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Hollywood is using Super Bowl trailer ads to lure fans back to the movies

A still from a scene with Chris Pratt in "Jurassic World Dominion"
Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment
Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World Dominion”
  • Adario Strange
By Adario Strange

Media & entertainment reporter based in New York

Published Last updated

Super Bowl LVI is expected to draw its most viewers ever, at around 117 million, and Hollywood studios are primed to pay up to get their marketing messages to them.

Back in 2020, the $5.7 million Super Bowl ad for MGM’s James Bond film No Time To Die was the priciest among all movie trailers that year. But that was a month before the World Health Organization officially declared covid-19 a pandemic, and studios had no idea that public space lockdowns would become a multi-year odyssey that inadvertently accelerated the rollout of streaming services. 

Battered from a brutal 2020 box office season, Hollywood studios largely pulled back from advertising via trailers during the 2021 Super Bowl as release dates and covid-19 protocols continued to keep theaters closed and interrupt production schedules. 

However, now that vaccine use is widespread in major US markets and case counts are trending downward again, the film industry is hopeful that movie box office revenue will get back on track in 2022. (In line with the optimistic outlook for a return to a more normal life, the price tag this year on 30-second Super Bowl commercial spots hit a record $7 million each.)

Doctor Strange, Lightyear, Moon Knight

Hollywood studios are generally very secretive about which films and TV shows will get the spotlight on Super Bowl Sunday, often hoping to make news and spark memes with surprises fans weren’t expecting. This year will be no different, but we do have a few hints as to which titles will get some exposure on the big day. 

Disney and Marvel will likely have some presence during the game given its major slate of film and TV projects rolling out this year, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May, Pixar’s Lightyear in June, and the Disney+ series Moon Knight coming in March. 

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Amazon Prime Video is expected to show off footage from its most ambitious streaming series yet, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, coming in September. Netflix’s The Adam Project, a sci-fi comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, is another likely candidate to get the Super Bowl treatment.

Universal, meanwhile, already debuted a couple of Olympic tie-ins to promote the June release of Jurassic World: Dominion, so an official trailer could show up during the game. The studio could also tease Jordan Peele’s latest horror entry, Nope, and Minions: The Rise of Gru, both coming in July. 

Tom Cruise’s NFL tie-in

Tom Cruise’s sequel Top Gun: Maverick was one of the business casualties of the pandemic, as the studio decided to avoid the box office hurdles and move its release date from 2021 to 2022. During a TV spot to promote the NFL playoffs in January, the actor appeared along with footage from his new film.

That close tie-in with the league indicates that Paramount will likely have a new trailer ready to show off on Sunday. Additionally, fans may get looks at the studio’s new Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum movie The Lost City, coming in March, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, coming in April.

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