Article Written By Intergalactic Mojito
A Look Back At Some Big Movie Trailers During The Big Game!
When I was a kid, Super Bowl Sunday was considered a most sacred and holy day of observance by my dad. Back then SB parties were mostly a family affair, and the only people who were ever allowed to watch the big game at our house were people who were actually there to watch the big game. I don’t remember any sort of a fanfare resembling the table spreads of today but I do remember the menu consisted of one of two varieties of fried food. Fish or chicken. I grew up during the “Glory Days” of sports commentary courtesy of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, and Frank Gifford. Back then no one made a big fuss over the dollars and cents of endorsement deals, and athlete wives were never the subject of a prime time series. We had to stand next to the tv to change the channel and adjust the volume, we had triangular antennas on our roofs, and cords on our telephones. On game day it was all about the game because the game was all that mattered and it was an incredible time to be alive! Fast forward to nowadays when my squad and I are huddled in front of a big screen tv, eating our weight in buffalo wings, and rooting for the victor of one of the greatest competitions in the history of the world, Super Bowl movie teaser and trailer reveals! Come on, I’m a nerd! For more than a decade, film studios have cashed in on the mass marketing blitz associated with the Super Bowl coverage of their theatrical offerings. From rabid football fan to voracious genre nerds, all of us have a stake in tuning in to watch the highly anticipated exclusive previews wedged in between time-outs and Budweiser Clydesdales!
Movie reveals during the hours-long duration of one of the biggest sporting events of the year are one of the greatest perks we earn for watching the big game. Many of these sneak peeks have given way to cheers, jeers and happy tears of gratitude for the cinematic bounty we are yet to receive. This year major studios are certainly calling for a Hail Mary return on their ad space investments in the hopes that the whopping $5.2 million that they are spending on the 30-second sampler platter will be enough to entice audiences into the theaters for the full buffet.
In the past, several game day trailers have scored a winning pass for many pop genre-related films teased during the coveted commercial breaks that have gone on to achieve incredible commercial success. Though there are a few which have also mislead us completely out of bounds and eventually failed at the box office, nonetheless the excitement for all of the upcoming releases is real, the speculation is worth sharing, and the fandom tradition of watching Super Bowl exclusives continues to thrive! Here is a look back at some of the winners and losers that are either still earning that paper in syndication to this very day, or have opted for the monthly payment plan of unlimited installments to pay back what they owe on wasted game day ad space!
I may not remember much about a football game from 10 years ago, but I do recall freezing in mid-chew with a mouthful of 7 layer dip during that heart-pounding teaser for Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen! Though the overall movie failed to measure up to the magnificence of its predecessor, Paramount delivered an eye-popping preview for the rock-em-sock-em sequel showcasing the further adventures of their robots in disguise! Then just when I thought it was safe to dip another chip I witnessed the same studio proceed to strike lightning twice during the big game with the reveal of Star Trek! I remember the intrigue and excitement buzzing around this rebootish origin story regarding the up-and-coming crew of the Starship Enterprise and the first of their bold new missions, as if it was yesterday! This movie was amazing for obvious reasons, which included but were not limited to a talented director, stellar cast, incredible soundtrack, and the introduction of Chris Hemsworth! Lots of studios had their game face on that day but few could compare with the double whammy that Paramount promised with their winning combination of morphing gigantic robots and the fledgling cadets of Starfleet Academy!
The Indianapolis Colts were not the only losers that day when they lost to the New Orlean Saints 31-17. From what I remember of the previews that year, studios were fumbling left and right with the assortment of no-frills they offered on game day. Three words can easily sum up what I’m talking about here: Prince Of Persia. Once I saw that teaser, at no point was I in any manner of a hurry to scurry back from replenishing my nachos during the commercial breaks. That day, it was as if each teaser or trailer after the next bored me to the point of reading an MS DOS instructional manual in between each time-out. The Back Up Plan, The Wolfman, Alice In Wonderland. Would somebody please sack the decision maker who thought that these flicks were synonymous with the electricity of Super Bowl Sunday? But wait there’s more because we were also unfazed by the likes of The Last Airbender, Robin Hood and Brooklyn’s Finest. The Crazies trailer was the only one that had more of a metaphorical reference for what it felt like sitting through that snore fest.
