I used to love movie trailers. But that was before the studios decided to turn each preview into a mini-movie, giving too much of the film away. And now we’re getting multiple trailers of the same movie, making things even worse. I’ve been complaining about this problem for years now, and the situation is not getting any better. Studio marketing departments see trailers as a great way to generate buzz and sell tickets, and they’ve recently begun using some new strategies, which you may or may not have noticed.
It wasn’t that long ago that when you went to the movies there would only be three or four trailers, all of them usually in the same genre, relating to the film you were about to see. And these “previews” would be for movies opening weeks, even months, in the future. But now that’s changed. These days, when it comes to trailers, anything goes.
The number of trailers now shown has doubled, even tripled in some parts of the country. I’ve been “treated” to as many as 10 on more than one occasion. At an average of two and a half minutes each, that could mean up to 25 extra minutes tacked-on to the time spent in your seat before the feature begins.
And there doesn’t seem to be any rules anymore concerning genre. I’ve seen trailers for big, intense action films prior to family movies, and romantic comedy previews in front of dramas. The “Annabelle” trailer did not go over well with the 60+ year-old Denzel Washington crowd at “The Equalizer” screening I was at earlier this month. Theater chains used to be careful about this. Not anymore.
And another new trend is showing trailers for movies that are coming out the following week. This never happened in the past. At the screening of “Fury” I attended last week there was a trailer for the Keanu Reeves action film “John Wick”, which opens this week. So much for planning ahead.
It seems that studios and theaters have simply thrown away the rule book. They’ll show practically any trailer for any film before any movie in hopes of getting even one new person interested in seeing that film.
I hope we never get to a time when there will be clips for “The Pyramid” prior to “Penguins of Madagascar”, but the way things are going nothing would surprise me. If I wasn’t so concerned about getting my ideal seat, I’d consider waiting outside in the lobby and only enter the theater after all the trailers were over.
And that’s sad…because I used to love movie trailers.