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SUNDAY BRUNCH | The Stuff

Glowing Reviews

June 14, 1998|BILL HIGGINS

If the less-than-monstrous box office of "Godzilla" reasserts that size doesn't matter, then the Hollywood success of an inexpensive watch suggests that price doesn't matter either.

Relatively cheap (under $50) Timex watches with the Indiglo feature (the push of a button lights the dial to a read-in-the-dark level with a "Caribbean blue" hue) are stars in studio screening rooms. Call it a triumph of function over fashion made more unexpected by the fact that well-paid entertainment industry execs are a prime target of Rolex and Cartier ads.

"It's taken over the world of screenings; sometimes it's like a sudden attack of fireflies," said Lindsay Law, president of Fox Searchlight. "I went to Cannes without my Timex and it was a nightmare. I bought this double time-zone watch because I thought it would be more important to know the time in L.A. and France. But it drove me crazy. It frustrated me that I couldn't read the dial during movies. I needed to know the time so I could make the next screening."

While the Timexes make cameo appearances in other parts of Hollywood (Sharon Stone sported one on the cover of InStyle. Elton John gave them out in his Oscar party gift bag. Scully and Mulder wear them on "The X-Files"), it's in the screening rooms that, no pun intended, the watches really shine.

"You want to know what time a movie starts and when it stops," said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of Theatrical Marketing for New Line Cinema. "You want to know how long the trailer is. How long into the movie before the first act appears to be over."

Dan Rosen, senior vice president of market research at Warner Bros., said he needs to note the time "when an audience laughs or gasps or walks out. That's all part of understanding the reaction to a movie."

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