Even though a few of the outstanding previews premiering that day would eventually lead to big box office disappointment, there is no denying the fun they triggered at rowdy Super Bowl parties. Jack Sparrow refused to die yet again with the teaser for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Certainly not a fan favorite of the POC franchise, there’s still something truly entertaining about watching Johnny Depp stumblebum along the way while sailing the seven seas. This movie also featured homicidal mermaids from fathoms below, which was AWESOME, so I didn’t hate it. You have to hand it to Disney though for learning from their mistakes with their game day offerings from the previous year because they hand-delivered on a silver platter not one but two Marvel Studio tv spots. Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor. I honestly believe that our TV set wept with joy during these two debuts. Could there have been a more perfect way to introduce two stand-alones featuring two comic book titans to the masses? Paramount attempted to intercept when JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg tagged each other into the ring with their edge-of-your-seat mystery tease for Super 8, that almost single-handedly broke the internet that year! The momentum sort of dissipated when Paramount also revealed Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon, foreshadowing the unsatisfactory feelings that were sure to be felt after watching the movie later on in the year. Spielberg kept the game in play though when he and Jon Favreau joined forces hoping to score a touch down with the Cowboys and Aliens teaser. Though the movie turned out to be a bit of a letdown, the energy it generated from its game day ad could have powered a whole slew of crockpots simmering with chili! Thankfully Universal kept a backup plan in their back pocket with their Fast Five tease! It exploded across the screen making me want to come up with any excuse to race my car over to the grocery store for a bag of ice that nobody asked for! The SB teaser for Battle Los Angeles was certainly a conversation starter, but the actual movie left audiences feeling a bit at a loss for words. Although I have no idea who passed what or ran for however many yards, that was definitely one of the most invigorating series of movie advertisements I had seen in ages!
Let’s be real here. This game was all about that Avengers reveal! I’m not even gonna waste time talking about who played, final score, none of it! When the fandom got wind of how we were finally going to to get a glimpse of what it was that all of those other Marvel stand-alone films had been leading up to all this time, and that all we had to do in order to see it was to sit through a few tackles, I think it is pretty safe to say that we all became football fans for at least the first half of the game! Honestly, does anyone else remember what other trailers and teasers premiered that day? What’s a football?
Though some of the previews featured during SB 47 were definitely a swing and a miss, others lived up to their hype and had me eager to just give the studio an all-access pass to my bank account! This was certainly true of what we saw during the tv spot for World War Z. Paramount is definitely one of those major studios with a proven track record when it comes to delivering a right proper Super Bowl showcase for their movies. The way that they managed to condense 2 hours of anxiety and suspense into 30 seconds of mayhem was fantastic! There was also the Star Trek Into Darkness reveal that had all of these brilliant colors and action sequences so vivid and exciting that you almost forgave them for what resulted from the actual movie, which was good but could have been a lot better. Disney responded with tv spots for Iron Man 3, Oz The Great and Powerful and The Lone Ranger. Yet Tim Burton’s cinematic silly string of a western was the one most deserving of a flag on the field. You know that feeling you get when you see something that just really sets your geek soul on fire? Yeah, none of that happened during the teasers for any of these three movies. Universal Pictures can’t go wrong with the sights and sounds of a trailer featuring anything from their high octane Fast and Furious franchise, so those teasers are almost always a welcomed sight. Rounding out the crop of game day coming attractions was Snitch and the only thing I really took away from that teaser was that it was for a movie starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
The teasers that teased us during Super Bowl XLVIII were a comical mix of extremes. Some were either really REALLY AWESOME, and some were previews of films like Pompeii and Noah. When Disney and Marvel decide to lead with anything remotely related to Captain America, if you are representing another studio or franchise, then just know that there is no shame in conceding defeat. Yeah, their trailer included a sequence featuring the Winter Soldier as he grabbed hold of Cap’s shield in mid-air as though it were a plastic frisbee. All hail the champion! Good on Sony for taking that opportunity to capitalize on their own Marvel property as they pitched in with a game day peek at The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And who doesn’t love The Muppets? Jim Henson’s community of felt based performers brought the humor to life that afternoon with a little something from Muppets Most Wanted while Paramount was rebooting the life out of the Transformers franchise with Transformers: Age Of Extinction. MGM had also performed their own miracle by bringing Robocop back from the dead. The game day cinema smorgasbord would also include a little of this and a little of that from Draft Day, Monuments Men, Need For Speed, Neighbors, and 3 Days To Kill.
