The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year, with over 167 million people watching in America alone in 2016. But that doesn’t mean non-sport fans should just tune out, since every year Hollywood studios take advantage of the massive, live audience (a rarer and rarer occurrence nowadays) to unveil new trailers or extended TV spots for some of their biggest upcoming movies.
With Super Bowl 51 coming up this weekend, the question on everyone’s lips is which films we’ll be getting new teasers for. There area lot of exciting releases on the way in 2017, so hopes are high about what we’ll get a look at. Of course, the specifics of which films exactly will play isn’t known until the event itself, but based on rumors, trends and trailer ratings we can get a good idea of what’ll be shown.
Advertising at the Super Bowl is expensive - $5 million per thirty seconds at the peak of the game expensive. This means that footage tends to skew to the shorter side (expect a lot of 30 second TV spots), but also that studios limit the number of films on show since it's only really feasible to have a couple of slots apiece (unless they're advertising in the pre-show game). The films that get chosen depend on a variety of factors, but it’s not simply the most overall anticipated. The Super Bowl plays to a much bigger audience than even a cinema release, so studios want to pick films with mass appeal or with release dates in the coming months to maximize hype.
First things first, let’s address the Bantha in the room: there’s unlikely going to be anything Star Wars-related. Neither The Force Awakens or Rogue One debuted any footage at last year's show, and as the first look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be an event unto itself, Lucasfilm will hardly need the boost. With that clarification out of the way, let’s look at what we know.
Deadline reported last week about how much airtime has been bought by the various studios, which gives a good idea of which films will get pushed.
Disney is said to be bringing two films. The safest bet would be Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - Disney have recently classified an 80-second spot for the film, perfect Super Bowl length - coupled with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It was expected for Beauty and the Beast to have a presence; it’s out in a month and a half, so would gain a tangible boost from an appearance (a trick Disney played with The Jungle Book last year). However, it looks like Disney are circumventing the big game, as a 90-second teaser for Beauty and the Beast classified last week has been confirmed as a repeat and a new trailer will instead debut sooner. There’s also an outside shot of Cars 3, but that film’s further away and might not have the same impact of the other three.
Fox is confirmed to be leading with A Cure for Wellness, a creepy thriller from Pirates director Gore Verbinski that opens a couple of weeks after the match. There’s scope for another film, and the studio has a very interesting selection to choose from: Logan, Alien: Covenant, War for the Planet of the Apes and Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle. The latter two are too far off, so it’ll be one of the others – probably Logan, given its proximity to release and how much is riding on it. Last year Fox offered up some of the best adverts at the Super Bowl, with corny-but-effectively edited teases that referenced the spirit of the event. None of the films here lend themselves to that treatment in the same way, but it’ll be interesting to see what they offer.
Paramount is definitely airing at least one trailer, which is down to Baywatch and Transformers: The Last Knight. Both are perfect Super Bowl fodder – populist and high on spectacle – but given the recent marketing push, the former, Jump Street-esque reboot seems more likely. Of course, they could easily feature both – it’d be money well spent. They’re also distributing Ghost in the Shell, which is yet to get its long-rumored final trailer. Could they try and go beyond the core audience and push the nearing remake at the Super Bowl? If no trailer has arrived by the end of the week, that seems possible. UPDATE: It's been confirmed Paramount have bought ad time for Transformers and Ghost in the Shell.
Universal is doing at least one advert in the game itself. That’s prime real estate, so they’ll surely lead with The Fate of the Furious. There’s a chance they’ll go with The Mummy, Despicable Me 3 or the impending The Great Wall but for them to ignore their biggest franchise would be very strange (especially as it’s out the soonest). With four big names on their slate, though, if they have two slots then it could be any combination of these. UPDATE: Deadline reports that Universal's trailer will be for The Fate of the Furuious.
Sony won't be airing any spots during the game itself, but will have time in the pre-show. This is cheaper, so potentially offers more time and could point to a full trailer, possibly a debut of The Dark Tower – the film is guaranteed to play to Stephen King aficionados, so getting it out to the wider public is a good idea. They’d be really missing a trick not having Spider-Man: Homecoming in there though. UPDATE: Deadline: have revealed that Sony are going to be releasing a two spots for sci-fi horror Life, due in theaters in late May, at the beginning and end of the game.
Finally, Warner Bros. is sitting the whole thing out, as they did last year. This means no adverts for King Arthur, Dunkirk or either of their DC flicks. The Turkish Airlines adverts for Batman v Superman could be a sign of them appearing in another form, but there have been no such tie-in announcements of this type yet. This would also seem to rule out Kong: Skull Island, which Warners is co-producing with Legendary.
Those are the big six studios accounted for, but it’s not known if any of the others have bought time. Lionsgate has Power Rangers (due in late March) impending and Summit Entertainment John Wick: Chapter 2 (out the week after the game), both of which could do with a push. John Wick in particular seems like a fair shout given that Summit likewise highlighted Gods of Egypt last year. Orion and Blumhouse also have The Belko Experiment, which just classified a new, 85-second trailer and thus could fit in the pre-game.
That’s all the official information we have at the time of writing, but this article will be updated throughout the week as Super Bowl 51 draws nearer to keep you in the loop of which trailers we’ll be getting next Sunday. For reference, here's a full list of the films and their probability of appearing.
A Cure for Wellness (Fox)
Life (Sony) [Bookends]
The Fate of the Furious (Universal)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney)
The Belko Experiment (Orion/Blumhouse)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Disney)
Alien: Covenant (Fox)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony) [Pre-game]
The Dark Tower (Sony) [Pre-game]
John Wick: Chapter 2 (Summit)
Power Rangers (Lionsgate)
Beauty and the Beast (Disney)
Cars 3 (Disney)
War for the Planet of the Apes (Fox)
Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle (Fox)
Ghost in the Shell (Paramount)
The Mummy (Universal)
Despicable Me 3 (Universal)
The Great Wall (Universal)
Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros./Legendary)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros.)
Dunkirk (Warner Bros.)
Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.)
Justice League (Warner Bros.)