Fox pulled off the first-ever live television commercial for a theatrical feature film during A Christmas Story Live! on December 17, 2017. Hugh Jackman was joined by his The Greatest Showman co-stars Zendaya, Zac Efron, and Keala Settle for a commercial promoting the musical drama set to hit theaters on December 20th. Incredibly, the live trailer directed by The Greatest Showman helmer Michael Gracey and Saturday Night Live director Beth McCarthy-Miller seemed to have gone off without a hitch.
The two-and-a-half minute commercial featured the film’s stars singing “Come Alive” accompanied by more than 150 dancers. The live trailer was filmed next to the A Christmas Story Live! stages on Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, CA.
Prior to the show, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Ad Sales for Fox Networks Group Suzanne Sullivan said, “As we continue to drive innovation in both our programming and ad products, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with our sister film studio in this exciting live holiday event.”
“This first-ever live commercial for a feature film is one that P.T. Barnum would be proud of and one that I hope paves the way for future titles,” added Michelle Marks, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Global Media Promotions for 20th Century Fox Film.
The PG-rated film features Hugh Jackman (Eddie the Eagle, the X-Men film franchise) as P.T Barnum, Zac Efron (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, the High School Musical films) as Phillip Carlyle, Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, K.C. Undercover) as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler, and Keala Settle as Lettie Lutz the Bearded Woman. The cast also includes Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train), Paul Sparks (House of Cards), and Gayle Rankin (The Meyerowitz Stories). Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, and Jenno Topping served as producers.
The Plot: Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.