I never had more fun working on a movie that I did on Godzilla.
For the most part, marketing movies is a long and hard process. It takes months…there are always problems…and you seldom get what you want. Godzilla was exactly the opposite. We secured the rights to the movie and got everyone (marketing, sales and production) in a room together and came up with a strategy. It was done in a matter of weeks with a real team effort from everyone at New World.
Understand that this was a Godzilla movie dubbed for the the US market…bad lip sync, toothpick models and a small man in a rubber suit. You know…everything you'd expect a Godzilla movie to be. But the ‘big guy’ was coming back to the big screen, and we had to make sure that people knew it.
Only the hard core Godzilla fans knew that Raymond Burr was in the first Godzilla movie. We put together a small cast and shot a few new scenes with Mr. Burr. We used footage from two other New World classics, The Philadelphia Experiment and Def Con 4 .
Most importantly, we wanted to make sure that the audience had a good time, so my wife Jill had a great idea and we put ‘Bambi Meets Godzilla’ on the head of the film. If you haven’t seen this, you’re in for a treat.
Next, we were faced with a monster of a PR challenge... so we decided that it was time to put Godzilla on the road. We made arrangements to bring in the actual costume from Japan. Godzilla may look 100 feet tall on film, but as costume he barely broke 5' . And the suit was 100% rubber, which means that it was very very heavy. We hired a small stuntman (which is not the easiest thing to do). After he fainted in the costume during rehearsals, we threw in an extra oxygen tank to make sure he didn't collapse live on national television.
Godzilla returned to NY, for a visit with Regis Philbin, who had just started his syndicated show, and then it was on to Times Square and a BBQ at Shea Stadium. But the fun didn’t stop there. We had put together a big deal with Dr. Pepper and they saturated TV with a huge (naturally) campaign to support one of the most obvious product placements ever filmed. We were shameless.
But for me, the best part wasn’t the 250 ‘beach patrols, or the Godzilla parties, or the merchandise or the classic poster or the 10 foot standee…it was the song.
My wife Jill is a terrific singer, and she had an old demo that I thought was just what we needed. And it was free. We laid down some updated instrumentals for one of the few movie monster love songs ever to have been re-recorded.
The campaign worked. We got tremendous PR, the promotional screenings were packed and the movie was a hit.
I Was Afraid to Love You, the love theme from Godzilla went gold! And I should know. It cost me $250 to have the record goldplated and framed for my wife.