Where were you the moment you saw that gargantuan thunder lizard leap out of the aquarium tank and pluck that great white shark from its feeder as though it were nothing more than a lowly sardine? Most likely you were enjoying this breathtaking moment during one of the commercial breaks of SB 49! There is no denying that Universal Pictures definitely scored big with their preview of Jurassic World, the long-awaited continuation of the Jurassic Park saga. Another slam dunk in their showcase arsenal was the bittersweet installment preview for Furious 7, which would feature the saddest of final performances of Fast Family veteran, the late Paul Walker. Universal had a firm grip on dominating the game day movie exclusives because they also unveiled Despicable Me spinoff, Minions, an origin story about the early years of Gru’s most loyal banana obsessing, fart gun tooting henchmen! The trailers of SB 49 were a bit schizophrenic in that there wasn’t a specific genre leading the charge. Disney was very demure that year leaving us with not so much as a hint of things to come with Force Awakens. Sure we got to experience a literal emotional rollercoaster inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl in Inside Out, and yeah we left today to enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy with Tomorrowland, but I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by what they had to offer. There certainly was a lot to choose from and at a certain point, I felt like one of the studios had actually hit me over the head with a kitchen sink! Although I had positive feelings about what I saw of Spongebob: Sponge Out Of Water, Terminator Genisys and Pitch Perfect 2 nearly caused me to take a walk down memory lane right on over to the television and change the channel.
Disney and Marvel were so busy blowing our minds with their sneak peek at Captain America Civil War, I nearly forgot that I was even watching a football game! That grudge match stare down on the tarmac between the divided members of Team Avengers as seen in the teaser had me stress eating my way through multiple jalapeño poppers! The competition escalated quickly though when 20th Century Fox (RIP) clapped back with their Deadpool tease. While Marvel fought with itself over who was the greatest, Paramount slipped in under the radar and dropped a teaser for a Cloverfield sequel into the mix with 10 Cloverfield Lane. I know there were other teasers that debuted that day, but after witnessing those three juggernauts the additional titles are escaping me at the moment.
Two words: Baby Groot.
When the network introduced the Super Bowl last year, the announcer could easily have referred to it as epic movie trailer day featuring highlights from the big game. That’s because this was truly one of those anomalies in Super Bowl movie teaser tv spot history when almost every preview is a home run! Yeah I know I hybridized the pun but you have to admit to the validity behind its intent! What do you get when you fill ad space with coming attractions for Avengers Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, A Quiet Place, Mission Impossible Fallout, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom and, Cloverfield Paradox? A whole lot of incapacitated nerds collectively losing their minds! SB 52 not only gave us a long-awaited NE Patriots defeat but it also delivered on some of the most incredible teasers as well. Hollywood proved that they liked us, they really liked us!
And so it is today that Super Bowl XLXIII is finally upon us. For football fans, it is a day filled with first downs, touchdowns and field goals. For fandom nerds, it is a day brimming over with speculation and hopeful glimpses into what will potentially be another stellar year at the cineplex. So whip up that guac, sauce those wings, and crisp the potato wedges because it’s time to party! May the force be with you as you live long and prosper because life will, uh, find a way with a game-winning touchdown! See, told ya I was a nerd!