Super Bowl LVII is set up to deliver one of the greatest shows of the 2022 NFL season: the Chiefs and Eagles both enter as No. 1 seeds, with MVP finalists at quarterback, and Andy Reid up against his longtime former team. But the game itself isn't the only thing that'll warrant attention on Feb. 12. Super Bowl commercials are also a staple of the event, and some of them provide a first look at the biggest blockbusters set for release on the big screen.
With that in mind, CBS Sports spoke with Mark Ellis, of Rotten Tomatoes, to forecast this year's full slate of movie and TV previews on Super Bowl Sunday, including potential surprise appearances:
What kind of push do movies actually get from airing Super Bowl ads?
Ellis: My overarching sentiment now is you really are trying to do two things at once: No. 1, build public awareness, but No. 2, the more immediate goal is to become a trending topic on social media, because you want not just awareness but buzz. For instance, one of the movies confirmed (for a Super Bowl trailer), "The Flash," social media is so crucial to that movie's marketing campaign. It's got a lot of fun elements, teasing different universes -- will we see more of Michael Keaton's Batman? -- and trying to build interest, not to mention draw attention away from Ezra Miller's exploits over the last year.
What are your top picks to generate that sought-after buzz?
Ellis: "The Flash" will probably get some, but then you also have those more off-beat, let's-take-a-chance movies, and the one I'd look at for that -- one that's not necessarily expected -- would be "Barbie." It released its first trailer fairly recently, and when you get the audience for the Super Bowl, you get the football fans, but you also get a lot of people at parties. And I think "Barbie" could capture a wide swath of imaginations. Another one with a heavy marketing campaign is "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." Maybe we'll actually get to hear Chris Pratt's voice in that case.
How about predicting one MVP from the projected trailer lineup?
Ellis: I think it's very fitting that the Philadelphia Eagles are in the Super Bowl, because they might also be duking it out in the commercial airspace with "Creed III," Michael B. Jordan's directorial debut. To have Philly fighting on the field and in the ring, it just couldn't be more fitting. Jonathan Majors is gonna have a big Super Bowl, by the way, because he could be seen in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and "Creed." If I had to pick another potential MVP, I think if -- and it's still an "if" -- we get a trailer for "Fast X," I think that'll blow people's minds. "Fast and Furious" is custom-made for a Super Bowl crowd; it's a party movie. There's always an audible gasp whenever you see Vin Diesel in a car.
Tom Cruise seemed to have that effect returning to the cockpit for "Top Gun: Maverick" last year. Do you foresee another round of Cruise this year?
Ellis: All you really have to do is show whatever the latest stunt Tom Cruise has been doing, and you'll get people talking. You'll get a lot of hashtags out of that. "Mission: Impossible -- Dead Reckoning, Part One" doesn't come out until July 14, but that's still a possibility. We all saw what happened with "Top Gun." When we finally got that movie, its Tomatometer ended up being a 98 critic score, and a 99 audience score, and now it's nominated for Best Picture. So it shows a Super Bowl trailer doesn't just have to sell a movie that's sort of a mindless popcorn piece.
What are some other sleeper picks for surprise trailers? Can you go deeper than "Barbie"?
Ellis: My Brock Purdy pick? My "Mr. Irrelevant?" If I go deeper than "Barbie," I'm reaching way into the grab bag. But I'm probably pulling out a couple Oompa Loompas. We've already got Timothée Chalamet creeping up on our TVs with Apple commercials, so what if we got our first look at a young Willy Wonka? If you drop "Wonka" footage, it gets people talking.
Any chance of an unorthodox trailer, like actors appearing in character as part of a different kind of promo?
Ellis: The possibility there is twofold: you could see someone announcing a slate of films as opposed to running a traditional trailer. James Gunn's future of the DC film universe is an example. Marvel could do the same thing. You might also see product tie-ins with some of these movies. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see Ant-Man running away with a non-alcoholic Heineken in his hand, or something like that.
How about another look at the new 'Indiana Jones,' due out in June?
Ellis: I would love to see an Indy trailer, because the first one blew me away, especially with the de-aged footage of Harrison Ford. You can get people talking if you show more of that -- "How is Harrison Ford so fit?!" And maybe we get a little bit of insight into what the "Dial of Destiny" is from the title. I think that's a question that a Super Bowl trailer could hint at answering. You can also never count out "Transformers." They've been advertising at the Super Bowl for years. I don't know that there's a lot of awareness about the next one, "Rise of the Beasts," but that's a big summer tentpole.
Paramount Pictures' '80 for Brady' feels tailor-made for the Super Bowl, with its Tom Brady involvement. Could we see a second wind for that marketing, even though it'll already be in theaters?
Ellis: There should be. I can watch those four ladies (stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Rita Moreno) just hang out on a park bench for two hours. And maybe that is the genius behind what "80 for Brady" could do. Maybe you just have them introduce something all together. For instance, there's a live ad this year where Rob Gronkowski is going to attempt a field goal. And he makes a cameo in the movie. Could we see these ladies show up? I feel like the "80 for Brady" theme could still be present on Super Bowl Sunday.