In what started off as a seemingly easy way to start off this blog five years ago, my annual ‘Super Spots’ post has become a beloved tradition. Though I think it’s getting harder to discuss and dissect Super Bowl trailers when studios are being more budget conscious and not participating as much as in past years. This year, only four studios had spots during (and before) the game.
It’s definitely been a sad trend, but I honestly can’t blame the studios. The price of a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl has only risen in the five years I’ve been running this blog–and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. Two years ago the cost of a 30 second spot was $3 million dollars. This year it was reported as being $4 million. In my very first Super Spots post I postulated that the reason studios got in on the Super Bowl was because they have a captive audience to which they can announce the coming of their tentpole films. Sadly with the increasing price of Super Bowl advertising, I think the trend of studios continuing to bring trailers will continue to slide.
Looking at this year’s crop of trailers, only one really stood out and I think the big reason why is because Transformers was giving us our first look at the film. All the other trailers that were shown were from films that have had a trailer or two out already–basically it was sort of stuff we’ve seen before. If you’re spending $4 million dollars or more and have only got 30 seconds to get your point across, you’ve got to bring your show stopper; something that will blow people away. A good case in point . . . last year’s big game spot for Furious 6. You remember that one don’t you? The one that introduced us to “vehicular warfare” and ended with a car exploding out of the nose of a plane. Need I say more?
Like I said, only one trailer this year sort of had that level of cool while the rest were just kinda meh. Here’s a rundown of this year’s Super Bowl trailers and my rating on how excited each of these got me for their impending release.
Draft Day :: Pre-game :: Excitement Level – 2/5
A trailer for a movie about the NFL, authorized by the NFL, and playing during the Super Bowl . . . talk about home field advantage. Under the endorsement of the NFL (they wouldn’t be able to use real teams or NFL logos if they didn’t) Draft Day makes perfect use of its Super Bowl spot to announce to everyone that this movie is where the next season starts for the NFL. While dramatizing the draft might not seem all that exciting, I like what Summit did here by co-opting all the hype around the NFL draft and directing it towards a dramatization of the draft. From playing on the “season starts with the draft” mantra, to Denis Leary’s proclamation as the Cleveland Browns coach that “this city deserves a championship”, to the montage of intense draft day negotiations, hopefully Draft Day can wrangle in some of the 111 million football fans watching the final game of the season.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier :: Pre-game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level – 3/5
Marvel couldn’t have picked out a better place to debut their trailer than in the area of the broadcast sandwiched in between America the Beautiful and the National Anthem. Aside from the smart placement and the common themes of patriotism that came with it, all they really had was old footage set to a slow instrumental of a violin playing America the Beautiful. Ending with the Winter Soldier punching Cap’s shield to top off the trailer was great and all, but there wasn’t much to get excited about. Except for when they direct you to the second full length trailer online. I’ll give them an extra point for that.
Noah :: Pre-game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level – 2/5
Sadly I think most of the footage shown in this spot we’ve already seen. The one bright spot though was appearance of angels descending to Earth (in that one scene where yellow lights are heading towards Earth–maybe?). Hollywood’s got a bushel of religious based films coming out this year and from everything in the first trailer I couldn’t help but notice that there was no mention of God at all. I think you could tell the tale of Noah without bringing up God, but I think it would be pretty hard to do. Seeing this potentially divine reference says that they’re definitely keeping some stuff in Noah close to the vest, but still . . . I wished they had showed us more.
Need for Speed :: 1st Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level – 2/5
What I like about this trailer is that they play up to their title with the quick montage of different vehicles going really fast. It gets your blood pumping a little, especially with the quick cuts of all the different drivers in the film–intensely driving. There’s definitely a bit of an early Fast and Furious vibe going on, but other than that, there’s nothing really earth shattering about this trailer.
Before the game I knew that Transformers: Age of Extinction was going to be my most anticipated trailer of the game because it was the only film that was going to give us our first look at the film. All the other films debuting spots already had previous footage of them out there, but this one, we were going to get our first look at Mark Wahlberg and potentially the Dinobots! With my expectations already high, the trailer definitely delivered the goods. From Optimus seemingly getting blasted by Galvatron (maybe?), to a flying dragon/dinobot Transformer; all culminating with what appeared to be Optimus riding on the back of Grimlock with a sword, the trailer blew me away and was by far the best one out of this year’s bunch. Doesn’t get a perfect score due to the Michael Bay factor.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level – 3/5
The sad part about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that their first trailer just blew us all away with the possibility of the Sinister Six being in the mix. How do you top that in your Big Game spot? Well, you can’t really in my opinion. Granted we do get some new footage of Gwen and Spidey falling and Spidey rescuing a falling Gwen in another shot, but aside from that, the biggest thing this trailer gave use was the EnemiesUnite.com website. If you happen to mosey over there you get a nearly four minute long trailer which shows us the origin of Electro and more of the crazy special effects orgy where Electro shoots lightning at Spidey. Mainly going off of the Super Bowl spot I give it 2 points with an extra bonus point for an extended trailer online.
If you happened to have the pre-game broadcast on really early you might have seen a few more trailers for Monuments Men, Robocop, and Pompeii. They aren’t included in this roundup since they were on more than a half hour before kickoff and I simply just didn’t have time to wait around during pregame to look for them. Instead, I’ve got a few more movie related commercials that I thought were fun . . .
“The Truth” with Morpheus for the KIA K900 :: directed by Carl Erik Rinsch, 47 Ronin
I had heard about this commercial before the game, but actually seeing was just totally hilarious. Seeing Morpheus pull his “red pill/blue pill” monologue from the first Matrix was one thing, but the sheer hilarity from his pseudo-Matrix Revolutions Neo-like opera singing was the icing on the cake. Granted it was corny as hell, but it was still really fun.
British Villains ‘Rendezvous’ for Jaguar :: directed by Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech, Les Misérables
What’s great about this commercial is it’s not only that they’re so right that Brits have the best villain roles, they also have all the best good guy roles as well. It’s so fun to see these guys really revel in their villain personas–even if it is exaggerated for this commercial. If there was a real movie with these actors in it all playing villains; I’d totally watch it.
With the prices for Super Bowl advertising continuing to go up, I can see a day when studios no longer advertise during the Big Game. With a decent trailer being at least a minute long, it might not be that cost effective or feasible to grab someone’s attention with a 30 second spot, especially with it going upwards of four million. As if this year’s crop of trailers show, the trend seems to be to cut a decent spot together, then direct everyone to the full version online–there by getting the most bang for your buck. I fear eventually the studios are just going to realize that if they’re putting their trailers online to begin with, is it really worth it to shell out $4 million for a Super Bowl sign post directing people to our trailer? Probably not.