How Much TV Advertising Necessary For New 'Star Wars,' Perhaps Best-Known Movie Franchises Ever?

Big end-of-the-season theatrical box office results are coming -- thanks at least in part to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But how much TV advertising for the movie will there be?

Movie marketers never leave much to chance. That’s because typically they have one shot at a big score: opening weekend, when they reap a huge percentage of their overall revenues for a movie.

But “Star Wars” is not your ordinary movie -- it’s probably the franchise to end all franchises. Some observers say a new “Star Wars” movie — this from Walt Disney via Lucasfilm -- essentially markets itself. The three "Star Wars" prequels released between 1999 and 2005 earned a total of $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

Typically, big-budget movies can spend around $50 million to $60 million on TV advertising, adding up both what the movie studio itself will spend, as well as all the consumer marketing partners.

The first long trailer -- two and a half minutes -- for the movie appeared on “Monday Night Football” on ESPN (a Walt Disney company) last week. But the effort really started in earnest with a short teaser released by Disney in November 2014. Then in April of this year there was a “Star Wars Celebration” in Anaheim.



No doubt Disney will go wall-to-wall with its own TV advertising efforts --  if not exactly look to break some records -- all to keep up the big movie image. At the same time, by all accounts, it is being “careful,” according to Bob Iger, the company’s chairman/CEO.

TV networks are still a powerful tool for theatrical film marketers. But as we all know, gross rating points on TV are drifting lower -- especially when looking at live, non-time-shifting TV rating points.

Movie studios need the immediacy of the live TV audience -- not time-shifted commercial viewing -- especially in the last two weeks leading to a its opening. Look for “Star War” advertising to appear in all TV news and sporting events, on NFL and college football games in particular.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens on Dec. 18, a week before Christmas. Advertising gifts will start appearing under the tree before that for TV networks.

3 comments about "How Much TV Advertising Necessary For New 'Star Wars,' Perhaps Best-Known Movie Franchises Ever?".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, October 26, 2015 at 2:05 p.m.

    I'd suggest we stop thinking about this as a "theatrical release". What they've done so far has the release well begun... This is, in fact, a massive business enterprise. The question is, I think, what % of TV advertising drives benefit toward the theatrical release (and subsequent streaming & DVD sales) and what % of the advertising drives benefit for toy, merchandise, and experience purchases that surround the movie. Disney should even look at a portion of today's Star Wars ad investment benefiting their new Star Wars themed park expansion in California.

    So I disagree with the negativity in the last few paragraphs about "need live TV audience". Really? Time shifted will work fantastic for them and they'll achieve far more per dollar spent if they get away from the handcuffs suggested herein.

  2. Clifton Chadwick from Comunicaciones Kokopele, October 26, 2015 at 2:54 p.m.

    They had me at "Star Wars."

  3. Daryle Lockhart from Sci Fi Generation TV, October 26, 2015 at 5:31 p.m.

    There's a Star Wars Celebration every year. That wasn't planned to promote the film. It was just added to an already well-attended event for fans. Fans were going anyway because there's an animated series currently running. To your point, it's not like anyone forgot about "Star Wars",  but it looks like the goal here is to set and shatter sales records. So far, so good.

Next story loading loading..