The Best and Worst Super Bowl Movie Trailers

3-Days-to-Kill-Super Bowl

One thing you have to remember about movie trailers aired during the Super Bowl is they’re out to appeal to a very mainstream audience. Many of us watch the game solely for the commercials, but that doesn’t mean advertisers are targeting anyone interested in movies and their marketing more than they’re aiming for those mass American viewers interested in football, cheap beer, blockbuster-size entertainment and a few laughs.

That means first looks at big summer movies concentrating on their explosions and other promise of spectacle. Not everyone follows movie news regularly, so this is the time when the rest of the country begins buzzing about this year’s major tentpoles, and whether that’s positive or negative buzz determines anticipation, and that might even make or break some titles down the line.

Leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII, we present the teasers made available ahead of the game’s actual full-on spots. Join us after the game, though, for more of a ranking of which trailers worked and which didn’t. Additionally, you can find some neat movie- and TV-related ads down below, too.


3 Days to Kill

Sorry superhero and disaster movies, but this trailer takes the ring this year. Not only is it Kevin Costner, the sports dude’s actor, in an apparently kick-ass action movie most people haven’t heard of, but the whole humorous football-related dialogue is downright perfect for tonight’s audience. Costner looks kind of crazy, too, which we really love. Awareness and expectations for this original movie (never mind the deja vu, Taken fans) just shot way, way up.

Captain America: Winter Soldier

This is how you follow The Avengers, finally. With all the Black Widow, The Falcon and Nick Fury, it’s almost like this isn’t even a solo hero movie, and that’s not a bad thing. Even if we saw too much of the action, that’s what sells in a Super Bowl ad, and this spot promised an epic comic book action movie.

Need for Speed

Never mind the extended trailer that went online, the 30-second teaser during the Super Bowl was one of the most interestingly cut movie ads to play in this kind of arena and for this kind of movie. Sure, everyone seeing it just thought Fast and Furious, and maybe they remember the must more mind-blowing spot for that franchise last year, but I think this really worked its short timespan perfectly.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Dinobots. I think that’s all that needs to be said.

A Million Ways to Die In the West

This will probably be the funniest Western since Shanghai Noon. I kinda like the idea that they didn’t bother trying to sell the actual movie on TV and instead had a Ted-based commercial telling us to watch online. It probably would have just looked like another Lone Ranger if toned down for the game.


Just as effective as the full trailer, but the Super Bowl spot cuts a lot of the corny stuff involving the ark mythology so it’s just the good stuff.

Draft Day

This kind of trailer doesn’t work on a non-NFL junkie, speaking from someone who doesn’t even really understand what the draft is, but it sure has everything necessary to appeal to a Super Bowl crowd. Not that I’m aware of anything about a movie like this that doesn’t appeal to a Super Bowl crowd just in its existence.



The Monuments Men

If not for the caliber of movie stars in the cast, this would look like an ad for a TV movie, and the plot doesn’t help much there. The only thing worse would be a line saying it’s from the director of Leatherheads, arguably the worst football movie in history.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ll give the extended “Enemies Unite Sizzle” spot credit for at least promising something bigger and better than the last movie, even if it also feels like it’s showing us the whole thing, but going by just the ad run during the Super Bowl (below) I can’t imagine anyone is looking at this and feeling a necessity to see such a familiar-looking movie.


Even if Noah didn’t sell the ancient period piece disaster movie thing so much better, this ad would still have nothing going for it.


Seinfeld Reunion Episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

Truly my favorite thing about this is the fact that it’s the real inside of Tom’s Restaurant. Technically it’s not really an ad, though the web series is sponsored by Acura.

1980s Movie and TV References for Radio Shack

’80s nostalgia will never get old, right? Here we get Chucky, Jason, Teen Wolf, Cliff Clavin, Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, Bubo, Alf, Slimer, Q-Bert, Kid n Play, a Delorean and many more from that decade in a great joke on how lame Radio Shack is — or was. There are extended bits with Alf, Jason and Cliff online too.

Anna Kendrick for Newcastle Brown Ale

Given all Super Bowl ads end up online now anyway, it’s pretty ingenious if Newcastle truly made an anti-Super Bowl ad that is being lumped in with the others on posts like this. They saved a ton of money and made a funny spot with Kendrick. I haven’t had a Newcastle in a while, but now I’m craving one in part out of respect.

Villainous British Actors for Jaguar

Cool concept and it’s great to see Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley and Mark Strong all represented, even if the last kills the Marvel Universe theme. Still, I guess Jaguars are for bad guys? If that’s what they’re going for, that’s cool. Makes it easier for us to profile master criminals easily. Just look for who owns a Jaguar.

Bruce Willis for Honda

First I love the irony that Willis says, “Good game, right?” Because it totally wasn’t, but how could they have known? Second, I love the Fred Armisen reveal more than almost anything else the whole night.

Slow Clap – CarMax

Slow claps are movie-related, right? Plus this has Rudy (Sean Astin) and a scene from Stand By Me. Bonus points for giving us a puppy version.

The Muppets for Toyota

This is just okay, even coming from a Muppet fan. Weird that it doesn’t mention their upcoming movie.

Scarlett Johansson for SodaStream

I love SodaStream. Since when can you not allude to your competition in ads? Or is it just Super Bowl ads, because those brands are probably also sponsoring the game?

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Cheadle and More for Bud Light

That’s great that we got to watch some tool have the best night of his life. What exactly is this ad trying to sell me on?

Morpheus of The Matrix for Kia

There’s something about this ad that doesn’t seem right. Isn’t having a luxury car part of the whole “rather eat the steak” mentality? Or is the point that it’s a Kia, who you wouldn’t expect luxury from? Still doesn’t work for me.

Morpheus of Quvenzhané Wallis for Maserati for Kia

The ad that had most people scratching their heads has the young, non-driving-aged star of Beasts of the Southern Wild shilling for Maserati. And doing so in a style that evokes that movie, in which her character is totally not in the financial bracket that could afford even the cheaper Maserati Ghibli. What were they thinking? And is this the worst thing David Gordon Green has done since The Sitter?

Full House Reunion for Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt

What a waste of an occasion. Just go watch the Full House reunions on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Rather than a reject, Christopher Campbell is a film school dropout. But he has since gotten a master’s degree in cinema studies and has been blogging about movies since 2005. Earlier, he reviewed films for a zine (a what?) that you could buy at Tower Records (a what?). He is married with two children.

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