LOS ANGELES, AP
Two of the summer’s most anticipated movies signed on for small-screen appearances before their big-screen debuts. An exclusive preview of “Spider-Man 3” aired during NBC’s “Heroes” this week. A commercial also invited Spidey fans to catch more than seven minutes of never-before-seen film footage on the NBC Web site. The trailer for “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” will make its worldwide debut during the “Dancing with the Stars” season premiere on March 19 — and simultaneously on popular shows in 61 other countries. It’s big screen/small-screen synergy, said Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Group, which will release “Pirates” in the United States on May 25. “Broadcasters were anxious to get the trailer because they knew it would be supportive of driving viewership to their particular shows,” he said, adding that unveiling the trailer during popular programs will allow it to reach “in excess of 200 million people.” “Dancing with the Stars” signed on instantly, he said. “They loved the idea because they know how popular ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ is,” he said. “When we pitched the premiere of the trailer with the premiere of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ it just made sense to them.” ABC, which airs the reality TV competition “Dancing with the Stars,” is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Matching a big-screen hero with his small-screen counterparts was “a natural,” said Valerie Van Galder, president of marketing for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which will release “Spider-Man 3” domestically on May 4. “Spider Man” and “Heroes” have similar themes, she said: ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Plus, she added, both the “Spider-Man” trailer and the “Heroes” episodes were “cliffhangers.” “It was a happy confluence of events,” she said. “We had the perfect footage and they had the perfect opportunity.” Ted Frank, NBC’s executive vice president of entertainment strategy and programs, called the partnership a “win-win.” “Heroes” posted some of its highest ratings of the season this week, he said: “It’s a combination of the fact we had a big ‘Heroes’ episode we had been building for weeks and the fact we had a big ‘Spider-Man’ preview.” It’s enough to make some people tune in just for the commercials.