Nothing gets lost in translation of 'Forest Gump' ads

September 07, 1994|By James Ulmer | James Ulmer,The Hollywood Reporter

Why mess with success? United International Pictures certainly won't when it starts rolling out the Paramount megahit "Forrest Gump" overseas Sept. 22.

According to UIP senior vice president Hy Smith, the distribution giant won't be tinkering much with "Gump's" North American ad campaign, which has already helped the film sprint past the $230 million mark box-office revenues in the United States.

"Everyone [overseas] loves the American campaign," Mr. Smith said while visiting the Venice, Italy, film festival last week. "We're following the American plan as closely as possible. You can translate 'Gump Happens' [the two-word domestic ad line] pretty much literally in a lot of languages."

In Italian, that translates into "Gump arriva." In France, "Gump arrive." And in Germany: "Gump passiert."

Mr. Smith said that U.S. market made "very good use" of the film's 60-second television ads, and UIP will do the same in many overseas markets. "But we can't afford to do it with the same frequency as was done in the States," he noted.

Hence, "Gump's" TV spots will be supplemented by newspaper ads in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. In France, where TV advertising for films is still discouraged, "Gump" will be marketed without television advertising.

Mr. Smith ventured that "Gump" would surpass "The Lion King" in global box office relatively soon, especially since "King" is being pulled Sept. 23 for two months before going out again at Thanksgiving. "Gump" jumps off the European starting blocks in the Netherlands (Sept. 22), followed, in other overseas markets, by Finland, Norway and Spain (Sept. 23); Israel (Sept. 30); Belgium and France (Oct. 5); Argentina (Oct. 6); Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom and South Africa (Oct. 7); Germany (Oct. 13); and Italy (Oct. 21).

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