A 'Peaceful' marketing bid

Uni, Best Buy in ticket giveaway

In a unique marketing initiative, Universal Pictures and Best Buy will partner to give away up to $15 million in tickets for the March 30 nationwide rerelease of "Peaceful Warrior."

The film, which originally bowed in 2006 through Lionsgate Films, grossing $1 million, is based on the inspirational best-seller "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman. Produced by Sobini Films' Mark Amin and Cami Winikoff and starring Nick Nolte, "Peaceful," will open in 500-1,000 theaters.

Universal hopes the Best Buy giveaway will spur a longer theatrical release than the film received during its first stop in theaters.

"We wanted to find a way to give this film — and films like it — a real chance to compete in this marketplace," Universal president of marketing Adam Fogelson said. "This movie's inspiring and positive message connects powerfully with people, but it simply isn't possible to reduce or market in efficiently or economically in the customary ways. We wanted to allow consumers a chance to sample the film and opted to redirect money from a traditional marketing campaign and instead purchase and provide tickets to moviegoers directly."

After the film's original release, Amin and Winikoff approached Fogelson, a personal friend, asking for help to create a TV campaign. Instead, Fogelson suggested an alternative marketing approach he had been considering for some time.

Sobini Films, which is putting up the cost of the giveaway, brokered a deal between Lionsgate and Universal, which then brought in Best Buy as a partner and secured support from exhibitors willing to experiment with the concept. Best Buy is providing marketing services in the form of marketing promotions, e-mail blasts and its Sunday circular, all of which will add up to 160 impressions during the next two weeks.