Update Dec. 30, 2015, 11 a.m.: Shortly after this post was published, TheWrap learned that like last year, Sony did not buy any Super Bowl ad time this year, so that would bring the total number of possible movie trailers down to 19. The original post is below.
Super Bowl 50 is still more than a month away, but the AFC and NFC champions won’t be the only ones doing battle during the big game: Hollywood studios will be flexing their marketing muscles with ad buys for their best blockbuster bets — but a seat at the table doesn’t come cheap.
As of early November, CBS chief Les Moonves said there were a “few units left to sell” and “you can imagine what these last few slots will go for.” Indeed, a 30-second slot is said to be going for approximately $5 million, as AdAge reported the asking price for a 30-second Super Bowl ad has increased by an average of 11.1 percent each of the past five years.
Though no studios have unveiled which trailers they’ll be showing during the Super Bowl, TheWrap has a pretty good idea of what movies we might see in the starting lineup on Feb. 7.
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While Hollywood never misses an opportunity to play to the cameras, and there’s no single TV event with a bigger audience than the Super Bowl, keep in mind that a Super Bowl ad doesn’t guarantee box office success. “Tomorrowland,” “Seventh Son,” “Unfinished Business” and “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” bought time last year, but it didn’t help them turn a profit. And of the top five highest-grossing movies of 2014, only “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” advertised during the Big Game.
After examining the 2016 release schedule and each studio’s Super Bowl ad buys over the past three years, here are 21 movies that are strong candidates to take the field before, during and after the NFL’s championship game.
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1. “Captain America: Civil War” (May 6) – Marvel’s masterpiece of muscles is a no-brainer for the Big Game considering the performance of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” following its Super Bowl ad. Perhaps we’ll see more of Chadwick Boseman‘s “Black Panther,” who’s shaping up to be a fan favorite?
2. “The Jungle Book”
(April 15) – Jon Favreau
‘s gorgeous adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale may skew a little young for Super Bowl audiences, but really, you’re never too old for a great story, especially one with such realistic CGI.
3. “Alice Through the Looking Glass”
(May 27) – Like it or not, the first “Alice in Wonderland” grossed over $1 billion, so respect must be paid in the form of Super Bowl ad time. “Alice” will have enough competition over Memorial Day weekend thanks to “X-Men: Apocalypse,” so if it wants to best its predecessor at the box office, Disney may have to step up to the plate and shell out with a statement buy.
1. “The Huntsman Winter’s War”
(April 22) – This is one of Universal’s biggest titles of 2016, so expect them to go all-in to sell it. The studio has replaced Kristen Stewart
with Emily Blunt
and Jessica Chastain
, and placed a bigger emphasis on Chris Hemsworth
‘s title character. Universal also bought the most Super Bowl ads last year — seven — and generally spares no expense for its tentpoles.
2. “Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel”
(July 29) – We haven’t seen much from the Matt Damon
reunion yet — it’s one of the only films on this list that hasn’t released a trailer — but Universal has the opportunity to steal the Super Bowl with a Bourne ad. It would be the kind of spot that inspires silence at a crowded bar, or the movie geek in your living room to look up from the nachos.
(June 10) – Universal is distributing this Legendary title, which both studios hope will launch a franchise based on the popular computer game. It’s a major summer movie that could use a boost given its big-budget and lack of marquee stars.
4. “Neighbors 2”
(May 20) – This R-rated sequel may prove to be a little too raunchy for the Super Bowl crowd, but we’d love to see a few family-friendly gags in an early spot that airs later in the evening, even if it’s after the final whistle. We can’t decide what we love more in the photo below — Rose Byrne
‘s cheerleader outfit or Seth Rogen
‘s makeshift abs.
20TH CENTURY FOX
1. “X-Men: Apocalypse”
(May 27) – Yes, there are still mutants you haven’t met yet, including the titular villain played by “Star Wars” hero Oscar Isaac
. Fox passed on buying a Super Bowl ad for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” in 2014 but something tells us you can safely expect this one come February.
2. “Independence Day: Resurgence”
(June 24) — The first trailer for the original “Independence Day debuted during the Super Bowl in 1996 and it would surprise us if Fox brought things full circle. The sequel doesn’t have Will Smith
this time around, but a Super Bowl spot would be a sign of confidence from the studio, like a “Who needs him?” — so long as Liam Hemsworth
is around to bail Jeff Goldblum
out of any physical jams.
