Wal-Mart, Warner Bros. strike rare partnership

Wal-Mart to sell tickets for advance screening for 'Man of Steel' under deal with Warner Bros.

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has teamed up with Warner Bros. to give its customers first dibs at seeing the movie studio's "Man of Steel" in certain theaters across the country — before the official release.

Tickets for the movie, which stars Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent and Superman, will go on sale in more than 3,700 of the 4,000-plus Walmart stores starting at 8 a.m. May 18. Customers will be able to buy up to four tickets per visit and have the option to choose between 2D or 3D showings. The advance screening will take place in selected local theaters nationwide at 7 p.m. June 13, the day before the official release.

Both Wal-Mart and Warner Bros. say that this is the first time that a studio has teamed up with a retailer to offer this type of incentive.

About 1 million tickets for "Man of Steel" will be available at Wal-Mart stores. Nearly 2,400 theaters are participating in the advance screening for customers who purchase the tickets at the discounter.

Warner Bros. and the theaters, both of which will be getting the proceeds from the ticket sales, are hoping to capitalize on the millions of customers who shop at Wal-Mart each week. The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., is counting on the promotion to get shoppers into its stores and while there, pick up some of the "Man of Steel" themed merchandise like toys.

Chris Nagelson, vice president of entertainment merchandising at Walmart's U.S. stores, says that the discounter is trying to find "new and innovative ways" to team up with studios.

Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures, noted the partnership could be the start of something new.

Wal-Mart has long been embracing various partnerships with movie studios.

Last year, Wal-Mart worked closely with Sony Pictures, Home Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment in promoting "The Amazing Spider-Man Unmasked." As part of the program, Wal-Mart had trucks outside of about 1,000 of its stores featuring merchandise and displaying a demo of the film.

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