It’s been reported in many a survey that roughly half of the 100-million-plus people who tune in for the Super Bowl watch the telecast not for the game itself, but for the commercials in between timeouts, quarters, and possession changes. So, it’s no surprise that companies looking to get their brands and products out there in front of consumers eyes are willing to spend $3.5 million for 30-seconds of prime-time, in-game advertising space (alright, so maybe it is a little surprising — $3.5 million??).
When you think of Super Bowl commercials, you probably think of Dorito’s ads. Budweiser, Coors, or Miller ads. Car company advertisements. The talking E*Trade baby. Go Daddy. Coca-cola and Pepsi. Or, if you’re really old school, Apple’s “1984” ad.
But it’s not just big-name consumer product companies that advertise during the Super Bowl; movie studios do it, too, and this year saw quite a few Super Bowl movie ad spots. This year’s slate of trailers during the big game saw advertisements for movies from the hotly anticipated The Avengers to the little-known Act of Valor. All in all, there were 8 pre- and in-game movie trailers, and below you can view them all and check out my take on whether the trailer left me wanting more or, well, left me wanting more.
Thoughts: Airing during the pre-game telecast was the Super Bowl spot for The Hunger Games, and man, the trailers for The Hunger Games just keep getting better and better. I’d guess that this movie is just going to keep picking up steam as we get nearer and nearer to the film’s March 23 release; and if this trailer is any indication, it’s going to be one (and perhaps one of the few) mighty fine early 2012 movie(s). Each trailer just keeps building on the previous one. I like that what I’m seeing in the trailers mostly matches up with the images I had in my head while reading the book, and for that, The Hunger Games trailer gets a big thumbs up.
Thoughts: Another pre-game ad spot. Trying to save a little money, perhaps? Anyways: First, he was Borat. Then, he was Brüno. And now, he’s The Dictator. You can always count on a good trailer when Sacha Baron Cohen is involved, and this short 30-second spot for The Dictator actually looked pretty funny. We won’t find out until mid-May whether this film falls the way of Borat or Brüno (that is to say hilarious or overdone), but I was quite delighted by this little snippet.
JOHN CARTER (extended version below)
Thoughts: I still have really no clue what to make of this film. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a war-weary military man who is shipped to Mars and becomes embroiled in a battle between the inhabitants of the planet, including a princess (Lynn Collins) that he presumably falls in love with. It’s like Avatar meets Prince of Persia meets Phantom Menace meets… Mars. I remember being really excited for it when I first heard about this film, based on the Edgar Rice-Burroughs novel, but as time goes on I’m becoming more and more skeptical. On the one hand, it has director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) and some exhilarating visuals on its side; but on the other, it has an overused basic storyline and some awkward-looking aliens (Jar-Jar Binks, anyone?). Guess we’ll find out just what this movie is all about when it hits theaters on May 9.
THE AVENGERS (extended version below)
Thoughts: Now that’s a Super Bowl trailer. Explosions: check. Quick intro to the characters: check. A very small sneak peek into the plot: check. More explosions: check, check, and check. We got to see Captain America. We got a glimpse of Mr. Fury. And there was Thor. And Iron Man. And Black Widow. And, oh, hey Mr. Hulk. But my favorite part was probably Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) slinging an arrow right up at the camera. Or Hulk smashing everything in his path. Or.. well, you get the point. “It’s time.” Oh, if only it was.
Thoughts: There is a soft spot in my heart for all things Dr. Seuss. His stories and their various respective movie adaptations and different iterations always make me yearn for just a bit more time as a child; The Lorax is no different. The movie a star-studded voice cast in Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Betty White, Danny DeVito, and (eeee!!!) Taylor Swift, and the animation looks to be quite well done, as the film is from the makers of Despicable Me. Color me excited!
Thoughts: I know what you’re thinking: they’re basing a movie on a board game? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is the first ever board game adaptation. There has yet to be a movie made from Candy Land, Connect Four, or Guess Who. Even Monopoly hasn’t been made into a movie, likely because it would be 8 hours long and just piss everyone off. While the trailer for Battleship contained some pretty impressive visual effect sequences à la Transformers, I just don’t see where the story is really going to come from on this one. The 60-second spot did nothing to quell my discomforts. It may be a stunning A/V marvel, but I’m still very skeptical of this one.
Thoughts: I mentioned in my article on sequels, prequels, and reboots that this film is unnecessary. Its purpose is the same as that of the new Ghost Rider flick: a mini reboot that will attempt to pick up the pieces from where the first unsuccessful movie left off. Like Ghost Rider, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009) was critically derided and didn’t really turn enough of a profit to justify its grossly inflated budget. So, of course, Hollywood is rebooting each franchise, using these new films to create a fresh start, of sorts, for each film. I’m going to guess that the outcome will be the same for G.I. Joe: Retaliation as its predecessor.
Thoughts: The final trailer of the night, Act of Valor served as the coming out party for a film I hadn’t even heard of until now, and the movie is supposed to hit theaters in less than 3 weeks! The ad spot was only 30 seconds long, but in that time we got a nice glimpse of what this film likely will be. Act of Valor centers around an elite team of Navy SEALs (played by 8 real, active-duty SEALs) who embark on a covert mission to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent. Maybe it was the food coma making me open to new things, but I doubt it given my takes on the Battleship and G.I. Joe trailers that played before this one. With clips of realistic-looking wartime footage and stunning visuals playing to Eminem’s “Not Afraid”, this trailer got me hyped to see a film I hadn’t even heard of before Eli Manning and the Giants’ game-winning drive.
Another movie whose trailer appeared during the big game was Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace 3D, but I’m not going to include that here for two reasons: 1) it’s not a new movie, but a 3D re-release, and 2) it’s going to be just as “bleh” as it was the first time around, and 3D will likely only enhance that “bleh”ness.
Overall, this year’s Super Bowl included some memorable movie trailers mixed in with its solid batch of advertisements. I’m just as excited for The Avengers and The Hunger Games as I was before, but their respective trailers provided for some solid pre- and in-game entertainment. The trailers for The Lorax and Act of Valor built up some hype for both of those films, and even the trailer The Dictator was pretty entertaining.
Unfortunately, the Battleship and G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailers fell flat for me, and it looks like Disney’s potential Pirates of the Caribbean tentpole replacement John Carter has a bit of catching up to do if it wants to succeed.
The trailers for The Avengers and Act of Valor earned my votes as the best of the night, and they did the most to boost their films’ audience awareness. The Avengers went from uber-hyped to crazy-hyped, and Act of Valor jumped from unknown February release to must-see February release.
But, hey, that’s just me; what did you think? Which Super Bowl movie trailer got you excited? Let us know in the comments below, and vote in our poll (located on the side of the page) for your favorite!