3. “Deadpool” (Feb. 12) – Again, this R-rated, ultra-violent comic book movie may be a little too adult-oriented for the Super Bowl crowd. The film itself is seen as risky, which may give Fox pause in terms of investing another $5 million, but “Deadpool” opens the following weekend and would give the studio some major bang for its buck. The question is, has it been trailered to death at this point?
1. “Zoolander 2”
(Feb. 12) – A sequel more than a decade in the making, “”Zoolander 2” will be released just a few days after the Super Bowl, so it’d be crazy if Paramount turned down the opportunity to promote Ben Stiller
‘s star-studded sequel. The studio doesn’t want to make Mugatu angry, does it?
2. “Star Trek Beyond”
(July 22) – Paramount used the Super Bowl to promote “Star Trek Into Darkness” in 2013, but that film was released in May. The studio may feel that July is too far off to spend $5 million or more promoting this Idris Elba
-enhanced sequel, but Paramount has always been a big believer in making a marketing splash. It sure would be nice to get beamed up before halftime.
3. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”
(June 3) – Will Paramount show off its Turtle Power during the Super Bowl? The slick-looking sequel seems like more fun than the original and introduces fan favorites Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady. The studio bought an ad last year for a “Spongebob Squarepants” movie since a lot of little kids watch the Big Game, so it’s possible “Turtles 2” could fill that younger-skewing slot.
1. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (March 25) – Warner Bros. sat out the Super Bowl last year, and for good reason — they had a weak slate. However, the studio is back with a vengeance in 2016, and its crown jewel is this superhero extravaganza, which will lead directly into “Justice League.” Excitement is through the roof (an early Reddit review called it the best comic book movie since “The Dark Knight”) and the late-March release date means it beats “Captain America: Civil War” to the proverbial punch. But the studio could really get tongues wagging with a killer spot during the Big Game.
2. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
(Nov. 18) – This is Warner Bros. other big bet of 2016 — a J.K. Rowling
-penned spinoff of the Harry Potter franchise centered around magiczoologist Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne
. Fans of Hogwarts textbooks recently caught a glimpse of the next chapter in the Potterverse, but WB could offer audiences a bigger taste during the Big Game.
3. “The Legend of Tarzan”
(July 1) – This is studio’s big movie over the 4th of July weekend and it hails from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” director David Yates
. Alexander Skarsgard
hasn’t proven himself as a movie star yet but this is his big shot, and a Super Bowl spot would communicate to moviegoers that Warners has high hopes for the King of the Jungle.
4. “Central Intelligence”
(June 17) – If Kevin Hart
‘s pairing with Ice Cube
, “Ride Along,” can open to $41 million, then New Line’s action-comedy pairing Hart with Dwayne Johnson
could open to $50 million or more with a little luck. Both charismatic actors have tremendous social media followings and a Super Bowl spot would go viral in no time. “Central Intelligence” isn’t as big as the other Warner Bros. movies on this list, but a Super Bowl spot could be well worth it for the studio.
5. “Suicide Squad”
(Aug. 5) – Warner Bros. was practically forced to put the extended “Suicide Squad” trailer online this summer after a poor-quality version leaked online after Comic-Con. The studio would be working on its own timetable with a Super Bowl spot, but it’s just as possible they’ll opt to keep the focus on “Batman v Superman” in terms of comic book movies. This villainous ensemble doesn’t wreak on the DC Universe until August, so a new trailer would just be a bonus rather than an inevitability, though that title isn’t very Super Bowl-friendly.
(July 15) – Sony didn’t buy any Super Bowl ads last year but it didn’t really have the goods to warrant the spend. This year’s Big Game, however, presents a golden opportunity for the studio to promote Paul Feig
‘s “Ghostbusters,” lest it be accused of not putting its marketing muscle behind the film. Sony needs “Ghostbusters” to work as an entire Movie Universe is depending on it. Movies don’t get much more anticipated than this female-driven reboot. It’s time for the studio to lift the curtains.
2. “The Brothers Grimsby”
(March 11) – A Sacha Baron Cohen
movie still represents a Comedy Event on the release calendar, and this spy comedy boasts his biggest budget yet. Cohen’s character is a soccer hooligan, so it makes perfect sense for Sony to cut a spot based on his sports fandom, with plenty of action interspersed, of course.
1. “The Divergent Series: Allegiant”
(March 18) – Lionsgate dropped an “Insurgent” trailer last year, and while that didn’t help the sequel with critics, it helped get the job done in terms of box office. Expect the studio to spend again to promote the penultimate chapter in the YA franchise starring Shailene Woodley