Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2014 by Peter Sciretta
Disclaimer: This is not a news report, this is a bit of researched fan speculation based on a fun conversation I had at a dinner over the weekend. I’m way too excited for Episode VII, I know…
Okay Star Wars fans, we’re just under 550 days until Star Wars: Episode VII hits the big screen — the anticipation is killing me! Over the weekend, a couple friends wondered out loud when we might see the first Star Wars Episode 7 trailer. So lets take a look at the varied possibilities and briefly examine how movie marketing works.
When Could Disney Set The Star Wars Episode 7 Trailer Release Date?
The first teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace hit with Meet Joe Black on November 13, 1998, about six months before the May 19, 1999 release of the film. The full trailer was attached to Wing Commander, released on March 12th 1999. The teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones was attached to Monsters, Inc., released November 2nd 2001, again about six months before the May 16th 2002 release date. the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith trailer was attached to another Pixar film The Incredibles, which was released November 5th 2004, about six months before the movie’s premiere.
So with this information, one could assume that the first Star Wars Episode 7 teaser trailer would likely be released about six months before the film’s December 18th 2015 release date. This would put a target date for May/June 2015. Here is a list of big movies being released in those months:
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (BV) – 5/1
- Far from the Madding Crowd (FoxS) – 5/1
- Untitled Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara Comedy (WB) – 5/8
- Mad Max: Fury Road (WB) – 5/15
- Pitch Perfect 2 (Uni.) – 5/15
- Pixels (Sony) – 5/15
- Spy (Fox) – 5/22
- Tomorrowland (BV) – 5/22
- Monster Trucks (Par.) – 5/29
- B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (Fox) – 6/5
- San Andreas (WB) – 6/5
- Entourage (WB) – 6/12
- Jurassic World (Uni.) – 6/12
- The Fantastic Four (Fox) – 6/19
- Inside Out (BV) – 6/19
- Ricki and the Flash (TriS) – 6/26
- Ted 2 (Uni.) – 6/26
Often trailers are released for films on earlier releases from the same studio. Motion Picture Association of America guidelines state that only two and a half minutes of trailer time may be attached to the feature film from a studio. The attached trailer will then play more frequently and in more prominent slots than any trailers “shipped separately to exhibitors.” For example, the teaser trailer for Man of Steel was attached to The Dark Knight Rises, another Warner Bros release.
May 2015 Options
My first thought is that the Star Wars Episode 7 trailer release date would probably be in early May 2015, released on Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron or Tomorrowland in late May. Both films are from Disney.
While big trailers often come attached to other releases from the same studio, that isn’t always the case. But, as seen above, teaser trailers for the Star Wars prequels were not attached to 20th Century Fox films (the distributor of the first six Star Wars movies). The teasers were instead attached to a Universal movie and two Pixar films.
With movie marketing, it’s much more important to place a trailer on a film that will hit the same target demographic. Avengers 2 and Tomorrowland definitely fit the target demographic that Disney aims for with most of their releases. But the six month mark is more closer to mid- June than May.
June 2015 Options
The two big options in June are Jurassic World and Pixar’s Inside Out.
Jurassic World is a Universal film, not a Disney release, not that that matters. I’m sure Jurassic World will be a PG-13 release, which likely knocks it out of contention. Disney is going to want to go as wide as possible with the first teaser, hitting both children and adults. The Episode II and Episode III teasers were attached to Pixar movies, so why not Inside Out?
If you think attaching a trailer to a movie doesn’t result in buzz look at the case of Meet Joe Black. Star Wars fans famously bought tickets to the Brad Pitt movie and walked out before the movie requesting refunds. Many theaters ended up putting up signs saying they would not refund tickets purchased after the trailers had begun.
Another thing to think about is that Star Wars‘ official fan convention Star Wars Celebration takes place April 16-19th 1015 in Anaheim California. Thats a whole 8 months before the release of Star Wars Episode VII. Is it possible that J.J. Abrams and crew won’t debut a teaser trailer at the event? Yes, but unlikely. So its also possible that they might cut a small fan teaser for the event before the real teaser trailer goes live later in the Summer.
Comic Con 2015 will likely take place the second week of July 2015, and while we can expect a presence at that convention, Disney has usually sat out coming to San Diego on years they hold their own D23 convention. Disney’s official fan convention D23 Expo takes place August 14-16th 2015, and I’m sure we’ll see some kind of debut during that time in Anaheim. But the first teaser trailer will definitely have hit before then.