Whatever happens to The Hollywood Reporter, the venerable, beleaguered entertainment trade monthly sold by the Nielsen Company to e5 Global Media last December, there can be no doubt the magazine made a bang—or, perhaps more accurately, a juicy splat—with its November 3D cover "tip on" promoting the animated feature "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs." A spaghetti tornado appears to fling spherical beefy morsels right off the page; funky tweaks of perspective tilt the movie title and swell a movie character's nose; even the humble UPC symbol is given the depth treatment. Viewmaster this aint—and no glasses are required.
The company behind this bit of Hollywood marketing magic is Virtual Images, a Redlands, Calif.-based creative firm owned by IGH Solutions, and The Hollywood Reporter project is its first foray into magazine covers. Inbox asked company President Dave Corey about the print possibilities of his proprietary technology—and whether a multi-dimensional Sports Illustrated cover might not be too far down the road.
INBOX: What's been the reaction to the cover from readers and advertisers?
DAVE COREY: Phenomenal. I kind of live in this entertainment industry ecosphere and was friends with the publisher at the time, Eric Mika, and he got numerous calls from executives at the studios saying how great the cover was ... [Sony Pictures Animation] was thrilled with it, and according to the number of calls they got and we got about it, it's all good stuff.
INBOX: Do you think the continuing emergence of more 3D films bodes well for this kind of print marketing?
COREY: It has to, just because it is a unique storytelling device. It's a way in print to say a lot more about a 3D product than you can say with [traditional] paper. We have lots of different forms of what we do, from packaging to posters to signage, and all of those businesses are healthy right now in this environment.
INBOX: Did you work directly with The Hollywood Reporter (THR) or with the film companies behind "Cloudy With A Chance..." to produce this cover? How did the revenue model work for the publisher?