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SCI-FI GEEK: Godzilla Ad Cuts the Cheese

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

The ad campaign for "Godzilla 2000" is under way. Unfortunately. As previously announced, Sony will drop a dubbed version of the latest Japanese-made Big G flick into more than 2,000 theaters Aug. 11. And to promote the release, movie posters are showing up in theater lobbies, bearing schlocky, C-grade artwork reminiscent of camp classics such as "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster" (wherein the monster battles a living pile of sludge) and "Godzilla vs. Megalon" (a gigantic cockroach with drill-bit arms).

The posters, which look like they were painted by a 9-year-old, bear the tag line: "Get ready to crumble!"

Yeesh.

Granted, Godzilla isn't "Star Wars," but the big guy is a bona-fide sci-fi franchise with 20-plus films under his belt. So, how come distributors always deem it necessary to exploit the cheese factor? Even Sony's megabudget "Godzilla" remake took the low road, promoting the film with a dumb sex joke ("Size Does Matter!").

Can you imagine an ad blitz for "The Matrix" with the tag line: "Cyber Ass Kicker!"

We wanted the lowdown with these god-awful "Godzilla 2000" posters, which only a mother (of a 9-year-old, crayon-scrawling kid) could love. So, we called Sony's publicity department, but the person we spoke to hadn't even seen them yet. They promised to give us the 411 about their "Godzilla" marketing strategy soon.

Oh, boy.

"Harry Potter" SEARCHING FOR HARRY POTTER: It's the kiddy casting call of this (very young) century. The makers of the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" are soliciting head shots and audition videos from child actors ages 9 to 11 to play Harry Potter and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. You can get all the dope from the official Harry Potter Web site www.harrypotter.com.

Jimmy Smits FROM 'L.A.' TO 'NYPD' TO TATOOINE? Ex-TV lawyer and ex-TV cop Jimmy Smits ("L.A. Law," "NYPD Blue") is supposedly headed for an important role as a Jedi Knight in the next two "Star Wars" movies. This, from the usually reliable Coming Attractions Web site (www.corona.bc.ca). Neither Smits' people nor the George Lucas camp could or would confirm. (For the record, we called Smits' manager, but she said she knew less about it than us).

MORE 'STAR WARS': In the next few weeks, we can expect a rash of casting announcements, now that "Episode 2" pre-production is well under way. Tunisian government officials are quoted today in a Reuters report as saying Lucas will return to the Tatooine desert (which stands in for the planet Tatooine in the movies) in August for final preparations, then will be shooting major sequences there in October or November.

SCI-FI GEEK is a roundup of interesting genre movie news and tidbits, appearing weekly on Hollywood.com.

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