What's behind Warner Bros.' enormous and expensive promo push for the just-out "Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones," which explores the life, music and cultural influence of the legendary record producer?
Now at 25 theaters in five cities--including L.A.--with a wider release set for Oct. 26, there've been TV spots, ads at bus stops, segments on "Good Morning America" and "Entertainment Tonight"--and a whole episode of "Oprah!"
Plus, some pretty major promotional material: In addition to the film's official press kit, some 200 "select" members of the press received a boxed gift of the "Listen Up" trade paperback (from Warner Books), soundtrack (Warner Bros. Records) and poster.
Not exactly an ordinary push for a documentary .
Could the pricey kickoff have anything to do with the fact that "Listen Up" is produced by Courtney Sale Ross--wife of Warner Communications chief Steven J. Ross?
"Absolutely not," answers Robert Friedman, Warners' president of worldwide advertising and publicity. "We don't happen to be selling this as a documentary--it's an entertainment vehicle. You can classify it any way you want. We're calling it a movie."
Friedman points out Jones' stature in the music business and his relationship with the studio (he produced "The Color Purple").
"It's not as if this movie is about obscure subject matter," says Friedman.