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June 05, 2009

All manner of wild promotions might not save 'Land of the Lost'

Posted on Fri Jun 5 2009

If Land of the Lost tanks this weekend, it won't be Will Ferrell's fault, at least not in the advertising department. Have you seen him lately? He's been a one-man marketing machine. Ferrell landed on the first Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and embedded himself in an episode of Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild with Bear Gryllis this week. Both shows pulled in record ratings, and Ferrell only had to eat reindeer eyes on one of them. (On the other, he called Liza Minelli a communist.) He also hosted the season finale of Saturday Night Live, and he's the star of a whopping 40 vignettes airing on USA Network talking about his Land of the Lost character, Dr. Rick Marshall. The studio distributor, Universal, has been busy, too, grabbing tens of millions of dollars in cross-promotions and media from Marriott hotels, Land O' Frost lunchmeats and Pop Rocks. The biggest partner, Subway, has a Sleestak-themed commercial running now (Sleestaks are the green humanoid bad guys in the movie) and redid one of its Los Angeles restaurants with the movie theme, à la 7-Eleven's Quik-E-Mart makeover for The Simpsons Movie. But the reviews are coming in, and they stink. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt calls it a "lethargic meander through a wilderness of misfiring gags." And only 6 percent of tickets buyers on Fandango say they plan to see Land of the Lost this weekend, which puts it far, far behind Vegas bachelor party comedy The Hangover and the current box office champ, the Pixar family flick Up. Ferrell is well loved (if he weren't, he'd have been risking overexposure backlash in recent weeks), but he can only so much to rekindle that nostalgic feeling some of us have for Chaka and the rest of the camp-filled Sid and Marty Krofft world.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

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