More Than 2,500 Viking Ships Descend on America, From New York’s Times Square to Walmart Stores Nationwide
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (March 19, 2010) – Anchors aweigh. More than 2,500 Viking Ships are sailing into Walmart stores nationwide as DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) unveil an exclusive, first-of-its-kind program tied to the March 26th release of the studio’s feature film, “How to Train Your Dragon.” Just before the film hits theaters this week, Walmart and DreamWorks Animation are bringing into port a unique retail-tainment experience that customers cannot miss, featuring a giant “How to Train Your Dragon” designated area in stores, complete with a Viking ship and more than 100 “How to Train Your Dragon” items for purchase. Walmart and DreamWorks Animation are also sharing the experience with New York City, docking a 40-foot Viking Ship in the center of New York’s Times Square with a two-day event for movie fans, including a special appearance by America Ferrera (Ugly Betty), who voices the role of girl Viking “Astrid” in ”How to Train Your Dragon.”
“Our partnership with DreamWorks Animation has changed the way retailers can work with the movie industry,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president of Entertainment, Walmart U.S. “From the start of this program, we have worked toward the goal of changing the way movie fans connect to a great movie, and families could bring the adventure home in products they love. This is one of the largest footprints that we’ve ever created in our stores for a theatrical release, with exclusive merchandise that has been custom created for our customers.”
“From our earliest conversations, we were excited and impressed with Walmart’s vision and ambition for our property as well as the way they chose to deliver such a creative and innovative experience at retail for ‘How to Train Your Dragon’,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation.
As part of this unique effort, Walmart and DreamWorks Animation began working on their joint collaboration surrounding “How to Train Your Dragon” over a year ago. The program brings licensed products for the film to retail in a new and engaging way that hasn’t been done before in Walmart stores. Manufacturers such as Kraft, Kellogg, Pepsi and Spin Master among others worked directly with Walmart and DreamWorks Animation months ago to create custom “How to Train Your Dragon” branded products, which arrive next week in stores across the country.
The dragon-ized products include anything a little Viking could want, including exciting dragon and Viking-themed toys such as foam swords and helmets, apparel, skateboards, hooded towels, sunglasses and snacks, all available among the life-like character stands of Viking- and dragon-themed fixtures, as well as Walmart’s actual Viking Ship displays holding the products. Also for the first time, Walmart has developed a “How to Train Your Dragon” activity book that will be found in Happy Meals at 1,000 McDonald’s locations in Walmart stores.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Walmart on a robust consumer experience that features such fun and engaging thematic tie-ins to ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’” said Anne Globe, head of Worldwide Marketing & Consumer Products for DreamWorks Animation. “Our innovative approach to this program with Walmart was inspired by the great creative elements of the film itself, and we are so excited to extend the life of the movie beyond the theater for families to connect with DreamWorks Animation’s characters and worlds in new ways both in stores and online.”
To bring the event closer to home for New Yorkers, Walmart and DreamWorks will dock a 40-foot Viking Ship in New York City’s Times Square on March 22 and 23, with live Vikings, giveaways of the new products and “How to Train Your Dragon” previews of the new movie around the ship to a live audience of thousands. In addition, actress America Ferrera will be on-site the morning of March 23 to greet fans and discuss her experience voicing “Astrid,” the Viking, in the animated feature.
Walmart will begin actively advertising and marketing “How to Train Your Dragon” with broadcast, print and in-cinema spots as well as digital activities in the coming days. Moviegoers will see that “actual dragons” have arrived in stores in a 30-second in-cinema commercial running on more than 13,000 screens in 4,600 theaters. Online, fans of the movie can create their own Viking name or watch the dragon’s fire burn a message on screen through Walmart’s digital ads. Walmart’s “How to Train Your Dragon” Web site, which will feature a Dragon-themed map game, goes live on April 1.
About “How to Train Your Dragon”
Set in the mythical world of burly Vikings and wild dragons, and based on the book by Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” tells the story of Hiccup, a Viking teenager who doesn’t exactly fit in with his tribe’s long-standing tradition of heroic dragon slayers. Hiccup’s world is turned upside down when he encounters a dragon that challenges him and his fellow Vikings to see the world from an entirely different point of view.
About DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series, live entertainment properties and online virtual worlds, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” by FORTUNE® Magazine for two consecutive years. In 2010, DreamWorks Animation ranks #6 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation’s feature films are now being produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 18 animated feature films, including the franchise properties, Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. DreamWorks Animation’s three feature film releases in 2010 are How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After and Megamind.
Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart stores, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Walmart is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $378 million to local communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com.