You wouldn't know it from the press release announcing the meal, which also describes a handful of cross-promotions between Red Robin and News Corp.'s (NASDAQ:FOXA) 21st Century Fox to boost interest in The Wolverine, based on the Marvel Comics superhero mutant of the same name. Fox is producing and distributing the film, which opens July 26 in U.S. theaters.
"The collaboration allows movie fans of all ages to experience the world of The Wolverine in a unique way, remixing the classic American passion for superheroes with epic offers that take 'Dinner and a Movie' to a whole new level," the companies said.
Additional meals include a spin on Red's Tavern Double burger -- "Kuzuri style," it's called -- which adds ginger, garlic, and cilantro for a more Asian flavor. Red Robin is also offering $3 off for those who see the movie on opening weekend and bring their stub in between July 29 and Aug. 1.
For Fox, every little connection to something tasty helps. The Wolverine follows 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine and stars Hugh Jackman in the title role. Last time, his performance overcame a weak script to bring in $373 million in gross receipts.
He might not be so lucky this time. Google's trend chart shows The Wolverine failing to crack the top 20 of movie searches. (Disney's second billion-dollar blockbuster, Iron Man 3, is still tops as of this writing.)
The good news? A more extensive trailer posted late last month has already earned 3 million views, thanks (I think) to scenes that appeal more directly to fans of the X-Men comics that made the character a must-follow.
Still, there's plenty of uncertainty, which helps to explain why Fox is working with Red Robin. Just don't forget that Disney is profiting here, too.
The House of Mouse controls a roughly $40 billion worldwide licensing machine that includes revenue from every Marvel Comics character imprint. But don't take my word for it. Go to a toy store sometime and look at the back of any of the X-Men toys on the shelves. You won't find mention of Fox, because the studio controls only the movie rights. Thus, every "Berserker" burger sponsored by Fox's marketing budget puts a little extra money in the pockets of Disney shareholders.
Think that makes Rupert Murdoch berserk? Let us know what you think, and whether you plan to see the film, using the comments box below.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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