If you’ve been to the movies over the past year or two, even a tenth of the amount of times I have, this thought has probably crossed your mind: “Why in the world did they show the trailer for that in front of this?”
Back in the day, there was usually a reason why specific trailers played before specific movies. These previews were for films that had similar storylines or were going after similar audiences. Even the studio of the movie you were seeing, which gets to choose two (sometimes three) trailers of their own upcoming releases, skewed them towards similar movies they had on deck.
But these days, all rules are out the window. It’s all about getting butts in seats and studios don’t care what it takes!
The other day I attended a screening of “Book Club: The Next Chapter”. Studio Focus Features played the trailer for “Asteroid City”, Wes Anderson’s latest quirky all-star comedy opening in June. That makes sense. It’s definitely going after the target 55+ crowd of “Book Club”.
Focus also showed the trailer for intersex documentary “Every. Body.” I’m sure the subject matter took some older moviegoers in attendance at these “Book Club” screenings around the country by surprise. And Universal (the parent company of Focus) also okay’d the trailer for DreamWorks animated feature “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” to play. Maybe the marketing heads thought grandmas might mention it to their grandkids. Or maybe A.I. selected this choice because they heard “Book Club” star Jane Fonda’s voice in the trailer.
What’s the point of showing “The Flash” trailer and a red-band “Strays” preview before “Beau Is Afraid”? These films have NOTHING in common. Interesting to show “Barbie” and “Blue Beetle” previews before “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” considering most four to eight year olds won’t be going to either.
Before “Big George Foreman” I watched the trailers for faith-based drama “Ordinary Angels”, “Fast X”, “The Flash”, musical “Journey to Bethlehem” (opening this Christmas) and “The Equalizer 3”. Quite a variety!
Sony’s two studio choices in front of romance “Love Again” — the Sony Classics drama “The Miracle Club” with Laura Linney, Kathy Bates and Maggie Smith, and Columbia’s hard R comedy “No Hard Feelings” starring Jennifer Lawrence. Polar opposites!
Does the “About My Father” trailer make sense in front of “Dungeons & Dragons”, or the “Haunted Mansion” trailer before “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”? No. What about a “Chevalier” preview before “Magic Mike’s Last Dance”? They’re both romance movies, but it still feels like a bit of a stretch.
Most of the trailer choices these days feel that way.