Super Bowl 2012: Best Movie Trailers

6 Feb

By Open Book

There were a number of movie trailers to debut during Super Bowl Sunday.  The price tag for advertising during the Super Bowl is quite expensive despite lack luster results. We often hear about the production cost of films, yet, marketing a film can be just as costly. In this article we will review the movie trailers that debut during Super Bowl Sunday and look at the cost for running those ads.

According to an article Eight Brands That Wasted Money on the Super Bowl  by Charles B. Stockdale list the movie studios that have wasted the most money.  This article will not be addressed in its entirety, yet listen to the disparity he illustrates.

  • Warner Bros. has spent an enormous amount of money over the years advertising major motion pictures during the Super Bowl. Some of these movies, such as The Matrix Reloaded, Troy, and Batman Begins, ended up becoming highly successful blockbusters. In fact, showing movie trailers during the Super Bowl is a growing trend. Last year, a record 14 trailers were shown. Warner Bros. studio market share has increased from 11.7% to 17.9% between 2002 and 2011. However, many of the movies the company has advertised during the Super Bowl were complete flops.”[1]

The average price for a 30 second spot during this year’s Super Bowl cost 3.5 million. [2]  Add to that P&A (prints and advertisement) within the promotional budget can be as high as the production budget.  For a film that cost 35 to 75 million the promotional budget can be half the production budget. In other words a 60 million film can cost an additional 30 million to promote. According to Contrino in their article, How Much Money Does a Film Need to Make To Be Profitable? they claim.

  • “P&A budget will most likely be at least half the production budget. And the numbers only go up with bigger films. “If the studio spends a lot on the budget, they’re going to want to protect that investment by advertising it heavily,

So what films showed a trailer during Super Bowl Sunday? To see the trailers click here.[3]

  • The Avengers (2 minute trailer)
  • Hunger Games
  • GI Joe Retaliation
  • Battleship
  • The Dictator
  • John Carter
  • Ghost Rider
  • 21 Jumpstreet

Of the films listed here. Which one do you think had the best movie trailer?

Please join us for a discussion: Tuesday 2/7/2012 @7pE/12UTC

53 Responses to “Super Bowl 2012: Best Movie Trailers”

  1. Open Book February 7, 2012 at 12:24 AM #

    We often discuss the cost of making a film. But rarely do we discuss what goes into promoting them. I thought given the Super Bowl had 14 movie trailers that debut on Sunday. The Avengers with a (2 minute) spot. @ 3.5 mill for 30 seconds. So it cost them nearly 14 million dollars to run a 2 minute ad. For one day that’s quite a big price tag. It’s only February and The Avengers comes out in May. They still have quite a bit of ads to run between now and May. Granted not all will cost 14 million.

    However, what about some of the other films like 21 Jumpstreet or GI Joe? Do u think they wasted money for a film that don’t have the same fanbase as The Avengers?

    • comic relief February 7, 2012 at 8:01 AM #

      After a production budget of x million, at 3.5 mil. in promotional costs, a director is in the hole long before the film has even been released.

  2. Open Book February 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM #


    LOL!! ITA……Also, I don’t know if u read the article that stated Harry Potter actually lost money after the films big opening weekend. They did not include the back pay from the promotional budget. I think the more a film cost the more pressure is put on the artist to make back triple what it cost to make the film. Marketing rarely gets called out for their flub ups!

    Case in point wasteful spending on a 30 second Super Bowl ad on a film that won’t make back their budget because they don’t have the fanbase to support it. Especially, when it’s been proven these SB ads fail to boost numbers at the box office. Also, teens are using social media more than watching TV. Wouldn’t 3.5 million be better spent on ads on social media sites?

  3. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 12:46 PM #


    Yes, I read your article and yes I understood expenses derived from a poorly executed and managed promotional budget plagued Harry Potter. But here’s my question:

    Your article mentions “Matrix Reloaded.” The original movie written by a barely known African American female science fiction author surely did not have the fan base movies like the Avengers enter theaters with. Regardless of wanting the 18-35 audiences that the Avengers expect isn’t the Super Bowl exactly where an orphan movie, with no pre-informed audience, needs to be promoted?

    • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:10 PM #

      I would agree with u CR if the price was not so high. I think a lot of ads shown during SB is because of peer pressure. The big boys are advertising we need to do the same. No one bothers to think if it’s right for them… Perhaps after the film comes out grow some legs then run ads. Anyway, Matrix success was due to word of mouth after it came out in theaters. Before social media!!

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:39 PM #

        So you are saying this over spending is just bad habit? If so, I can imagine this must predict eventual promotions and demotions later in the year.

        • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM #

          Yep! The price for running and ad during the SB continues to go up despite companies not showing a boost from the investment. Meaning they are impulsively spending to keep up with the Joneses. It’s utterly ridiculous.

          • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM #

            CR- They are creating the big price tag by the big demand. It’s stupid.

  4. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM #


    Assuming that adults don’t receive most of their advertising from the Internet how would you evaluate this situation? Speaking of big budget period movies like Troy, having no fan base and probably dependent on adults, wouldn’t a Super bowl ad be exactly what that movie needed also?

    • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM #

      In all honesty I think it comes down to the story and familiarity that people respond too. Meaning u have a classic story like Troy then u begin to look at the genre, director, cast etc…That’s what people look at I think a movie trailer is the icing not the cake. So why spend so much money on the icing and not in making a really good cake?

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:07 PM #


        Wow that was should a balanced, generous answer, (and hopeful too). Thank you.

        I think you deserve your own award.

  5. littlebells February 7, 2012 at 3:33 PM #

    The only one I cared about was The Avengers (squeed with joy) and fwd-ed the rest because I saw the trailers in theaters and thought THEY LOOKED STUPID. Ok. Not.THG, but the rest…stooooooop-pid.

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 6:44 PM #

      Surely, many agree with you. I only believe the Avengers can win with this strategy.

      …proving OB’s premise.

    • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:15 PM #


      The Avengers was the only trailer as far as I’m concerned.

      • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM #

        Oh my gosh, I think I got too excited when I saw it. hahahahahahaha!!!! 🙂

        • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM #

          hahahaha. Too funny!

  6. Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

    Hi Everyone

    • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:04 PM #


      I’m amazed at how much studios are willing to pay for a Super Bowl commercial. And I agree,.none of them are that great to promote. I dont think airing them during the SB is going to help.

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:11 PM #

        Hi OB and LB.

        • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

          Hi CR!!

          How are u?

          • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:24 PM #

            Very good thank you.

      • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:14 PM #

        LOL!! So true…

        What bothers me is that often u don’t hear how the marketing departments failures or how much they spent? Instead the failure of a film is put on the artist. That to me is not right.

        • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM #

          I’m sorry this was a response to LB comment.

        • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:22 PM #

          Though I do expect to hear it, I think I can imagine the story announced on Entertainment tonight;

          “Despite expectations the marketing department led by Gordon Henry and Karen Greenblatt are responsible for the botched marketing plan that guaranteed that “James Bond” did not sale as estimated.”

          • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:31 PM #

            LOL! Is this real? Hell must have frozen over.

  7. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM #


    What goes in Hollywood, during this season?

    It’s odd; normally concerned about quality this time of year the Super bowl is usually used to sell action, adventure, and comedy? Does Hollywood assume that when America is wearing its Football helmet’s it forgets about the Oscars (and all of the other award shows preceding it)?

    • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:34 PM #

      Well they probably think the people who watch SB don’t watch the Oscars. Generalizing people helps bean counters sleep at night. After all the promotional budget is never seen by the public. Who cares if they flub up royally.

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM #


    • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

      Those are great questions! I wonder that too. Why not show trailers for The Artist and any other Oscar Best Picture nom that is in theaters or will be in theaters again? Or films that have best actress/actor nominations???

