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How Many Super Bowl Spots Are Hollywood Studios & Streamers Running This Year? Not That Many

EXCLUSIVE: As exhibition and the domestic box office remain in purgatory during the pandemic, with several tentpole movies delayed to later in the year, you would think that the streamers would rise to the occasion and backfill the major studios with pushing their wares during the Super Bowl, right?

Not exactly.

We hear that HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV and Netflix are expected to sit on the sidelines during this weekend’s Super Bowl LV, the latter having made a big splash in 2018 with their surprise debut post game premiere of Paramount’s The Cloverfield Paradox. While the major studios pushed nine movie spots during last year’s Super Bowl (including pre-and-post game time, and not including crossover ads like Jeep’s Groundhog Day) that accumulated 171.7M views online in the 24 hours post game, this year the number of series or movies pushed is looking to be around five to six spots. The estimated cost for a 30-second spot this year is $5.5M, down slightly from 2020’s $5.6M.

Fun fact: Apple hasn’t aired a trailer during the Super Bowl for 37 years, the last being their classic Ridley Scott-directed “1984” spot for the Macintosh computer.

Booking Super Bowl spots isn’t part of every studio’s movie or TV campaign strategy, however, those that have had a presence in the past typically get a big bang, i.e. Universal made an event out of their F9 trailer last year with a pre-Big Game Friday concert featuring the pic’s stars Cardi B, Ludacris, Ozuna, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth racking up a massive 439.3 million global views across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for the trailer. Little did anyone know at the time that Covid would delay the movie’s theatrical release, originally set for May 22, 2020, to May 28, 2021. Nonetheless, it’s that type of eyeball grab –and last year’s Super Bowl LIV drew 113.4M viewers– that some studios invest in. Typically, Warner Bros and Sony sit out. Disney (and before the merger 20th Century Fox), Universal and Paramount take advantage of the NFL opportunity.

Disney will have two to four trailers, on par with previous Super Bowls. The studio always likes to keep their Super Bowl blast close to the vest, but it’s quite conceivable we’ll see their Marvel fare again, specifically Disney+ trailers for Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Solider, and possibly their May 7 summer release Black Widow (which also aired a spot last year during Super Bowl) or their March 5 theatrical and Disney+ premium debut of animated pic Raya and the Last Dragon. While Raya seems on track to meet its release date, Covid or not, Black Widow may get delayed. I hear there won’t be any surprises during Super Bowl about Black Widow jettisoning to Disney+. In 24 hour post game online viewership last year per RelishMix, Black Widow was second at 18.7M views behind F9‘s 110.9M. Mulan, Disney’s second trailer, earned 12.4M views third place among movie trailers.

Hulu, I hear, will not have an ad this year, though there will be a Disney bundle ad.

Universal will air only one trailer, I understand, and it will be for their summer M. Night Shyamalan thriller Old which is set for release on July 23. The two-time Oscar nominated filmmaker is already teasing it on his Twitter account that a spot will drop in the next five days.

Amazon will run a trailer for their Paramount acquisition of the Eddie Murphy-Arsenio Hall sequel Coming 2 America this year. Unlike last year when big Paramount pushed their theatrical anticipated 2020 tentpoles Sponge on the Run, Quiet Place 2, and Top Gun: Maverick, the Melrose lot won’t be pushing any titles with the theatrical release calendar in flux.

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