By Craig Offman
NEW YORK (Variety) – With nearly half the country expected to huddle in front of their television sets for Super Bowl XXXVII on Sunday, Hollywood isn’t hesitating to take advantage of the viewership and give potential ticket buyers a first look at this year’s major tentpoles.
In a major coup that will help kick off not only the game but the campaign for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” Arnold Schwarzenegger will introduce the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders with a taped segment, followed by a premiere of the trailer for the Jonathan Mostow-directed actioner, which Warner Bros. will distribute this July.
Schwarzenegger will also be at the game and have a strong on-air presence during the broadcast.
Other highly anticipated bows also planned include:
= A new 60-second teaser for Warners’ sequels “The Matrix: Reloaded” and “The Matrix: Revolutions,” revealing new shots of the pictures’ major action sequences. After the Super Bowl, Warners will stop promoting the sequels together and instead focus on pushing each picture individually. Warners also used the 1999 Super Bowl to push the first “Matrix.”
= Universal’s first unveiling of “The Hulk” with a 30-second spot that showcases the film’s angry green meanie rampaging through the streets of San Francisco. Other than revealing only part of what the movie’s computer-generated Hulk will look like in a teaser poster, Universal has kept any image of the Hulk tightly under wraps. The trailer will be the first time audiences, and especially critical fans, will see the Hulk in action.
The studio will also use the broadcast to promote its upcoming Jim Carrey laffer “Bruce Almighty.” No ad for the male-driven “The Fast and the Furious 2” will be shown, however.
= A new 30-second trailer for Fox’s comic book adaptation “Daredevil,” which leaps into theaters only weeks later in February. Due to the picture’s already high awareness factor, the spot could be swapped at the last minute for a new trailer for “X-Men 2.”
= A spot for Disney’s spy thriller “The Recruit,” starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, which bows five days later. The studio is counting on the broadcast to be the perfect venue to reach out to the picture’s strongly male demo
n And a new 30-second promo for Columbia Pictures’ sequel “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.”
The studio has also purchased two other 30-second spots to push potentially “Bad Boys II” and the Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson laffer “Anger Management.” By late Thursday, the studio still hadn’t officially made its final decision on the two other spots, giving consideration to its actioner “SWAT” and “Tears of the Sun.”
THREE STUDIOS ON BENCH
New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and MGM will not be shelling out the big bucks this year, opting to sit on the sidelines, instead.
At an average $2.1 million for a 30-second commercial, ABC’s broadcast of the game is commanding 15%-20% more than in the subdued, post-9/11 atmosphere of 2002. It also tops the records set in 2000. The network sold 61 spots.
But with Hollywood betting big $100 million or higher budgets on its summer fare, grabbing the attention of what’s expected to be 130 million people at one time is well worth the money. The Super Bowl has become a spot where consumers will watch the commercials with more scrutiny than any other place, advertising executives say.
“Nerves have healed slightly and sentiments are returning to a degree of normalcy,” said BBDO Worldwide, New York president-CEO Bill Katz, whose ad firm has secured the most spots this year. “Creativity will be pushed to the forefront,” he predicted. “There’ll be less second-guessing.”
Naturally, the game will also feature the usual all-American slate of ads for beer, cars, clothes, dot-coms, credit cards and electronics, with some celebs also stepping up as pitchmen for products.
Ozzy Osbourne will tubthump for Pepsi, Celine Dion will belt out the tunes for DaimlerChrysler, Jackie Chan and Michael Jordan team up for Hanes T-shirts, and in a wry twist, Willie Nelson will flack for tax outfit H&R Block. Meanwhile, NBA star Yao Ming becomes the subject of hip-hop puns in a Visa ad created by BBDO.