This past summer, Paramount president of global marketing and distribution Marc Weinstock had planned to do huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem takeovers in Los Angeles and New York City that would be attended by talent, including writer and producer Seth Rogen and voice cast Rose Byrne, Jackie Chan, Paul Rudd, Ice Cube and Maya Rudolph. There were also plans for a Comic-Con event.
But any plotting came to a full stop when the strike commenced July 14, roughly six weeks before Mutant Mayhem opened. Cast participation is especially crucial for an animated film.
“We could tell people all these stars are in the film, but unless someone sees them out in the world, it’s tough,” says Weinstock. “The week of opening, you would have seen all our stars on late night shows, just like they would have gone to theaters to meet with fans.”
Foreseeing the possibility of a strike, Paramount brought in members of the Mutant cast to prerecord media and featurettes. That wasn’t the case, however, for PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie , which Paramount opened Sept. 27 — the necessary footage wasn’t available in time. For a second time, Weinstock was cut off from his most valuable asset, the talent, which includes Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Bell, Kim Kardashian and James Marsden.
“We were like, ‘Not again,’ ” says Weinstock. “So we came up with the idea of setting a Guinness record for the largest number of dogs to see a movie.”
On Sept. 24, 219 canines gathered at Griffith Park to watch an outdoor screening of the PAW Patrol sequel hosted by Kevin Frazier, from Entertainment Tonight. The pooch audience generated plenty of headlines, and while he couldn’t leverage his talent, PAW Patrol opened to decidedly strong numbers, though it might have done more business had stars been free to take part in the publicity. (Box office analysts agree that the loss of star power dinged the film’s overall box office grosses by about 10 percent.)
The only hiccup: The wrangler for the screening had to turn away four dogs after learning they were official members of SAG.
This story first appeared in the Dec. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe .
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day