Late in May, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, Alan Horn, announced that Disney’s new film, The Lone Ranger, would have its world premiere in the Disney California Adventure theme part that is pat of the Disneyland Resort complex in Anaheim, California.
The movie, starring Academy Award-nominated actor Johnny Depp and Arme Hammer and directed by Gore Verbinksi (who won an Oscar in 2012 for the animated film Rango), is a film version of the popular television series of the 1950s. In the film, Arme Hammer plays a character named John Reid, who ultimately becomes The Lone Ranger after a fateful meeting with Tonto, an American Indian played by Johnny Depp.
(According to The Huffington Post, while filming the movie in New Mexico in 2012, Johnny Depp was made an honorary member of the Comanche Tribe, adopted by a Comanche Nation tribal member to honor Depp’s proclaiming his identity as being part Native American).
In a smart marketing decision that not only promotes the movie but promotes the Disneyland theme parks and Disney brand name, Disney is charging a hefty price for a ticket to the exclusive movie premiere. It will cost you $1,000 (yes, you read that right).
For that hefty price tag, you get to walk the red carpet that will be placed throughout Hollywood Land in the California Adventure theme park, meet and take pictures with celebrities (both Johnny Depp and Arme Hammer will be there), attend a private screening inside the park and then go to a private party afterwards in the newly opened Disney Cars Land (based on its hit animated movie, Cars). Oh, one other thing. You’ll also get a Subway sandwich, popcorn and soft drink while you watch the movie. For those of you on the bubble about attending, I wanted to throw that extra little bit of incentive at you.
(If you can’t afford that, you can still as a park guest – after having paid for admission to the theme parks – watch the celebrities arrive and walk down the red carpet).
Because Disney is underwriting the entire cost of the movie premiere and all the surrounding events, 100% of the money raised during the premiere will be going to the American Indian College Fund, the nation’s largest and highest-rated American Indian scholarship organization that in 2011-2012 provided scholarships for more than 4,200 American Indian students. The charity was chosen, according to Mr. Horn, because of the “terrific collaboration with the Native American community throughout the production of Disney’s The Lone Ranger”.
In a world of companies (and celebrities) behaving badly, this premiere sounds like a good idea for all involved.