Universal Pictures is thinking outside the box in trying to raise awareness for its David Dobkin-directed body-switching comedy The Change-Up, which opens Friday against Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Change-Up has been tracking a bit softly, and the studio today sent a promo that highlights the chemistry and appeal of the film’s stars, Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. The studio has done something else that caught my eye: Similar to when Lionsgate sold $6 tickets to The Lincoln Lawyer through Groupon, Universal is offering $6 tickets to the movie through DailyCandy Deals, the Comcast-owned online daily newsletter that offers discounts from jewelry to restaurants. Here’s the offer as it was sent to me through an email from movie site Fandango: “As a Fandango fan, you’re invited to score a special deal from our friends at DailyCandy Los Angeles. Round up the gals this weekend and ogle Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman in The Change-Up for just $6 (up to a $14 value). Even more swoon-worthy: DailyCandy will send new Deals at 40-70% off straight to your inbox, along with insider info on Los Angeles restaurants, spas, boutiques, and more.”
Studio insiders said that this is actually the second movie that has used the DailyCandy Deals discount price program. It was also done for Bridesmaids, though the discounted tickets weren’t made available until after opening weekend. I’m told that this arrangement was locked in long ago and wasn’t done because of any lagging tracking numbers. It’s a test program for both the site — which is trying to offer viable deals to grow its subscriber lists — and the studio, which is trying to raise awareness for its films. As for who eats the cost of the discounted ticket price, it looks like it’s the theaters, the same as happens with any discounted ticket. Some of the DailyCandy Deals subscribers will buy tickets and not show up, so the feeling is this will probably all come out in the wash. But the studio has no exposure, and tickets sold this weekend will be counted in the weekend box-office tally. It is unclear whether the studio will offer future movie discounts to the site that’s owned by its parent company. By the way, here’s your chance to ogle at Bateman and Reynolds in the Universal promo reel:
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