The movie "Eat, Pray, Love" is the story of a woman who travels the world in search of personal fulfillment, enlightenment and love. Despite the noticeably non-materialistic theme, though, Sony Pictures and Home Shopping Network (HSN) inked a deal to use the movie as a vehicle to hype an amazing amount of female-targeted merchandise. In the run-up to the film's August 13 release, HSN staged a three-day shopping event that showcased over 400 "Eat, Pray, Love" movie-related products including kitchenware, teas, jewelry, clothing, spices, shower gel, bed sheets, furnishings and cookware. Moviegoers are invited buy Eat, Pray, Love "I deserve Something Beautiful" T-shirts for a whopping $39.90 apiece, or an "Eat, Pray, Love" Sony Pocket Edition E-Reader with case for $229.95 (in three easy payments), a gelato maker, Sony laptop computers in movie-themed colors, gourmet candies, flat-panel TVs and much more.
Sony Pictures gets a cut of the profits generated by the merchandise, and HSN is helping out by bringing the movie to the attention of its 95 million household viewers and five million or so mostly female active customers who seek fulfillment by shopping. HSN screened the movie for its employees, and gave them copies of the novel to help them discuss the book and movie with customers and thus encourage sales. This is the first time a movie studio has entered into a direct merchandising partnership with a TV shopping channel. Toy makers have long targeted kids with toys based on animated movies, but women are a relatively new target for movie-related merchandise, let alone on this scale. A tremendous amount of merchandising accompanied the release of the movie "Sex and the City 2," but Warner Brothers, which made the movie, never launched a merchandising promotion like Sony's for SATC. Instead, it left the job of pushing SATC-related merchandise -- panties, martini glasses, parties, tours and such -- to others.