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Man of Steel: It's a bird, it's a plane...no, it's Jesus?

Henry Cavill attends the UK Premiere of 'Man of Steel' on June 12, 2013 in London, England.

You could say “Man of Steel” had, well, a super weekend. Box office numbers are in, and the latest Superman movie made more than $125 million. That’s thanks in part to some niche marketing. Warner Bros. Studios targeted Christian moviegoers. 

When a studio spends more than $200 million on a movie, it pulls out all the stops. According to Robert Marich, who wrote the book Marketing to Moviegoers, the ad budget for a major film is at least $50 million.

“They’ve got one shot, and they use a lot of money to press the buttons they deem worthy pressing,” he says.

It’s now more and more common to target certain groups, even if their membership base isn’t huge. There are only so many Christian pastors, for instance.

“But if you get them interested and excited, they are influential and kind of a megaphone, getting a broader audience interested,” Marich says.

And that’s what Warner Brothers is banking on. The studio hired someone to prepare notes for sermons, and it cut special trailers and clips for Christian moviegoers.

Marich says this kind of niche marketing is pretty low-risk, and studios have done it before – with “The Blind Side” and “The Book of Eli,” both of which had some measure of success.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.
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