Arguably the biggest news of the day was Lionsgate’s announcement that the studio would be premiering the “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2” trailer in front of “The Hunger Games” in theaters on March 23. Though this is definitely a match made in young-adult heaven, it’s far from the first time trailers for highly anticipated films have premiered before similarly big new releases.
We’ve decided to go back and pick our five favorite examples of big trailer premieres from the past couple decades. The movies haven’t always matched the hype (we’re looking at you, “Phantom Menace”), but they certainly gave us good reason to get excited.
“Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” before “Meet Joe Black”
Come with me back to a time long, long ago (1998) in a galaxy far, far away (where Brad Pitt was still playing romantic leads). “Meet Joe Black” was just hitting theaters, but fans weren’t necessarily flocking to theaters opening night to catch Pitt playing the Death. Instead, many fans were anxiously awaiting the first trailer of George Lucas’s highly anticipated “Star Wars” prequel, “The Phantom Menace.” Considering the public’s changed opinion on the movie as “The Phantom Menace” launches its 3-D rerelease today, it’s hard to believe people were once so excited about the movie. But they were — seriously.
“The Dark Knight” before “I Am Legend”
At the time, a viral-marketing campaign had possibly never created quite the fervor for a movie that Warner Bros’ had for “The Dark Knight.” Between the “Why So Serious?” campaign and Empire’s slow reveal of Heath Ledger’s Joker, fans were desperate for a first-look at the much-hyped film. A trailer finally came in 2007 before non-IMAX screenings of “I Am Legend.” But most of us were willing to shill out the extra dough and catch the “The Dark Knight’s” opening sequence and sizzle reel before IMAX screenings of Will Smith’s post-apocalyptic film.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” before “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”
Say what you will about comparing “Harry Potter” to “The Twilight Saga,” but both Warner Bros and Summit Entertainment knew their audiences overlapped when one studio paired its highly-anticipated trailer for the final two “Harry Potter” films with the similarly-anticipated release of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” in 2010. Not only was the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” teaser our favorite trailer of the year, “Eclipse” also went on to become the highest-grossing “Twilight” film at that time. Friendship!
“The Avengers” after “Captain America: The First Avenger”
Ah-hah! A change in the trailer-before-a-movie scheme! Marvel switched things up a bit when they had “The Avengers” teaser trailer premiere after screenings of “Captain America: The First Avenger.” It was more of a cliffhanger sizzle-reel than an actual trailer, but it still got fans pumped for the movie. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow all in one place?! Heck, we’re still getting excited about that here at MTV News.
“The Hunger Games” before “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1”
Much like “Harry Potter” before it, the first full-length “The Hunger Games” trailer premiered before 2011’s “Twilight Saga” installment, “Breaking Dawn — Part 1.” “But wait!” you say. “Isn’t the ’Breaking Dawn — Part 2’ trailer now coming out before ’The Hunger Games’?” Very intuitive of you, faceless, nameless MTV Movies Blog reader. It seems as though Lionsgate (who has recently taken over Summit) has decided to reciprocate the hype that “The Hunger Games” gave “Breaking Dawn” by doing a little switcheroo. If the “Breaking Dawn — Part 2” trailer is even half as good as that first full “Hunger Games” trailer, I’ll be thrilled.
What are some of your favorite trailer premieres before movies? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!