Box Office's Big Game Spots

Filed under: Reviews

It's that time of the year again sports fans movie fans: Super Teaser Sunday. That's right film junkies, the one day of the year when studios pay upwards of 4 million dollars to air a teaser trailer on network television... and then give it away for free on YouTube the following commercial break. There is a little sporting event known as the Super Bowl sandwiched in between these often amazing sneak peaks of cinema. But I won't bore you with the pig skin scores. I'm all about the trailers.

Okay, maybe a little bit of back story.

It has become a time-honored tradition each year during the NFL's big championship Sunday for companies to buy up television real estate in the form of commercial advertising. Facing arguably the biggest annual television audience draw in terms of viewer numbers year after year, companies pay top dollar to capitalize on those extra sets of eyeballs and advertise their products. These 30 second spots or commercials have long been an advertiser's arena of one-up-man-ship, trying to top each other and/or have the most memorable advertisement. In recent years, movie studios have been joining this corporate game, using the Super Bowl's audience to plug their upcoming summer blockbusters and generate early buzz for some of their biggest titles and/or franchises.

Like the other commercials that air on Super Bowl Sunday, there are good ads and bad ads. So I decided on ranking the teaser trailers from this year in order of which ones made the best impression. Sit back, scroll down, and prepare to be teased.

7. Snitch

Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Rundown, Fast Five), Jon Bernthal (ACM's The Walking Dead), Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, Dead Man Walk... why am I listing her films? ITS SUSAN SARADON)

Director: Ric Roman Waugh (Felon)

Release Date: February 22, 2013

This was a weird film to see being advertised on the large stage of this Super Sunday, because of the timing of its release being very soon compared to the other 6 films that had teasers during the game. This teaser has nothing extra in it footage-wise or story-wise comparing it to the full length trailer that was released months ago, either. It just seemed like a condensed version at best, and definitely not worthy of the large million-or-more dollar price tag to warrant a TV spot.

6. World War Z

Starring: Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Ocean's Eleven), Mireille Enos (AMC's The Killing, Gangster Squad)

Director: Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Stranger Than Fiction)

Release Date: June 21, 2013

Here is another teaser that doesn't give audiences what they haven't already seen. Like Snitch, this World War Z 30 second spot is a shorten version of the full length trailer from a while back. The only big difference is the release date is deep in the summer calendar, as opposed to a couple weeks away. If the big Z in the title wasn't a good enough hint, some viewers might not have known this is a zombie movie by just watching this teaser.

World War Z is a zombie pandemic film on an apocalyptic scale, based on the novel of the same name. To the average moviegoer, just the words 'zombie pandemic' & 'apocalyptic' should sell the male demographic, and adding in Brad Pitt as the lead should take care of the female demographic. However, this is a film that has been pushed back over half a year, had numerous rewrites to the script, and multiple reshoots that pushed it way over budget -- so don't let this teaser fool you just yet.

5. Oz the Great and Powerful

Starring: James Franco (Spider-Man, 127 Hours), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine, Dawson's Creek), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, The Mummy)

Director: Sam Raimi (Spider-Man trilogy, Evil Dead)

Release Date: March 8, 2013

Pre-Dorothy and Toto, there was the story of Oz the Great and Powerful. Coming out in about a month, this teaser actually does give some new visuals to entice audiences to go back to Oz over 70 years later. Although Raimi's film here isn't directly connected to the classic Judy Garland film, The Wizard of Oz (1939), it still looks like a tough sell in my opinion.

Granted, some of the effects look amazing, and the cast is packed with talent. But Raimi has lost a lot of credibility after that whole Spider-Man 3 fiasco. I'm not sure if Oz here can make up for an emo Peter Parker.

4. Star Trek Into Darkness

Starring: Chris Pine (Unstoppable, This Means War), Zachary Quinto (Heroes, American Horror Story), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, War Horse)

Director: J.J. Abrams (Mission Impossible 3, Super 8)

Release Date: May 17, 2013

Okay, so maybe the 9 minute sneak peak just before The Hobbit in IMAX got your green Trekkie blood pumping a little bit more than those 33 seconds, but that was still pretty damn cool. Not too much extra footage shown here, but the new footage of this film's new villain (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) that they did show made this teaser for me. The back and forth between Cumberbatch and Chris Pine looks intense to say the least. The only drawback to the shortened trailer is that the rest of the returning Star Trek cast don't get any limelight during Super Sunday.

With J.J. back behind the camera, Pine in the Captain's chair, Quinto beside him, and the rest of the 2009 Enterprise crew (and more) all returning, this is an easy sell for moviegoers this summer.

