By EW Staff
April 07, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Was it really the People’s Choice Awards that aired on CBS last month, or a trailer for Ron Howard’s summer space odyssey, Apollo 13? Either way, the evening turned out to be one giant step for Universal’s upcoming ad campaign.

It began when Howard was given a special award for his long career in Hollywood and saluted with a film retrospective that just happened to include an extremely lengthy clip from Apollo 13. ”We figured we’d have 13 million people held captive, so we quickly put some scenes together,” says the film’s producer, Brian Grazer. The plugs didn’t stop there. Apollo 13 star Tom Hanks (below center, with Bill Paxton, left, and Kevin Bacon) mentioned the film in one of his trips to the podium. Later, backstage, Howard, Hanks, and Gump and Apollo costar Gary Sinise talked up the film to reporters. While Hanks stopped short of predicting Apollo would be another Gump at the box office, he did say, ”The mission should be a success.” Ten…nine…eight…

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