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The ''Prince of Egypt'' cashes in

Despite claims by Jeffry Katzenberg otherwise, the biblical movie will have merchandise tie-ins

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What has four legs, is washable, and represents a glaring contradiction? The exclusive Prince of Egypt plush-toy camel! Five months ago, DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg was proclaiming that it would be a ”terrible disservice” to push any gewgaws that would trivialize his company’s animated Old Testament epic. ”Think about it,” he implored a reporter from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ”There’s no merchandise on The Truman Show or Saving Private Ryan or Titanic. Movies can do extremely well, even if they’re not quite as profitable.” But when the first 5 million copies of the DeMillean ‘toon start their exodus from stores Sept. 14, they’ll be nestled in shrink-wrap with beanbag camels. What’s more, exec Kelly Avery told the trade magazine Video Store, ”After a significant amount of research, we found that the beanbag toy would be most effective in driving immediate sales.” A spokesperson for DreamWorks responds by citing consumer demand: ”They’re not trying to trivialize the camel, or whatever.”

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