3. The Lone Ranger

Starring: Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands), Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, Batman Begins)

Director: Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3, Rango)

Release Date: July 3, 2013

I have to admit, this was a surprisingly good teaser. I wasn't sold on The Lone Ranger after the original trailer. It was way too much wacky, over the top, yet still generic Depp for my liking. So it was refreshing to see Disney move away from the previous comedic light and make the film appear more serious; for the teaser at least. Add in the voice over by the amazing Tom Wilkinson throughout and I'm now on board for this one.

Much like Oz the Great and Powerful, I do think it still is a bit of a stretch to resurrect an 80-year-old radio and TV serial for today's modern audience. Both films have their work cut out for them but I think The Lone Ranger here has the better shot at succeeding in the box office after seeing this new teaser. Depp is still a massive draw on the bi screen, and he and Verbinski have had a ton of success together in the past. This one could go either way, but looks to be leaning in a good direction.

2. Fast & Furious 6

Starring: Vin Diesel (The Fast and The Furious, The Chronicles of Riddick), Paul Walker (The Fast and Furious, Into the Blue), Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (The Rundown, Fast Five)

Director: Justin Lin (The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast Five)

Release Date: May 24, 2013

This will be the sixth installment in the guns and gears franchise that is Fast & Furious and damn I'm pumped for this one. Previously these films had been part of my guilty pleasures of cinema but the ridiculous stunts, the bad titles and the cheesiness of those one-liners grew on me enough not to hide it anymore. My name is Andrew Burns and I am a fan of the Fast and Furious films*.

*= except 2 Fast 2 Furious. That one actually did suck.

What you need to know here is Justin Lin returns for his fourth consecutive time as director in the franchise and even more of the franchise's cast than the last film (Fast Five) comes back for this one as well. Joining the crew from the previous films are Luke Evans as Fast 6's villain, former MMA champ Gina Carano as a DSS agent, and playing off the end credits secret scene from Fast Five, Michelle Rodriguez as her character Letty (somehow brought back from the dead). No word if Eva Mendes will also return since she was in that secret scene as well, but if she doesn't, who cares? Like I said, 2 Fast 2 Furious sucked and that was her one flick in the franchise.

Fast Five turned out to be a monster hit at the box office in 2011, doing leaps and bounds better than initial estimates. Sure, having The Rock added to that cast helped out, but Fast Five turned out to be a solid popcorn action flick throughout. No more guilty pleasures here. Bring on the guns, the gears, and the one-liners one more time please.

1. Iron Man 3

Starring: Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes), Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Ocean's Eleven), Ben Kingsley (Gandi, Hugo)

Director: Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)

Release Date: May 3, 2013

Yes, I put Iron Man 3's new teaser at the number 1 spot. Call me bias if you want, it's my damn list**.

**DISCLAIMER: Mr. Burns is a huge Iron Man geek and will not apologize for it.

This version (the video above) might not have been shown in its entirely during the Super Bowl. Not in Canada, at least (I might be wrong here). Nevertheless, the Robert Downey Jr. 'extended look' intro absolutely made that teaser. I'm such a big RDJr fan, I actually would have been fine with the teaser if that was all that was shown. Luckily, there was much more than that humorous CSI Miami-esque intro, and some new Iron Man 3 images are shown.

Similar to the Star Trek Into Darkness teaser, there is a good chunk of previously seen footage from the full length trailer here. However, more of Ben Kingsley's character, The Mandarin (aka Iron Man's arch-villain), is shown -- though still not enough to see which way exactly Marvel Studios and director Shane Black have decided to adapt the mystical ten-ringed sorcerer character from the comics. The last remaining section of the teaser shows an attacked Air Force One plane plummeting to the ground and an incredible mid-air 13-person rescue attempt from an already battle damaged Tony in his Iron Man armour. Mark VIII if my math is right, and it always is. That was some Iron Man 1 humour -- told you I was a geek.

The original 2008 Iron Man film, which started this modern Marvel Studio universe, debuted its first trailer during the Super Bowl five years ago. Whether or not this is RDJr's last solo Iron Man film in this franchise, it seems oddly fitting Iron Man 3 made another Super Bowl appearance. After the uncanny (same brand, different franchise, give me a break okay) success of The Avengers last summer, many fans are curious to see the transition into what Marvel Studios is calling their 'Phase Two' portion of their film library. Iron Man 3 will be that first film in this continuation wave of films leading up a second Avengers film, and judging by this teaser they look like they are off to a 'marvellous' start.

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Tags: Super Bowl, Snitch, World War Z, Oz the Great and Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Lone Ranger, Fast & Furious 6, Iron Man 3

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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