Movie Theater TV Ads Come To Near Halt, 'Trolls' Continues To Spend

Except for one major release -- NBCUniversal/Dreamworks’ “Trolls World Tour” -- nearly all movie theater advertising has stopped in the wake of COVID-19.

For the most recent month period from March 12 to April 12, there were 8,555 airings of theatrical movies, estimated to have a value of $24.2 million, according to --  sharply down from the two previous month periods.

From Feb. 12 to March 12, there were 30,397 airings ($143.4 million estimated media value), compared to the Jan. 12 to Feb. 12 period which had 34,307 airings ($222.8 million).

“Troll World Tour” -- which released this past weekend on at-home streaming platforms and will be released on April 17 “in theaters” -- has spent an estimated $19.7 million (5,601 airings) in national TV advertising, from March 12 to April 12, and a total of $25 million since mid-November.



The movie’s advertising, which touted “in-theaters and at home,” will include a handful of “drive in” locations” -- thus the in-theater qualifier.

Nearly all non-drive-in theaters -- just under 6,000 in the U.S., totaling 41,000 screens -- have closed in the wake of stay-at-home state orders keeping consumers away.

NBCUniversal, according to analysts, is breaking the long-time, exclusive theatrical window of 90 days by airing the movie on TV platforms at or before its intended theatrical release.

“Trolls” has comprised the bulk of TV marketing impressions (530 million out of 1.5 billion) from prime-time periods -- with NBC airing 50 prime-time spots. NBCU’s sister networks also contributing: NBC Universo, 87; Universal Kids, 73; E!, 50; and USA Network, 47 airings.

Much of the TV marketing weight has gone into NBC’s “The Voice,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Ellen’s Game of Games” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

At home streaming on-demand airing of “Trolls” has a $19.99 price tag for a 48-hour rental period.

Other theatrical movies airing TV commercials during the recent month -- most earlier in March --  included: Disney’s “Onward” (596 airings), Lionsgate “I Still Believe (367 airings); and Sony Pictures’ (279 airings).

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