For the latest in the Bourne franchise, Universal is underlining character, story and action in its marketing. John Hazelton reports.

The Bourne Ultimatum opens wide in the US on August 3 and then, much like its predecessors, rolls out internationally through August and September. Universal Pictures International (UPI) opens the film in Spain on August 14; Brazil and the UK on August 17; Russia on August 23; Australia on August 30; Germany on September 6; Mexico on September 7; France on September 12; Korea on September 20; Japan (where it will be the first release under Universal's new deal with Toho Towa) on October 7; and Italy on November 1.

David Kosse, president of Universal Pictures International, suggests Ultimatum will gain more from the success of its predecessors than other third instalments of big franchises.

As the first two films have worked through their cycles theatrically, on video and TV, 'there's been a build-up of the following for the franchise,' Kosse asserts. 'It's much bigger than it was two years ago.'

Kosse believes that attempting to leverage international locations is 'a red herring from a marketing standpoint'. Instead, UPI's marketing will focus on character, story and action.

Whereas the film's domestic print campaign emphasises the story's eventual return to the US, the international posters feature stylish images of Bourne/Damon with log lines such as 'Remember everything, forget nothing'.

Ultimatum should also be helped by Damon's global publicity tour and by international promotional tie-ins. Volkswagen and MasterCard are among the film's partners and the former is reportedly spending $15m to link the movie to the European launch of the Golf car.

With that support, Kosse argues Ultimatum will continue the growth of the Bourne franchise; UK takings, for example, jumped from around $12.2m for the first film to $21.1m for the second.