Dodge used the summer movie season to introduce its new Dart compact sedan to 73 million moviegoers.
A 60-second Dart commercial, "How to Change Cars Forever," played in 1,400 U.S. theaters from July 20 to Aug. 31, said Jason Russ, head of Dodge advertising.
Four minutes before the start of such hit movies as The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall and The Bourne Legacy, the commercial was shown to theater audiences.
"They're a captive audience with few side distractions," said Mark Malmstead, manager of Dodge media. He added, though, that cinema commercials should be entertaining.
Dodge and Kia are making cinema advertising an important part of car launches and reintroductions this summer. Kia, for example, last week launched a monthlong cinema and TV advertising campaign to roll out the redesigned 2013 Kia Soul compact.
Cinema advertising costs about the same per viewer as prime-time TV, but cinema viewers tend to have slightly better recall of content than TV viewers, Russ said.
Dodge likes cinema commercials during the summer, Russ said. Students are out of school, the heat drives people to air-conditioned theaters and big movie production companies time major releases for that season, he said.