The Heffleys strike back: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, based on the second book in Jeff Kinney’s bestselling middle-grade series, lands in theaters March 25. The first film, which Fox 2000 released in March 2010, has grossed more than $75 million worldwide (on a production budget of just $15 million). Zachary Gordon reprises his role as Greg Heffley, with Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris returning as Greg’s parents; Devon Bostick is also back as older brother Rodrick. David Bowers (Astro Boy) replaces Thor Freudenthal as director.
To promote the film, the trailer has been screening before showings of Gulliver’s Travels, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. On March 15, Kinney will travel to New York City with the cast for interviews. Kinney will also be visiting Warwick, R.I., on March 19—along with the Wimpy Kid balloon seen at last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade —for the grand reopening of a Macy’s store in that town, a year after flood damage closed the store. Kinney will sign copies of Rodrick Rules and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary at the event, and movie posters will be given out to attendees.
PARADE magazine has been running a Wimpy Kid sweepstakes, with the winner receiving a school visit from Kinney and the cast of the new film for a private screening. The sweepstakes ends tomorrow.
On the publishing side, two Wimpy Kid books are getting makeovers in advance of the film. Abrams has created a special edition of Rodrick Rules that features a new sticker, original to the book (which will not be available with the book after the special print run sells out). Abrams also sent extra copies of the sticker to booksellers to further promote the film. Kinney also updated The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary with new information about and photographs from the second film; the revised edition went on sale February 1 with a 250,000-copy first printing.
In other Wimpy Kid news, Amulet will publish an updated version of Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book on May 10, arriving with a one-million copy first printing. There are more than three million copies of the first edition of the book in print. To promote the new book, Abrams is launching a comics contest tofay, which invites children to submit original cartoons for a chance to win $500, a set of Wimpy Kid books, and $1,000 for a school or library of his or her choosing. Kinney will announce the contest winner on June 25 at the ALA conference in New Orleans.