It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a preposterous theatrical tie-in.

Marvel Entertainment's (NYSE:MVL) box office smash Iron Man hit retailers yesterday. You can pick it up on DVD, stream it through pay-per-view, or have it pre-loaded on your new Dell computer.

Yes, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is teaming up with Marvel to offer buyers of select PCs and laptops the superhero flick pre-loaded into their new machines. It's a $20 add-on purchase, which is strange because you'd think Dell would stomach the cost to move more computers.

It's also odd given the limited shelf life of a hot DVD release. Iron Man is a great movie, but what will Dell do for an encore next week when You Don't Mess with the Zohan comes out? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hits the market in two weeks.

Iron Man fans -- at least those willing to pay $20 for a PC-tethered version -- probably either bought their DVDs yesterday, or had it pre-ordered last month. Besides, it's not as if Dell's putting out systems in crimson and gold to give this more than a half-hearted promotional push. It's a neat hook, but one dangling in an ultra-short fishing season.

Marvel is making the most of Iron Man's success. It rolled out retailer-specific editions yesterday, exclusive to chains like f.y.e. and Circuit City (NYSE:CC). That's great. It gives retailers incentive to actively promote their exclusive versions this week. I just don't see it as a game-changer for someone looking to make a computer-buying decision.

Is someone really straddling the fence between Dell, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the point where a pre-loaded film will seal the sale for Dell?

"By getting your content preloaded, you can start enjoying your favorite movie as soon as you get your new Dell without the hassle of searching for and downloading your content, saving you time," reads the Dell website pitch.

Really? Maybe my unboxing experience is atypical, but I usually just want to get cracking on making sure I get my own programs into a new computer first. No offense, Tony Stark.

I'll give Dell points for trying. This is a novel way to get the word out on digital celluloid delivery. That's it, though. Stark may be described as "a cool exec with a heart of steel" by Marvel, but Dell CEO Michael Dell will have to make a few more turnaround moves before he earns a similar distinction.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz won't be Iron Man for Halloween, though he really enjoyed the movie. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.