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As everyone knows, the Super Bowl is the biggest event in Hollywood—er, I mean sports.
The gradual evolution of the championship game into a night-long bonanza of showbiz spectacle reached its inevitable apex Sunday night with a Super Bowl that took place in Los Angeles, allowing the lines between sporting event and entertainment to finally blur completely.
Fittingly, the official telecast on NBC kicked off with an homage to Hollywood, with Halle Berry welcoming the TV audience to the game by outlining how much a good football game and great movie have in common. To celebrate the first time in three decades that the Super Bowl has been in L.A., the Hollywood-themed opening vignette also featured appearances from Kevin Hart, Carrie Underwood, and Peyton Manning. (According to Variety, parts of the TV spot were actually filmed in Nashville and Denver.)
As Berry toured sound stages where new movies centered around football were being made, Manning and Underwood got some good jokes in—he was unhappy to learn that he would be Shane Falco’s backup in The Replacements 2, while Underwood reworked the lyrics for “Before He Cheats” for a musical version of The Blind Side. But the bulk of the TV spot was an artfully-edited montage of famous movies about football, including Any Given Sunday, Friday Night Lights, Hoosiers, Little Giants, and, uh, Forrest Gump.
Turns out the most important game in sports is really about the magic of movies.
For a Hollywood-themed opening, the vignette may actually be the least star-studded element of Sunday’s telecast.
Recording artists Jhene Aiko and Mickey Guyton performed minutes after the spot aired, the latter absolutely torching her rendition of the national anthem. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar will headline the halftime show. Movie trailers for upcoming blockbusters will likely anchor most commercial breaks—the first one after the opening spotlighted The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, and Brad Pitt. And that’s not to mention the slew of celebrities slated to appear in big ad campaigns.
Spots featuring Lindsay Lohan, Scarlett Johansson, Megan Thee Stallion, Pete Davidson, and Ewan McGregor have already been previewed.
While Berry’s commercial opened the official NBC telecast, it’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who got the game started.
With his arched eyebrow and flared nostrils, he was in classic “do you smell what the Rock is cooking?” mode as he bellowed from the field: “Finally, the Super Bowl has come back to Los Angeles!”
And with that the day’s big movie, I mean game, began.