copy of the film to be stowed aboard
the Space Shuttle Atlantis when it blasted off en route to the
International Space Station earlier this month. There, the film, which
revisits the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, was viewed by two Russian
cosmonauts and an American astronaut.
'You had cosmonauts joining with an astronaut to dramatize a chapter in
American history where we were eyeball to eyeball, and now we're working
shoulder to shoulder,' said Steve Elzer, SVP of corporate communications
at New Line. 'That was the pitch, and that's why we got such tremendous
The story was promptly snapped up by CNN, AP and Reuters, and trickled
down to dozens of local outlets from there.
Elzer said studio officials with shuttle crew contacts helped oil the
wheels. New Line has also held screenings at the UN, Harvard University
and in the Library of Congress.
Elzer noted that most cinematic PR campaigns this time of year are aimed
at seducing judges for the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes. 'While
we're certainly trying to do that, we're really trying to get the
attention of policy makers and world leaders,' said Elzer.
Well, we may not be the Academy, but New Line's space-age campaign
handily wins our PR Play of the Week.