Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It
Creating Quality Family Entertainment in Pittsburgh
During the 2003 Pittsburgh Entertainment Summit, Steeltown advisers talked about the importance of building on Fred Rogers' legacy of family entertainment and living up to Fred's challenge that television could "make good attractive."
After re-connecting with the region during Steeltown's 2005 "Land of The Dead" premiere, Steeltown adviser and Oscar-winning special effects wizard Greg Nicotero (Chronicles of Narnia, Spy Kids) helped his hometown become involved with The Hatchery, a company run by one of the most respected women in children's television, Margaret Loesch, who after running Fox Family, Jim Henson Entertainment, and the Halllmark channel, set up this company believing that family entertainment was being underserved by Hollywood. Through Greg's effort and Steeltown's follow-through, the project Greg was designing a new creature for, R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: "Don't Think About It", which was originally being budgeted for Canada, shot in his hometown. Because of its efforts in helping getting the film made and its helping in raising funds for the film, Steeltown Entertainment Project shares a prestigious "above title" producer's credit with The Hatchery and Universal Family Studios.
"Don't Think About It' was originally intended to be a home DVD release, but the end product was of high enough quality and appealed enough to family audiences that the film was picked up by Cartoon Network, a subsidiary of Time Warner, and had its national broadcast premiere on September 7, 2007. "Don't Think About It" was the highest rated program on basic cable for that time slot for boys 9-14 and the second highest overall among young people of that age. A re-airing of the show was the highest rated show on Cartoon Network that week, and it is slated to be shown seven other times before Halloween 2007. This low budget film created 115 jobs locally and resulted in $2,165,000 being spent in the region. According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette film critic Rob Owen:
"Squarely aimed at the 'High School Musical' crowd, "R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It" is a solid piece of 'tween entertainment' that's sure to appeal to children."
To read a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article about the production of this movie, click here.
The film, which reviewers have praised for its smartly-written storyline with a strong female role model, stars Emily Osment and Cody Linley, two of the cast members from one of TV's hottest shows for young people, Hannah Montana, whose co-executive producer Sally Lapiduss is also a Steeltown Adviser. The DVD is currently available in Best Buys, Targets, Wal-Marts, and Borders across this country. Because Pittsburgh has an equity stake in the project through Steeltown, if DVD sales live up to initial projections, this film could return money to the region which could help fund future projects which would continue to build on Pittsburgh's family entertainment tradition.