Summer Movie Ad Buys: 'Mission: Impossible,' 'Mad Max' Get Biggest U.S. Spend
Among Hollywood studios, Warner Bros. paid the most this summer to advertise its films — or 27.1 percent of all dollars shelled out.
An eclectic trio of films — Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Entourage — topped the list of 2015 summer movies getting the biggest television advertising spend in the U.S.
All in all, Warners spent $43.7 million on ads for Fury Road, George Miller's critically acclaimed prequel, while Paramount spent $42 million to plug Rogue Nation on the airwaves, according to iSpot.tv, which monitors TV advertising. Entourage, the adaptation of the hit HBO series, also got a big spend: $40.7 million.
One trend iSpot.tv CEO Sean Muller noticed this summer: "Studios are trying to drill in when the movie is coming out by changing an ad to say, 'Opening in four days, three days, two days and one day.' "
Like Mad Max, Entourage hails from Warners, known for being aggressive when it comes to marketing. The studio easily spent more than any of its rivals on television advertising for its 2015 summer slate — $264.3 million, according to iSpot. That represents 27.1 percent of the total $973.3 million spent on TV movie ads between May 15 and Aug. 31, a hefty sum underscoring just how much studios and indie distributors remain tethered to the small screen when it comes to promoting their wares.
Warners had a difficult season, however, with many of its summer titles disappointing, including Entourage (the comedy earned just $44.5 million domestically). New Line and Warners' Vacation reboot has fared better, with $92.2 million domestically, but the filmmakers had hoped for more. TV ad spend for Vacation totaled $35.2 million.
Two stand-outs for Warners were Mad Max and San Andreas, earning $154.3 million and $153 million, respectively. San Andreas boasted a TV spend of $39.4 million.
After Warners, Universal spent the most on TV advertising, or $168.9 million. The studio — on fire at the box office and enjoying the biggest year in history for any Hollywood studio — spent $34.9 million to advertise Jurassic World, $26.1 million on Minions and $25.6 million on Trainwreck (that includes ads that ran before May 15).
Disney followed with $110.4 million for four releases. The studio and Marvel spent more on Ant-Man ($34.8 million) than on Avengers: Age of Ultron ($26.9 million) since the former was a new property. The spend on Pixar's Inside Out was $27 million, roughly the same amount allocated for Disney's summer bomb Tomorrowland.
Fox spent $90 million for TV advertising for five summer titles, including $24.3 million for Josh Trank's ill-fated Fantastic Four, $23.4 million for box-office hit Spy and $16.9 million for John Green YA adaptation Paper Towns.
Releasing four films this summer, Sony spent an estimated $72.5 million. Adam Sandler's Pixels received a generous $32.1 million in TV ad buys, but the studios did cut back on spending for Aloha when it looked like the pic was in trouble.
Paramount spent $65.5 million on television ads between May 15 and Aug. 31, split up largely between Mission: Impossible and Terminator: Genisys.