Super Bowl XLVIII will have the Seattle Seahawks taking on the Denver Broncos ... and many of Hollywood's major studios snagging some commercial time to advertise some of the biggest movie releases of 2014.
Oddly enough, the cupboard's a bit bare this year, with both Warner Bros. and Fox sitting on the benches without any Super Bowl spots whatsoever. It's a bit strange that WB doesn't want to show off "Godzilla" (opening May 16) and "Edge of Tomorrow" (opening June 6) during the big game, and new looks at both "Jupiter Ascending" (opening July 25) and even "Transcendence" (opening April 17) would've been nifty as well.
We agree with The Wrap in that Fox's absence from the advertising field is especially a bit of a mystery, as it's the channel that's broadcasting the game in the first place. The studio has some pretty high profile offerings this year, though most notably missing from the Super Bowl spot line-up are "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (opening May 23), "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (opening July 11) and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" (opening June 13).
At least two studios have already gone for an early kick-off, with Paramount and Lionsgate/Summit providing something of a pre-game by already releasing their spots for Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic "Noah" (opening March 28) and, appropriately enough, the Kevin Costner sports drama "Draft Day" (opening April 11), respectively. The spot for "Noah" is especially impressive ... and has us wondering how Aronofsky's well-intentioned if somewhat compromised fantasy drama "The Fountain" (2006) might've turned out if he'd had a "Noah"-sized budget with which to realize his vision.
Here is the complete list of Super Bowl spots you'll be able to catch on Sunday.
'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (May 2, Sony)
The summer movie season swings in with the wallcrawler, though we're not sure why Sony shelled out the cash for a Super Bowl ad. All this movie needs is five seconds of white text on black saying "There's a new 'Spider-Man' movie opening on May 2" and, oh yes, they will come.
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' (April 4, Disney)Marvel/Disney seems pretty happy with the "Captain America" sequel, as they've already signed directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo to call the shots on a third Cap movie. We're not sure why we're getting all of these stand-alone Marvel character sequels ("Thor: The Dark World" was amusing but not exactly 'necessary') ... there's got to be more to this racket than just "Because they make a lot of money," right? Right?
'Draft Day' (April 11, Lionsgate/Summit)
A football movie being advertised during the Super Bowl? A touchdown business decision if there ever was one. It will be interesting to see how this film fares with a lead actor who's known more for baseball ("Field of Dreams," "Bull Durham," "For Love of the Game") and, uh, golf ("Tin Cup").
'Muppets Most Wanted' (March 21, Disney)
While we're not as excited for this sequel as we were for its terrific predecessor a few years back, we're still looking forward to seeing the further adventures of Kermit and the gang on the big screen. While "The Muppets" (2011) reimagined "The Muppet Movie" (1979) as a tale of aging 'theatre people,' "Muppets Most Wanted" looks to be offering a spin on "The Great Muppet Caper" (1981) with its story of Euro-intrigue featuring supporting characters with funny accents.
'Need For Speed' (March 14, Disney)
Universal's "Fast & Furious 7" was moved to 2015 upon the death of co-star Paul Walker, so Disney is revving its engines to snag the "fast cars" audience with this adaptation of the popular video game series. Some bonus mileage will definitely be provided by Aaron Paul, whose big-screen career is on the fast track upon the completion of "Breaking Bad."
'Neighbors' (May 9, Universal)
Universal may not have a "Furious" movie this year, but they should still have a hit with this early summer offering starring Seth Rogen as a conservative family man (hey, the casting against type worked for John Belushi in the 1981 movie of the same name) who moves next door to a rowdy frat house lorded over by Zac Efron. How much screen time will it take before Rogen is inadvertently partying with the college kids, getting drunk and high whilst surrounded by topless sorority girls?
'Noah' (March 28, Paramount)
No matter what you may personally believe when it comes to this Biblical story, you have to admit that the shot of a bunch of snakes (or 'serpents' as they're more commonly referred to in the Bible) slithering toward the Ark whilst God brings the thunder, lightning and a lot of rain is pretty sweet. Let it come down.
'RoboCop' (Feb. 12, Sony)
Oh boy, this thing. We know it's pointless to moan about remakes (and some of them over the years have admittedly been quite good), but there's something vaguely depressing about rebooting Paul Verhoeven's ultraviolent '87 urban fantasy as a PG-13 write-off for the Twitter crowd. And, admittedly, it might have something to do with putting it like that.
'Transformers: Age of Extinction' (June 27, Paramount)
Dinobots, please. DINOBOTS. And if they're rampaging through a football field, all the better.