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Hollywood's Super Bowl ads: Dictator, no Dark Knight

Date February 01, 2012

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Football fans looking for a sneak peek at "The Dark Knight Rises" or "The Amazing Spider-Man" on Sunday are in for a disappointment.

The studios behind two of next summer's most anticipated superhero movies will not be shelling out the big bucks to advertise during the Super Bowl game.

It is difficult to gauge the total number of movie ads that will air during this year's Super Bowl, but barring a massive last-minute spending spree, there will be less of a Hollywood presence than there was last year.

Yes, "The Avengers" will assemble in an ad slated to air at this year's Super Bowl. And Disney will be hawking its mega-budget sci-fi epic "John Carter," including a promotional tie-in that will give viewers a chance to win a trip for two to 2013's Super Bowl in New Orleans.

During 2011's pigskin extravaganza, there were a record 14 trailers that aired, but the number of films advertised this time will likely be in the single digits. That should put the number of trailers roughly in line with the six spots that ran in 2010 and the nine trailers that aired in 2009.

Not that Hollywood is sitting out the Giants and Patriots rematch entirely.

Paramount will be on hand with spots for next summer's Sacha Baron Cohen comedy "The Dictator" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation."

Universal has bought time, but whether the studio will use the space to trumpet next summer's "Battleship" or the family film "The Lorax" is still a closely guarded secret.

Relativity is using the big game to promote its Navy SEALs action thriller "Act of Valor" with a 30-second commercial during the fourth quarter of the game. Two more spots will hit during the pre-game analysis and a final spot will run during the post-game show.

Airing a commercial is substantially more expensive this year. Studios hoping to get their films in during the game will have to pay between $3.5 million and $4 million compared to an average of $3.1 million last year, according to a report in Media Daily News.

Indeed, some studio executives privately complained to TheWrap that the exposure was not worth the investment. More attention is paid to the price tag of the ad, they said, and not enough is given to the film itself.

That may be the case, but by not advertising, studios are turning their backs on a potential audience of more than 100 million viewers.

In the age of TIVO and Hulu, having that kind of captive audience is still worth the big money it takes to buy time, Brad Adgate, a media research analyst with Horizon Media, told TheWrap.

"There's nothing like the Super Bowl," Adgate said. "There's nothing that you can remotely compare it to. Advertising on that kind of platform builds awareness for a film, it placates those Hollywood egos, and it can make a movie bigger in the eyes of consumers. It makes it seem like even more of a blue chip movie."

Despite the appeal, Warner Bros. and Fox are sitting out the event and passing up the opportunity to promote heavily anticipated films such as "Wraith of the Titans" and "Prometheus."

Although Sony won't air any advertisements during the actual game, it will run commercials for "21 Jump Street" and "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" during the pre-game show.

Lionsgate will also have a pre-game presence, airing a trailer for its tween franchise hopeful "The Hunger Games" before kick-off.

(Editing by Chris Michaud)

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