Live Commercial for ‘Showman’ Film Planned for ‘Christmas Story’

Two units of 21st Century Fox—Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Film—are getting together to present a live 2½-minute TV commercial for the film The Greatest Showman during the Dec. 17 broadcast ofA Christmas Story Live!The companies said it will be the first live TV commercial for a feature film.

During the spot, the cast of the movie, backed by 150 dancers, will perform the film’s original song Come Alive.

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The performance will feature Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya and Keala Settle. It will be directed by Michael Gracey, who also directed the movie, along with Beth McCarthy-Miller of Saturday Night Live.

Filming of the commercial will take place adjacent to the A Christmas Story Live! stages at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

 “As we continue to drive innovation in both our programming and ad products, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with our sister film studio in this exciting live holiday event,” said Suzanne Sullivan, executive VP of entertainment ad sales for Fox Networks Group. “We can’t wait to watch as Hugh, Zac, Zendaya and Keala make history and unwrap the first-ever live theatrical commercial on Fox’s air.”

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Fox has been focused on creating innovative approaches to TV advertising, including pioneering six-second spots during some of its high profile entertainment and sports programming.

“We are creating what we expect will be a memorable performance providing energy and excitement to viewers that drives them to see The Greatest Showman,” said Michelle Marks, senior VP, marketing and global media promotions for 20th Century Fox Film. “This first-ever live commercial for a feature film is one that P.T. Barnum would be proud of and one that I hope paves the way for future titles.”

The two companies will be co-promoting the event, with ads for A Christmas Story Live! tagged with Greatest Showman tags and vice versa.

Based on the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story Live! stars May Rudolph, Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ana Gasteyer, David Alan Grier, Ken Jeong and newcomer Andy Walken.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.