DreamWorks is in discussions to sell the naming rights to recently released "Lincoln" to LinkedIn for an undisclosed sum, and the new name will apply to DVD and BluRay releases of the Spielberg film reported insiders familiar with the deal. "LinkedIn approached us soon after the theatrical release and expressed interest in the naming rights for the film's DVD release," said a DreamWorks assistant that wishes to remain anonymous. "They wanted us to re-release the theatrical version with the new name, but the buzz in the room with Steven was 'whoa - would the Academy still count it then for BP [Best Picture]?'"
"Steven was a little skeptical at first but threw out a figure and they didn't blink. That's when the talks got serious" said the same source. LinkedIn refused comment but the company is known to be looking for alternative advertising opportunities.
A hastily assembled focus group to explore the idea was reportedly assembled last week and DreamWorks found that most participants didn't notice the change. "Isn't that how you spell it?" became a 30 minute discussion topic in the group according to sources present behind the one-way glass. Only 3 out of 10 participants felt strongly that the spelling change was historically inaccurate and would not watch the film with the changed title. "We thought that those were probably the people that would rent it rather than buy it anyway - you know, the NPR crowd that hates everything fun anyway." The participants were randomly selected from a database of residents of Los Angeles.
The deal may involve more than just the spelling of the iconic former President and include the pronunciation for an additional financial consideration. "Daniel [Day Lewis] said 'f*** no', so we're looking at a couple of voice impersonators that can do voice-overs if LinkedIn is willing to go fork over the extra dough," said the source.
Get Used to It
The flood gates may have opened. Other studios and film owners are reportedly looking closely at the "Linkedincoln" deal as a template for their own stable of movies. One studio is said to have tasked a team of interns to look through its list of films and identify potential titles that could be tweaked to allow for naming rights. "'Face/Off' shot to the top of the list right away" said a source familiar with the effort. "'Facebook/Off' may be coming to a DVD sleeve near you soon" laughed the source. The same studio is reportedly also considering a sponsorship option a la 'Masterpiece Theatre.' "'GE Theater: Mission: Impossible:6' anyone?" [Mission: Impossible 5 is already in development according to IMDB.com].
Tech companies appear to be the prime targets for unknown reasons. Perhaps the movie studios are not imaginative enough to see beyond LinkedIn's offer and it set a precedent, perhaps tech companies' cash hordes are considered larger, or perhaps proximity to Hollywood plays a role. "Mark [Zuckerberg] and Sergey [Brin] definitely have the moolah, and we know Mark loves the movies given his reaction to 'The Social Network.' I know Steven is trying right now to call him and Sheryl [Sandberg] to investigate opportunities to collaborate, including naming options. Sergey is tougher, and Google is not as easy as fit into movie name changes - we might have to create a special vehicle for a name like that like 'The Googlers' and have Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston meet on 'Google+' or something. And I'm just thinking out loud here, but maybe Google and Facebook might have a price war over which website is used to get Paul and Jennifer to hook up, you know?"