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PITTSBURGH -- Sheetz is referenced about 20 times and gets a total of about six minutes of screen time in a new documentary about how Hollywood utilizes product placement in advertising.
According to a report by Sheetz hometown newspaper, the Altoona Mirror, the convenience store chain Sheetz enters the story 25 minutes into director Morgan Spurlock's "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," which played at an advance screening Thursday night in Pittsburgh.,p> The documentary, which will open in Altoona on May 13, attempts to explain the effects of product placement in films. The novelty is that the film's entire $1.5-million budget was paid for by getting various companies to sign up as sponsors.
In the film, Spurlock visits the Sheetz Inc. corporate office in Altoona and has a meeting with company executives Stan, Louie and Joe Sheetz. During the meeting, company President and CEO Stan Sheetz asks Spurlock one of the more pertinent questions in the film, according to the Mirror's report.
"Is there a plot or just shameless marketing?" Stan Sheetz asks.
He also expresses concern over potential negative publicity during that scene, which lasts about 3 1/2 minutes and represents the majority of Sheetz's onscreen exposure.
At the conclusion of the scene, Sheetz agrees to make a baseline investment of $100,000 to be part of the film. The company has committed to an additional $150,000 if the film reaches certain criteria such as number of theaters that show it and DVD sales.
"We were very pleased with how we were represented and felt our presence was in line with our sponsorship," said Fred McConnell, director of brand development for Sheetz, who saw the film last week in New York. A private screening will be held Wednesday at the Jaffa Shrine Center for Sheetz officials and city personnel.
"I know our employees are excited to see the movie next week in Altoona," McConnell said. "This opportunity, including Altoona's participation, has propelled us into the national spotlight in a favorable way." The City of Altoona will allow itself to be ceremonially renamed for the title of the film for 60 days in exchange for a $25,000 rights fee.
Other major references to Sheetz sprinkled throughout the film include interviews with people at store locations, which last about 10 to 20 seconds apiece, and Spurlock holding meetings with a cup of Sheetz coffee nearby.
Some scenes were shot at Sheetz locations.
The film lasts about 90 minutes, so Sheetz's screen time represents about 7 percent of it.
If the film meets all the criteria and Sheetz invests the total $250,000, it will end up paying about $41,667 per minute of screen time.
To view trailer go to: "Sheetz Sells Out in Spurlock Movie" at http://www.csnews.com/top-story-sheetz_sells_out_in_spurlock_movie-58313.html.