Friday, January 30, 2009

Big-studio films go for some Super exposure

By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY

This Sunday, it won't just be the Pittsburgh Steelers playing against the Arizona Cardinals.

Competing for attention also will be the Transformers against an old man tying balloons to his house, G.I. Joe battling biblical buffoons, and Angels & Demons vs. Monsters vs. Aliens.

As everyone knows, the Super Bowl is one of the priciest ad-buys on television, and only the priciest, most popular movies can afford it. Last year, the telecast drew an audience of about 97 million. NBC says a 30-second spot costs about $3 million.

An ad for the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, opening June 26, is among the most highly anticipated, and the Paramount film is one of several from the studio staking a claim during the game — including clips from the Star Trek reboot (May 8) and the revival of another 1980s kid favorite, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Aug. 7).

"It's hard to find an audience and have 100 million people guaranteed to you. All of us are dying to get to that venue," says Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of Transformers and G.I. Joe. "For these big event movies, you want to be associated with another big event."

The DreamWorks Animation comedy Monsters vs. Aliens is buying a full 90 seconds of ad time, and the promo for the 3-D movie, opening March 27, will stand out (literally and figuratively) with paper-and-plastic glasses that are being handed out at grocery stores.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of DreamWorks Animation and Hollywood's chief 3-D proselytizer, says the film will use clear glasses in theater, but the disposable colored-plastic ones for the ad are also an update on the old technology, designed to immerse the viewer in the dizzying sci-fi world. He jokes that for grown-ups, "what will make it even better is having two beers before it comes on."

Disney will be showing off the Pixar film Up (May 29), about an old man who attaches helium balloons to his house and floats away on an adventure, and the live-action family comedy Race to Witch Mountain (March 13), a remake of the 1975 original starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a cabbie helping two alien kids get home.

Sony Pictures will present footage of Angels & Demons (out May 15), the Tom Hanks prequel to The Da Vinci Code, as well as Year One (June 19), a comedy starring Michael Cera and Jack Black as a pair of outcasts in early biblical times. "A lot of advertisers are trying to create laughs in their spots," says Sony vice chairman Jeff Blake. "So this wasn't an obvious choice, but it sure is funny."

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