Marketing

TCM Puts on the Ritz With Second Classic Film Fest

3/07/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

More than 300 people gathered at SIFF
Cinema in Seattle on March 3 to take in North by
Northwest
.

But it was more than just an art house showing of
one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best.

With Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne
and the
film’s co-star, Eva
Marie Saint, in
the house, it was
the first stop on
the network’s expanded
“Road to
Hollywood” tour
leading up to its
second film festival
in Hollywood,
April 28-May 1.

The TCM Classic
Film Fest ival
will showcase
more than 70
screenings of vintage
movies in Los
Angeles, including
special introductions,
guest
appearances and panel discussions.

While it will present an eclectic cadre of classics,
this year’s festival puts a focus on “Music and
the Movies,” with Vanity Fair serving as a partner
and host of the opening night gala, which will feature
the 60th anniversary world premiere restoration
of An American in Paris, to be attended by
star Leslie Caron.

DREW 2,000 IN ’10

The festival will include a celebration of songwriters
George and Ira Gershwin, and such notable genre
films as Shall We Dance (1937), Girl Crazy (1943),
Royal Wedding (1951), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
(1954) and Carousel (1956). Additionally, a sixgun
salute to the 100th birthday of the “king of the
singing cowboys,” Roy Rogers, will feature his movies,
including restorations.

More than 2,000 people from 44 states and a halfdozen
countries bought passes to the inaugural
event a year ago, fortifying TCM’s vintage-movies
brand.

“People came to be part of the TCM experience,”
Charlie Tabesh, who heads programming
for the festival and the network, said. “It speaks
to the power of the brand. This was not an L.A.
thing, but a destination for passionate fans who
love classic films.”

Business is brisker and broader this year, with festival-
goers from 47 states having purchased packages
at press time. TCM reports that about 85% of its
four levels of entry — providing access to the screenings,
events and other amenities — are accounted
for. That includes a sell-out of its “Spotlight Festival
Pass” for $1,199 and a few remaining tickets available
for its new “Matinee” pass for $299.

Dennis Adamovich, senior vice president andgeneral
manager of the festival, who called the event
“the Super Bowl of classic film festivals,” said TCM
is considering making select day-pass opportunities
available.

“This is not a huge revenue stream; we’re looking
to break even,” he said. “It’s about the fan experience,
people who love these films coming to hear the
speeches, attend the panels, see the stars, go to the
book and poster
signings.”

The site of the
first Oscars ceremony,
the Hollywood
Roosevelt
Hotel, will once
again serve as the
official hotel for
the festival, as well
as home to Club
TCM, a central
gathering point for
attendees.

Screenings and
events will be held
at Grauman’s Chinese
Theatre,
Mann’s Chinese 6
and the Egyptian
Theatre.

Reprising notes from its “Moguls and Movie
Stars” event last year, TCM will display its “Music
and the Movies” exhibition in three markets
— San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles
— before touching down at the festival. There,
attendees will be able to see the Oscar for An
American in Paris
, Gene Kelly’s boots from Singin’
in the Rain
and the bathing suit from Gigi, among
other audio-related artifacts.

TCM HITS THE ROAD

TCM’s Road to Hollywood, with the network’s Ben
Mankiewicz also hosting screenings, will stop in
Cleveland (March 16); Tampa, Fla. (March 23);
Chicago (March 24); New York (April 2); St. Louis
(April 4); Huntington, N.Y. ,(April 13); Austin, Texas
(April 16); San Francisco (April 20); and Los Angeles
(April 21). Ernest Borgnine, Angie Dickinson,
Tippi Hedren, Shirley Jones, Jane Powell, Angela
Lansbury and Burt Reynolds are also scheduled to
make appearances.

Comcast in Seattle and Chicago and Time Warner
Cable in Cleveland are partnering with the tour,
and TCM is looking to finalize affiliate participation,
which encompasses co-branding on all communications
about the screenings — via flyers, websites,
posters, in-theatre spots and VIP tickets to the films
— in the other markets. The nation’s No. 2 cable operator
is an official sponsor of the film festival in Tinseltown.

September