Well this is a nifty marketing idea that may or may not pay off for Pixar:
If you're a student at one of a select list of universities in the U.S., and have an appetite to see Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and all the other classic Pixar toys back on the big-screen, then you might be able to watch the first 65 minutes of Toy Story 3 almost two months before its release.
The closest thing to this kind of advanced marketing was last year's "Avatar Day," when people all across the world were treated to a free 15-minute screening of James Cameron's film. But if I'm not mistaken, this Toy Story 3 campus tour is the boldest example of such marketing, which is being unofficially dubbed "cliffhanger marketing."
Showing over half the film is certainly strange, but I assume the idea is to hook the 18-30 student demographic that may not be part of the film's guaranteed audience. Sure, the kiddies (and their parents) will flock to see the latest Toy Story movie but will students? (I am one, by the way, it's a busy life!)
Unfortunately for the rest of us, the screenings are only open to university students attending certain schools in the U.S. (sorry international folks). If you happen to be a U.S. university student, you can head over the Disney Pixar Facebook page and check to see if your school is listed. If you see your school, click the link and you'll get the location info.
If you do happen to be one of the lucky folks eligible, you will need to bring a valid student ID with you to the screening. A disclaimer notes that the screenings may be overbooked to ensure capacity; admission is on a first-come-first-served basis, so make sure you get there early to ensure you get a seat!
For those not eligible for tickets, it's still worth heading over to the Facebook page as there you'll see three cool new promo clips for the movie (Hint: refresh the page to see each one).
I don't know about you, but it seems strange to me that they're choosing such a big, widely appealing movie like Toy Story 3 to try out this "cliffhanger style marketing" on. To me it seems more suited to a movie that a lot of people don't know a helluva lot about (Inception, anyone?). Isn't Toy Story 3 guaranteed to get people filling theaters no matter what?
What do you think of this cliffhanger marketing? Are you lucky enough to be eligible and will you be attending one of the screenings? Or will you just wait for the actual release of the movie and avoid the tease?
Toy Story 3 opens on June 18th, 2010.