For many of us, the Super Bowl isn’t about the game so much as the party and the food and the commercials, especially the movie previews. As usual, this year gave us a mix of ads for films opening fairly soon and blockbusters arriving this summer. And as usual, some studios spent their dollars wisely while others didn’t, so there was also a mix of good and bad that will lead the buzz on these titles for at least the next couple days. We’ve listed all the movies advertised during Super Bowl XLVII and categorized each as one of the winners or one of the losers of this annual Hollywood marketing game.
Star Trek Into Darkness
One of the best ways to reach the masses with this sort of movie — that is a sequel within a geeky franchise trying to be darker and cooler and more accessible — is to focus on the action — and also the villain. Make him seem more interesting (and “the better”) than the familiar characters we’ve known for decades, and maintain the level of mystery that the rest of us are so intrigued by. Also, show the iconic spaceship of the good guys crashing into a city. Never mind the reason for this all to be really appealing, whether we simply want to know that the heroes don’t have it easy going from a film’s beginning to its end — that they have to be knocked down before they get up again and lay the winning punch — or that we’re deep down all pretty sadistic, but people do love that stuff. And this promises it all in only half a minute.
On top of a good spot on TV, Star Trek Into Darkness gets bonus points for having people download an app to unlock an extended version. As far as I can tell, that extension is only four extra seconds, which is kinda frustrating. Still, that initial spot is pretty great, and the app is also special in that it’s apparently the only way for fans to get tickets to see the movie two days early, on May 15.
Iron Man 3
The Air Force One sequence that actually aired on TV during the Super Bowl is pretty good, but doesn’t it remind everyone of the Dark Knight Rises prologue? (Oh, and then all those Bane jokes when the Superdome’s lights went out didn’t help.) Fortunately there was the extended version online, which for the most part is previously seen trailer footage plus the same air spectacle with our metal superhero facing a dilemma of who’s worth saving the most. Ahead of that, however, is Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark just giving us a literal extended look for more than 20 seconds. It’s nice to see them having some fun with this marketing outlet, and it’s a great reminder that no matter how good or so-so an Iron Man sequel is, RDJ in the role is pure magic. Let’s really hope they don’t try making an Iron Man 4 without him.
Fast & Furious 6
Let’s just call this movie “Planes, Tanks and Automobiles,” and then let’s declare it one of the best surprises of all the movie trailers. It helps, for sure, that this is our first look at footage from the sequel. But that wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t also jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s a shame if they blew their whole load here, what with the fast cars, crazy ramp cars, tanks crushing cars and cars shooting out of the front of crashing airplanes. Oh, and I think we saw some faces in there, too, of all our favorite Fast and Furious stars. Oh, who are we kidding, do we really care that Michelle Rodriguez is back after all that insane action?
Maybe it’s not the biggest movie of the bunch, but it’s smart to sell a decent-looking dudes movie for fathers starring Dwayne Johnson (who was in a few Super Bowl commercials) during an event like this. Especially one that hasn’t already been receiving a lot of promotion or buzz, in spite of the full trailer being out for a few months already. The only thing missing was a note at the end telling us how to watch the Frontline episode the film is based on. Everyone would have appreciated that, right?…
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