Alert spoilers ahead, is what should show before every new movie trailer released.
But instead, studios have found a way to appeal to our stingy side in a sense that we as modern day consumers only want to pay for things that we can ‘trial’ first and ultimately revealing way more then most of us want to see.
While trailers are without questionable doubt one of the most effective ways to market a film; surprise surprise, it’s not uncommon for them to be made by studio’s marketing teams, often without the director’s say at all.
Now, before I do go into detail with my long list of cons, lets look at quick look at the pros: for one thing, trailers do spark a great deal of excitement and anticipation.
Even I get jittery when I catch a small glimpse a new film, often enough sparking the beginning to a couple months of obsessive ‘examination’ (slouching on the couch with food, watching movies) of the main actor and director’s prior films.
Alongside this is the hype and buzz that a good quality trailer can bring to the table.
Lets take ’10 Cloverfield Lane’. This trailer perfectly captured everyone’s fascination, it revealed little to nothing about the actual plot, characters or concepts. And while you could say, “it attracted more buzz due to its ‘Cloverfield’ branding”, I certainly beg to differ.
This trailer was so flawlessly discrete that literally no one had a clue what it was about, not even revealing its name till the last few seconds. In turn, this is why I, as well as many others eagerly flooded into the cinema in order to uncover what this film was really all about.
Compliments aside, lets now take the majority of modern trailers to mind and turn our attention towards the cons ‘da-da-daaaaa!’
Thanks to the help of social media and particular entertainment websites that reveal just the right amount of information on upcoming film projects (cough cough), we as an audience are already exposed to the right amount of publicity and knowledge about any upcoming films. Trailers unfortunately are merely adding too much to an already extensive rotation of plot, characters and news found on social media, which includes photos, posters, articles and interviews.
Further to this is the frustrating release of not one, not two, but several upon several trailers.
There is the teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer, the international trailer, the second international trailer… and the list goes on. Eventually, by the time the actual release of the movie comes, you can already piece together the entirety of the film by its enormous library of trailer cuts. What’s the point of even showing the movie anymore!? … deep breaths Alon, calm and tranquility…
Among the release of high fan-based films such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Transformers’, the trailers themselves not only reveal too much, but they also give way to the act of over-analysis by die hard fans. Way more then often I hear about fan-based theories and discoveries that come about from a seemingly unnoticed, unsuspecting small and innocent millisecond in the trailer that unfortunately unravels on social media overnight, spoiling entire subplots and surprises from the film. And although groundbreaking for some, for others like myself, it’s more of an unavoidable nuisance.
While the art of trailer editing is slowly vanishing beneath our feet, so few trailers are actually doing its fans justice.
But should trailers be abolished? I don’t think so. Of course the absence of trailers would lead us to a more entertaining movie-going experience, filled with tens of surprises, excitement and unblemished plot twists. But it could also be a huge detriment to the amount of people who go to the movies due to poor advertising and a lack of buzz and excitement. And who knows, it may even cause a massive plummet to the film and theatre industry, and I do not want that!
I’m just spit balling some ideas here, but as the history of film trailers dictate, over time trailers have been increased from an average of 2 minutes to over 3.
So maybe measures should be put in place to shorten them, allowing for less spoilers and plot to be revealed? Or maybe there should just be one ‘universal trailer’ instead of the long line of extension previews and multiple different cuts?
I’d love to hear some other ideas on how to shorten trailers, so please feel free to comment or send me a message and let me know. Thoughts welcome.