The Universal-Imagine co-production of "Blue Crush" (opening Friday) has become a very big deal following favorable buzz and reviews leaked to the studios. Two recent premieres held five days and some 2,500 miles apart in Hollywood and Honolulu were geared to anticipated film revenues and visitor-industry marketing.
big Crush ride
The hoopla prevailed at Los Angeles' Universal Amphitheater Thursday, while in Honolulu on Monday, it was about aloha state exposure.
In L.A., 3,000 guests walked over a sea-blue carpet as hula dancers in coconut-shell bras and cellophane hula skirts performed beneath fake palm trees. The after-party featured a 12-piece Polynesian drum band, a dance floor with six tons of sand, a troop of surfing Girl Scouts and a drive-in theater-size screen showing the Banzai Pipeline in full-size perspective.
At the Ward Stadium 16 showing, 350 guests (including Gov. Ben Cayetano, executive assistant Joe Blanco, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau President Tony Vericella, Hawaii Tourism Authority board member David Carey, legislators Ed Case, Galen Fox and Barbara Marumoto) got free popcorn, soft drinks, "Blue Crush" T-shirts, bumper stickers and printed information on the film's marketing and promotions.
Vericella said "Blue Crush" is important for Hawaii for several reasons. "The film was shot entirely in Hawaii, gave local girl Sanoe Lake her big break" and Universal hosted its press junket here for 120 media reps. The film provides "a very exciting opportunity to Hawaii because its primary teen and young-adult audience demographic is one that we don't easily reach, making the marketing rights we obtained uniquely valuable," he said.
Lisa Adams of Billabong, which had an exclusive contract to provide the wardrobe for the three main actresses, said the product placement for her company is invaluable.
Vericella emphasized the marketing rights did not cost the HVCB any cash, but rather which was the work of April Masini and her attorney, John LaViolette, "as a direct result of an Act 221 transaction."
The act, in part, encourages investment in high-technology business in Hawaii, providing a 100 percent tax credit over a five-year period for investors in performing-arts products.
"Blue Crush" cost about $30 million and received about $16 million in investment tax credits. Other productions are hoping to qualify for a similar deal.
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Contact Tim Ryan at email@example.com.