Coming off of the major success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the Marvel Studios freight train slowed down. This gave popcorn fans time to enjoy The Book of Boba Fett and The Batman without having to also think about the next Marvel project. That was nice of them. That nicety has expired, and it is the red brand season for fans of the fantastic.
While Moon Knight, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Ms. Marvel, and even Morbius are all deep into their promotional campaigns, there is one summer blockbuster from Marvel Studios that is historically absent from the hype train. Thor: Love And Thunder is set to release in theaters on July 8 and is the first fourth installment of an IP outside of the Avengers in MCU history.
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson are back with Taika Waititii in the director's chair and the voiceover booth. Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, and the Guardians of the Galaxy join the franchise. And somehow... Natalie Portman has returned. This movie has all of the pieces in place to print money, add another colorful chapter to the Thor franchise, and continue to lay a foundation for MCU Cosmic.
But the general public knows absolutely nothing about this project outside of its existence. The reason is that there has not been a single trailer, not even a piece of footage to dissect. With just under four months to go, the promotional campaign for Love and Thunder has not begun.
And while there is no exact science of when a trailer is supposed to come out in relation to the movie's release, there are plenty of numbers to tell us just how late to the game the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer is.
Love and Thunder Promotional Campaign Makes MCU History
There are 27 theatrically released movies made by Marvel Studios as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Direct crunched the numbers and found out what the promotional window was for each project between the first trailer release and the opening night of the movie, as seen below:
Here are some numbers to highlight before diving into where Thor: Love and Thunder stands on the list.
The longest promotional window is The Avengers, with the first trailer acting as the post-credits scene to Captain America: The First Avenger at 280 days.
The shortest promotional window is The Incredible Hulk at 93 days. This makes sense considering the movie was released one month after Iron Man in 2008.
The average promotional run for an MCU movie is 169 days, and the average for Phase 4 is 140 days (factoring in Black Widow's original release date to eliminate the outlier of the 2020 delays).
As of the time of this article's publication, Thor: Love and Thunder currently sits at 113 days until release with no trailer. This puts Thor 4 second on the list of shortest promotional runs in the MCU, only behind The Incredible Hulk and just passing the famously short run for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The Wait for Thor 4
Take a step back to August 2021. Through rumors of cameos, online leaks, and spoilers across the internet, the hype for Spider-Man: No Way was at a fever pitch... with no trailer in sight. The campaign to release the No Way Home trailer was a precursor to the inevitable force this movie would become. Fans across all branches of fandom were desperate for any hint about how the Jon Watts Homecoming trilogy would end for the MCU's Peter Parker.
And when it finally dropped, it became the shortest promotional run for an MCU movie since 2008. The movie then went on to make a billion dollars and become one of if not the biggest non-team-up superhero movies of all time.
Thor: Love and Thunder is not receiving that type of demand as it passes No Way Home for the second shortest promotional campaign.
There are plenty of reasons this could be, both positive and negative. Firstly, coming off of the character arch seen for Chris Hemsworth's Thor in Ragnarok, Infinity War, and Endgame, there is not much to show fans that will get them more excited about Thor than they already are.
Another reason could be the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster may not have the same pull as Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and even Charlie Cox. And lastly, there are at most two IPs in the superhero genre that move the needle more than Spider-Man, and Thor is not one of them.
With three active promotional campaigns running for Marvel Studios, it is not uber-surprising it is spacing them out and causing the window for Love and Thunder to run short. Out of the upcoming projects (Moon Knight, Multiverse of Madness, and Ms. Marvel), Thor: Love and Thunder probably needs the least amount of marketing to get people to watch.
But it is still worth noting that the only time a promotional campaign has been shorter for an MCU project was the forgotten child of The Incredible Hulk. That movie is critically and statistically a perennial bottom five on any measure of an MCU list. However, No Way Home is a supernova that has been burning brighter than any MCU project outside of Infinity War and Endgame.
What will be the result of the historically short promo run for Thor: Love and Thunder? Only time will tell.
Thor: Love and Thunder is set to hit theaters on July 8.