Freaking out about Sci-fi & Moives

Is the Film Trailer a Dying Art?

Since cinema became mainstream, Film Studios have been making trailers to get the movie going public, to come and see their film.
When they started the film Trailer was very simple, who started in it and a very basic idea of what the film was about and in most case it was just the star and title of the film.

Today for each film you get roughly 3 trailers, a teaser that is realised a year to six months before it’s film is realised and two main trailers, normal realised 3 months before the film is realised.

The teaser trailer is no more than 30 seconds long given you the stars name, title of the film and some times the directors name, or a producer that has had a very successful film. It’s also gives a little footage from the film without giving anything way.

But today’s main Trailers give you all the information of the Teaser trailer and 2 to 3 minutes of footage form the film.
The main problem with the full length film trailers is that in those 2 to 3 minutes of footage, they give you all the best parts of a film and some times even goes as far as ruining the ending of the film.
Of course this not the case for all films realised today, but is for most.

The film trailer has become an art forum in it own right, but has it lost it way?
Well yes and no, it not the fault of the editors putting the trailer together, but rather the film studio. The studios wants to get people to come and see their films, and the trailer was the best way to do this.

If a film can stand on it own, then the trailers tends not to give much away. A good recent example of this is Avatar. Though all the trailers did hammer home that it was a James Cameron film and what his past success where. The trailer did not give too much away. Yes it showed a lot of the action, but it also made sure that that you would be in for a fun action packed film.
Sure the film was lacking in some places and that a discussion in own right.
But the trailer delivered what you expected to see in the film.

However if a studio feels that a film can’t stand on it own, they throw everything at the trailer to get you to come and see it.
This means putting the best parts of the film into it, any producer that has a success also gets their name thrown in to. But does that mean anything?
No, not really the Producer is just the money man/ woman, they only control over the film is the director, it’s not there vision put on the screen that of the directors.
These are the trailers that don’t deliver. You expect to see an entertaining film and what you get is a lack lustre of a film, which often leave you wondering why you just spent your hard earn cash on said movie.

Give the media today the cinema going public knows more about a film even before the first teaser trailer is realised. By the time the full trailer comes out, they already know everything there is to know about a film and can already know if it going to be a success or bomb at the box office.

This leads to the question why are such weak films being made?
Well that is a discussion for another time. But I will leave you with one of my favourite movie trailers of all time.

It is simple; the star names only appear at the end and not in your face. There is no dialogue, only sound. The first half of the trailer has you wondering what it is your looking at and then it hit you, but at the same time never giving away anything major form the film and leaves you with one of cinema best tag lines and wanting more.



5 responses

  1. Good article, Dean. You hit the nail on the head. I love watching old trailers on DVDs (even though I’m about to watch or just watched the movie) but with movies released nowadays I hardly care. The old trailers were great, most of the newer ones are stinky. And I HATE it when they show the best parts on the trailers. Then you go and watch the movie and say, “what the frack was that?” (that ticks me off to no end)

    The TV spots are the worse, IMO. They try to pack as much of the movie as they can into 30 seconds and a lot of times they don’t make sense. Then they run the thing 2 to 4 times during an hour show. (sometimes more) I get so sick of those.

    I agree, the Alien trailer is awesome. I always watch it when I watch my DVD. 🙂

    08/04/2011 at 17:34

  2. Thanks Chris.

    I did not cover TV Spot, as we don’t really have them here in the UK, and when we do it normal for the summer blockbusters.

    08/04/2011 at 20:36

    • Count yourself lucky. Sometimes the run a TV spot to death here in the US. They’ve actually had the reverse effect on me that they’re supposed to and made me NOT want to see a movie that I had been interested in because I got sick of the TV spots. But that’s all dependent on the studio and how much they spend on advertising.

      09/04/2011 at 16:05

  3. Pingback: Second Prometheus Trailer « Freak Art

  4. William Lyons

    I am in the entertainment Industry and can’t agree more . The whole Industry changed and I would love to say for best , BUT we know better . I am in the process along with a very specialized team of people in our new company to do just that , bring BACK what the people WANT, THE MOVIES , THE TRAILERS , THE WAY IT USED TO BE , THE WAY IT SHOULD BE . Everything you all want , and should have as Entertainment will soon be back .

    24/08/2013 at 08:36

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