      As for the Super Bowl there are lots of us who don’t follow football but watch the show for commercials and the half time show…dumb bean counters…

      • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:44 PM #


        If you haven’t seen it yet, I think you’ll love “the Artist.”

        • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM #

          I am DEFINITELY planning on it, CR. Ok, I realize this is the wrong post for this comment, but I just have to say it: I hate having limited released Oscar nominated films because I can’t get excited when watching the Oscars. It’s just not fun. Goes for best actor/actress nominations too. I love most of those nominated but I want to see their performance so I can say, “oooooh man! Tough call on who is gonna win!”

          • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:56 PM #

            I applaud u LB!! That’s what makes watching the Oscars so great. U have seen the competitors work. Then u tune in to see who scored what.

            • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 8:01 PM #

              When did the Oscars stop being fun???….boo, hiss, but I will still watch.

              • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:07 PM #

                Oh! I missed u LB…. Love it!!

      • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 7:45 PM #

        LB- Yes, people who have an interest in Culture often watch a lot of diverse stuff. However given people who are critical thinkers are believed to be in the minority, Also, action films bring in the teens.

        • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM #

          Booooooo!!!! Cultured Critical thinkers rule!!!! 🙂

          • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM #


  8. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM #


    Did you think this was strange?

    Given the half-time show, does anyone think it was odd the Super Bowl wasn’t used to sell Madonna’s new film?

    • littlebells February 7, 2012 at 7:55 PM #

      Perhaps because it wouldn’t be fair to the other singers who couldn’t promote their film in the same capacity?????

      • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM #


        Also, if I may add. I think Madonna can go quite overboard in promoting herself. I mean she will promote herself at a funeral. Goodness! Less is more in her case. She came up during scandal media. When over saturation did not label someone as a media whore but smart. LOL!!

        • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM #

          Wow, I assumed people did not think much of the film. But you both supplied so much more.

          • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:17 PM #

            Actually, I saw the trailer for it today. The story/premise looks interesting and the costumes look great. I will see it for those reasons first.

            • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:24 PM #

              Honestly, I thought it looked better and more serious than I expected.

              • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM #

                Don’t get me wrong. I like Madonna she is very innovative and constantly pushing the envelope as an artist. I just don’t think she needs to over promote herself. People can see she’s amazing from her work. Does that make sense?

                • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM #

                  I did not mean this question as a dig at Madonna either.

  9. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM #


    Do you think it’s a good idea to sell politics, using Hollywood celebrities during the Super Bowl? You may have heard this commercial is largely attributed to President Obama.

    • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:27 PM #

      It does not bother me. I mean if peoples votes are going to be persuaded by Hollywood then we have bigger problems. After all, we forget actors and celebrities are citizens too. It’s just most of us can’t afford to spend 3.5 million for an ad. LOL!!

  10. Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM #

    CR & LB-

    If u saw how much bean counters spent on promoting a film who would hold accountable if a film failed to make back it’s production budget?

    • Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:35 PM #


      I may be biased but I would tend to blame the bean counters, after all the quality of the film will be reviewed by critics and audiences at the box office. But it’s the business departments that are expected to:

      • Package the film in terms of promotion budgets,
      • Evaluate the best delivery times,
      • Layout schedules in terms of the studio’s other offerings
      • Distinguish the best delivery methodology, venues, and media

      So often business departments attempt to get involved with content development, and I do not think that is their job.

      • Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

        CR U Said: “So often business departments attempt to get involved with content development, and I do not think that is their job.”


        ITA!! Why is that?

  11. Open Book February 7, 2012 at 8:44 PM #


    This is a topic I hope to revisit in the future.

    Thank u so much for a great discussion tonight. I will check back later if u have anymore Q’s or comments.

  12. Comic Relief February 7, 2012 at 8:46 PM #

    Great article OB. Those viewers who do not reside in the US, if you are interested footage of all of the events can be found on the web.
    Congrats Giants!!!!

    Bye everyone.

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