All Eyes on Clearwater for Release of “Dolphin Tale 2”

Friday, September 12, 2014 - 5:46pm

Director's Charles Martin Smith's "Postcard of the Destination" to Open Nationwide Tomorrow

St. Pete/Clearwater FL (September 11, 2014) --- The Hollywood spotlight will shine brightly on the St. Pete/Clearwater area this Friday as Warner Bros. Dolphin Tale 2, the much-anticipated sequel to the 2011 blockbuster Dolphin Tale, hits movie theaters across the country.

The inspirational tale that focuses on the "rescue-rehab-release" mission of Clearwater Marine Aquarium introduces a baby dolphin, Hope, to the original film's aquatic star, Winter, in an emotional, family friendly story that is based on the real-life rescue of the injured mammal in 2010.

All of the human stars from the original film---including Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson---also returned for the sequel, which director Charles Martin Smith describes as a "postcard to the destination."

In concert with the release of the film, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has launched a variety of marketing initiatives, including online promotions with AMC Theatres and, promotional hang tags in more than 300,000 Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty rental cars at airports in the Orlando and Tampa Bay areas, and branded trams at Tampa International Airport, where dolphin-themed "selfie" stands flank the shuttle platforms.

International efforts include hosted media screenings in the UK, and full-page sweepstakes in magazines distributed at 1,300 McDonald's restaurants throughout Germany.

But the most convincing advertisements of all might come from the movie's director and stars themselves, who appear on a series of VSPC's online videos candidly describing their relationship with the film's aquatic heroes, their admiration for Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and their love for the destination itself.

"It's difficult to overstate how much Dolphin Tale and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium have become part of the overall brand of the St. Pete/Clearwater area," said Interim Director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater David Downing.

"The publicity the destination receives is immeasurable, and the feel-good plot resonates with a wide variety of visitors---particularly families," said Downing. "In terms of tourism promotion, we couldn't ask for a better marketing vehicle."

The 2011 release of the blockbuster Dolphin Tale made Clearwater Marine Aquarium a household name, grossing more than $100 million and skyrocketing visitation at the aquarium from 78,000 in 2010 to 750,000 in 2012.

A delegation of tourism and business leaders from the Clearwater area traveled to Los Angeles for last Sunday's Hollywood premiere, followed by last night's local premiere at a sold out Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, where appearances by wounded warriors, musicians, and other inspirational personalities echoed the film's central theme of the search for strength in the face of adversity.

Dolphin Tale 2 will open internationally in the UK on October 3 and Germany on October 9, followed by continued worldwide roll out in Latin America and other markets.

Stars talk about Dolphin Tale 2 and the Destination
Harry Connick Jr. loves St.Pete/ Clearwater Sunsets
Ashley Judd Falls in Love with Clearwater
Morgan Freeman Talks Dolphin Tale 2
Dolphin Tale 2 Stars' Favorite Spots

See the multi-tiered marketing campaign pieces here

BONUS VIDEO: Cieran Kelso swims with Winter