Film fans who head to the multiplex Thanksgiving weekend will see plenty of trailers for holiday films — if you don’t wind up humming “It’s a Hard Knock Life” during the main feature, talk to your cardiologist, your heart may be made of stone.
But a couple of other spots will tease events far far away — or at least in another room.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving, Disney is running in select theaters an 88-second tease of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a perhaps apt subtitle given tryptophan-related activities the previous day. It’s not clear what will actually be in this teaser, but given our societal tendency to scrutinize anything "Star Wars" and anything Abrams (remember those “Super 8” Super Bowl spots a few years back?), expect the online parsing to begin before you’ve made your first Black Friday purchase.
The studio will initially put the spot in 30 theaters — in Los Angeles, Hollywood’s El Capitan and the AMC in Century City are the chosen ones — and then roll it out in December in other theaters and presumably online too.
Also in heavy rotation this weekend will be a trailer for a rather different, more imminent, entertainment event — NBC’s staging of “Peter Pan Live” on Dec. 4. The network has bought time on more than 3,500 screens to show a trailer for the TV telecast, the follow-up to "The Sound of Music" telecast last year that got some critics ruffled but drew 18.5 million viewers anyway.
The spot — which you can watch here — shows Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook and emphasizes both the event and family nature of the live telecast. “For one night only, everyone can fly,” the voiceover announcer says, as Williams takes to the air.
The buys are in movies across studios, not just at Universal, and will play ahead of films rated anywhere below an R. NBC executives are banking on the idea that people heading to theaters this weekend are subconsciously thinking about holiday TV viewing, and with the telecast being graced with some cinema-level production values, a big movie theater push made sense.
“Having it in these venues really allows us to reach a really wide audience over Thanskgiving weekend,” said Kjerstin Beatty, vice president of media at NBC Entertainment. Between distant galaxies and Never-never Land, there will be plenty of options to escape that added family time, at least for a tease or two.