Hollywood's Christmas Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Undermarket

The Prince of Egypt tops a season of deafening hype

All right, it's not parting the Red Sea. But for Hollywood marketers, luring folks to an animated film without being able to use burger chains, toys, or even a theme park ride to promote it can be harder than drag racing on the Santa Monica Freeway. And when the subject matter is God, Moses, and the Bible, you can't exactly license the rights to Burning Bush night-lights or Pharaoh dolls. For DreamWorks SKG, that's the challenge of selling its long-awaited The Prince of Egypt. Made for anywhere between $70 million and $90 million--depending on whom you believe--it's one of the highest-priced gambles in a holiday season packed with films for kids and the family.

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