It’s finally that night you’ve been dreaming of and you get to the theater, you go buy some popcorn and a soda, then you head toward your movie theater. It’s time to start the movie, but you get that familiar green block that reads “The following PREVIEW has been approved for ALL AUDIENCES”. For some people, like me, this part is almost as exciting as the movie itself. This is where we get to see future glimpses of what will be coming out soon.
Many of us may not think of movie trailers as advertising because they aren’t called that. They are called “trailers” or previews. The funny thing about calling a preview a trailer is because it doesn’t trail anything. Well, not anymore at least. A little bit of interesting trivia is that theaters used to show movies consecutively. So after the first showing was over, previews, or trailers were shown for upcoming features following the showing of the movie which lead to the next showing of the movie (Staff, 2007). The audiences could stay as long as they liked back then (Staff, 2007). In today’s world, the trailer comes before the movie.
As I stated before, trailers are advertisements. They are giving us just enough of a sneak peak to see the future and get us hungry to buy their product which means coming back to the movie theater and seeing the movie. Sometimes though, the advertised isn’t what you wanted. Drive was a movie that came out in 2011 and one consumer was so upset that the movie was nothing like the preview that she filed a lawsuit claiming the film “bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film” which it seemed to be advertised as (Child, 2011). She also attacked the movie for other reasons, but this was an extreme example where the movie didn’t fit what she had expected based on the advertised.
I had a similar experience when I went to see the movie Alexander in 2004. This movie, based on trailers, looked to be an epic picture showcasing Alexander the Great’s military conquests. I remember the trailer showcased what looked to be epic battles, speeches, and maybe a little love story. Boy was I incredibly WRONG. The movie was pretty much a 2 hour sex advertisement that focused on Alexander’s sexual conquering of both males and females, rather than his militaristic conquering. There may have been 20 minutes of battles, but the rest was sex or people lusting creepily at each other. This is one time where I demanded my money back after seeing it. The product was not as advertised.
Trailers really are the lifeblood of the film industry. They’ve evolved from the 30’s where they were “simple newsreel-style sequences of movie clips” to “…more sophisticated graphics…narration and musical scores” (Staff, 2007). The hype behind trailers has evolved even more past that because now we have teaser trailers for trailers. Trailers are becoming a hot item and advertisers have smartened up to create hype and get us, the consumer, to view more by going online to their YouTube page or official site. This was especially put into practice with the just recently passed Super Bowl. It’s truly genius and I’m one of those who falls for it so often.
The movie I’m most anticipating right now is the next Captain America movie. Can’t wait to see the Russo brothers turn Cap the badass he is in the comics:
Staff. (2007, November 06). Why are they called “trailers” if they’re shown before the movie? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2270/why-are-they-called-trailers-if-theyre-shown-em-before-em-the-movie
Child, B. (2011, October 10). Woman sues to stop drive getting away with a ‘misleading’ trailer. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/oct/10/woman-sues-drive-trailer
Marvel Studios. (Producer). (2014, February 02). Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Trailer 2 (OFFICIAL) [Web Video]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/7SlILk2WMTI