6 movie and TV trailers that broke the Internet
From 'The Force Awakens' to 'Game of Thrones,' these promos prove the marketing power of a good teaser.
If the Internet's handling of our everyday needs from email attachments to dog videos is akin to a walk along the beach, its management of a hotly anticipated movie or TV trailer might as well be an intense Iron Man triathlon. Of all the streaming videos placed online, movie and television trailers (in addition to the latest music videos) hold the top spots for viewer engagement in a 24-hour period. Internet users don't just like trailers and teasers, they absolutely love them.
Below are some of the biggest movie and television promos to have hit our digital world – and almost bring it to its knees in the process.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Back before Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo or any other video sharing sites existed, the only way to watch movie trailers with any measure of quality was through Apple's Quicktime portal. On March 11, 1999, this site and the Internet as a whole received its biggest test in the form of the full-length trailer for "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace." Over the next 24 hours, the two-minute preview would be downloaded an unprecedented 1 million times, with Apple's Steve Jobs later calling the moment "the biggest Internet download event in history."
The film, starring Scottish actor Ewan McGregor, Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman and Irish star Liam Neeson, would go on to become the second-highest grossing film worldwide behind "Titanic" at that time.
Game of Thrones: Season 6
Just how hot is the anticipation for "Game of Thrones"? Released on March 8, 2016, HBO's first full trailer for Season 6 of its hit fantasy series pulled in an incredible 30 million views in less than 24 hours, smashing the network's previous record (set, no less, by Season 5's first full trailer in 2015), and raising the bar for engagement with a television drama.
So why is there so much interest? Part of the reason this season has to do with the mystery surrounding the series' various plot lines. Due to novelist George R.R. Martin's delayed sixth book, everyone is officially in the dark over the fates of characters both old and new. What power will Bran Stark, played by British actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright, wield to protect his family? What pivotal roles will veterans of the Israeli television and theater scene, Ania Bukstein and Yousef Sweid, play? Will the White Walkers finally be overcome? All will be revealed in April.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
If "The Phantom Menace" trailer was a glimpse of where the Internet would one day take movie promotions, American director J.J. Abrams' final trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was the fully realized vision. The highly anticipated preview, released on Oct. 19, 2015, racked up an astounding 112 million views during its first 24 hours online. While streaming video sites managed to cope with demands to view the trailer, online ticket vendors such as Fandango were completely overwhelmed; with many facing unprecedented downtime over a rush to buy tickets.
"The Force Awakens," starring British actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, went on to become the biggest-ever blockbuster in North America. The second film in the new trilogy, tentatively titled "Episode VIII," will again try to break the Internet under the guidance of Israeli producer Ram Bergman and American producer Kathleen Kennedy.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Released on July 11, 2015, in celebration of Comic-Con San Diego, the nearly 4-minute full trailer for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" helped to prop up the highly anticipated superhero showdown as something worth waiting for. Over the course of 24 hours, 30.1 million people viewed the trailer, with another 30 million hitting play in the months after.
Starring British actor Henry Cavill, Israeli actress Gal Gadot and American actor Ben Affleck, "Batman v Superman" will reportedly offer a much darker tone than previous superhero yarns. Besides the epic battle looming between the caped crusader and man of steel, the film will also mark the big-screen debut of Wonder Woman.
Go ahead and chalk this one up to a healthy splash of nostalgia. After Netflix debuted the trailer in December 2015 for its "Fuller House" original series, fans of the beloved '90s sitcom immediately devoured it with over 14 million views. According to the streaming giant, the preview quickly became the most-watched trailer for any of its original series, topping such hits as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."
"I never really got emotional until I saw the first promos that Netflix put together," American actor John Stamos told the LA Times. "The one with the Miranda Lambert song. Seeing that stuff has really hit me that this is something special. I remember getting up early in the morning and they emailed me the promo and I just started crying. That was the first time it hit me."
Captain America: Civil War
The second trailer for Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" racked up a record 114 million views in the 24 hours after it was released on March 10, 2016.
While the idea of superheroes turning against each other appears to be something of a theme this year, fans insisted this trailer alone would "break the Internet" due to the first appearance of Spider-Man. Played by British actor Tom Holland, the Spider-Man we see in "Civil War" will reportedly join up with Iron Man, Black Widow and Black Panther.
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