Mar 4 2014, 7:31pm CST | by Forbes
Lord help me, I’m feeling almost nostalgic over the idea of a major theatrical trailer for a major summer blockbuster premiering on Entertainment Tonight. But yes, the first full trailer for Michael Bay’s fourth Transformers film debuted on tonight’s broadcast of Entertainment Tonight. Since the entertainment/tabloid news show likes to obstruct their trailers with onscreen logos, Paramount saw fit to release an official version online, which you can of course watch above./>
I of course grew up before the Internet when you either saw a trailer on the one night it happened to premiere on Entertainment Tonight or you saw it in a theater. If you’re thinking that Transformers 4 premiering its trailer on Entertaiment Tonight sounds convenient, it is. E.T. is a Paramount (a division of Viacom) television show premiering a trailer for Paramount’s biggest film in 2014. It’s no different than Marvel/Disney using their own network (ABC) to run an hour-long Marvel promo on March 18th, “Marvel Studios: Assembling A Universe”, that will theoretically contain the first glance at Avengers: Age of Ultron along with more material from Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Imagine that, studios using old-school television, their own networks to boot, to promote their major movies! It’s a perfect hybrid of general audience marketing and corporate synergy. This of course ties into the notion that I talk about from time-to-time, that these seemingly geek-friendly movies still live and die by the perceptions of the general moviegoer. Said moviegoer is far more likely to catch a television spot during American Idol a week or two before a film’s debut than go online to watch a teaser trailer six months before the opening weekend.
The ones who watch the online sneak peaks are likely already sold, but it’s the general moviegoer who reads about a movie in last week’s Entertainment Weekly or sees a given movie star on Ellen two days prior to opening that can make the difference. Online media is important, as people logging onto their Facebook page or CNN.com and seeing a trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire or Need For Speed can make a difference a few days before opening weekend. But Paramount will theoretically get far more mileage out of premiering its trailer on Entertainment Tonight (or during a theoretically successful opening weekend of 300: Rise of an Empire) than they would with an online-only sneak peak which arguably plays to the converted.
As for the trailer, it’s a Transformers trailer, plain and simple. It looks huge, the robots look great, and stuff blows up pretty good while attractive people run and scream. It’s biggest trump card is of course the presence of Mark Wahlberg, a genuine movie star leading the human cast for the first time. It is interesting to note that this fourth film cost $165 million to produce, which is $30 million less than Dark of the Moon, $35 million less than Revenge of the Fallen, and just $15 million more than the original Transformers back in 2007.
Even if audience fatigue sets in as we get the fourth entry of the franchise that everyone claims to hate but everyone goes to see, the film is “cheap” enough to survive a relative comedown in overall grosses. Purely by default of how well its previous installments have performed, with an average of $890 million worldwide and $350 million domestic over three films, Transformers: Age of Extinction should arguably be the summer’s biggest grosser, give or take a surprise by something like DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2.
Even a relative comedown, say $250 million domestic and $800 million worldwide, will put it pretty close to the top-tier of plausible expectations for the various summer tent poles. So come June 27th, everyone will see it, many if not most will hate it, and we’ll all complain that its box office success means something more than the fact that the franchise offers exactly what it promises and little else. Transformers: Age of Extinction opens from Paramount Pictures on June 27th, 2014. As always, we’ll see.
Source: Forbes Business
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