Iron Giant Goes to Washington

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Posted by Tess Montgomery on November 03, 1999 at 23:06:09:

'Iron Giant' Targets Congress
Updated 1:57 AM ET November 4, 1999
By Christopher Stern
WASHINGTON (Variety) - "The Iron Giant" is invading Congress. In an effort to boost the home video release of the critically acclaimed box office flop, Warner Bros. is appealing to Capitol Hill for help.

Warner Bros. has lined up some key legislators, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). to promote the movie, which made just $23 million at the box office. Even children's programming advocates such as Peggy Charren are traveling to Washington to praise "Giant."

It makes sense that legislators and advocates praise the movie, said Warner Home Video executive Thomas Lesinski. He said "The Iron Giant" is the kind of G-rated, morality-friendly movie that advocates have been clamoring for.

"There are very few movies with such high quality and such a strong moral perspective," said Lesinski, senior vice president, Warner Home Video worldwide, marketing and development. "It's nice to showcase in Washington."

Based on Ted Hughes' 1968 children's book, "The Iron Man," the plot revolves around a boy's friendship with a giant robot in 1950s America.

In addition to holding a press conference with Markey and Charren, Warner Bros. will deliver a copy of the movie to every member of the House and the Senate -- a total of 535 copies.

Charren and Markey, who are often critical of Hollywood entertainment marketed to kids, are expected to say at Thursday's press conference that they are endorsing "Iron Giant" because they want to come out strong in cases where there is something that is praiseworthy.

Charren certainly was not understated in her endorsement. In a release from Warner Bros., Charren said the picture was a "a giant step forward in the production by a major studio of a nifty film for kids and families."

Charren is a founder of Action for Children's Television, a group that played a central role in winning FCC rules requiring broadcasters to air at least three hours of educational children's programming each week.

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