It's easy being green on Super Bowl Sunday

By Marla Matzer Rose

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) — America will get its first good look at the new-model Incredible Hulk in all of his green glory on Super Bowl Sunday. Universal is one of five major studios that have shelled out $2 million-plus each to tout upcoming feature releases during Sunday’s big game, traditionally the highest-rated TV telecast of the year.

Universal will have one of the most anticipated 30-second spots with its ad for “The Hulk.” Other movies getting a Super Bowl-sized marketing push during the ABC broadcast include the Walt Disney Co.’s “The Recruit” and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Matrix” franchise and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

“This is a continuation of our long-standing strategy to introduce ‘The Hulk,’ which started with a teaser trailer on ‘Spider-Man’ last year,” Universal marketing president Adam Fogelson said. “We’ve asked our audience to be patient, but we’ve never had a strategy to hide ‘The Hulk.’ Now, you’ll absolutely see more of the character than you have before.”

As is the case with “Hulk,” most studios will look to pique interest for films that are months away from release. Clever Super Bowl ads have been credited with helping propel summer movies like 1996’s “Independence Day” to blockbuster status.

For its one Super Bowl spot, by contrast, Disney has chosen to advertise the Jan. 31 release “The Recruit.” The Spyglass-produced CIA (news – web sites)-themed thriller, formerly called “The Farm,” stars Al Pacino (news) and Colin Farrell (news).

“We decided to run this ad for two reasons: first, you have the instant gratification of running a spot five days before the movie opens,” said Oren Aviv, marketing president of Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures. “Second, the demos of the Super Bowl are exactly the demos of our movie — that is, everybody. If I’m going just for young males or just for females, this wouldn’t be the place to be.”

Fogelson agreed that a Super Bowl ad is not for every movie, given the high stakes and enormous cost. The average price for a 30-second spot this year is $2.1 million, which equals the highest-ever average, set in 2000.