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Who decides which trailers appear before a film?

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Who decides which trailers appear before a film?

Old 12-30-08, 11:27 PM
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Who decides which trailers appear before a film?

So I'm at a 1:30 showing of Valkyrie today and was very surprised to see this crop of trailers prior to the film: The Jonas Brothers, Underworld 3, Taken, State of Play, Unborn, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, and Hotel For Dogs.

More annoying than the 20+-minutes worth of trailers and ads was the utter stupidity in running ads for Unborn and Hotel for Dogs a.) practically back-to-back, and b.) prior to a movie geared to an older crowd. Seriously, there were audible gasps from the mostly elderly matinee crowd during the Unborn segment.

My question: Does the theater operator decide which ads get spliced onto the reel, or is that already decided by the studio?

Last edited by TimeandTide; 12-30-08 at 11:34 PM.
Old 12-31-08, 12:17 AM
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My guess is that it's a studio decision, and that guess is based on the fact that several trailers are deliberately scheduled to be shown prior to specific movies, to the extent that some people will pay just to see the trailer and walk out of the film they paid to see (Star Wars Episode 1 trailer was a huge hit, while people simply walked out of the film it was attached to, Meet Joe Black)

There are several examples of this, but that's the one that most easily comes to mind.
Old 12-31-08, 12:18 AM
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They had a Bolt trailer before The Dark Knight, and last night some Earth documentary trailer before Frost/Nixon.

I did see Vantage Point's trailer before virtually everything I saw between December and February last year (No Country for Old Men, Walk Hard, Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood, some others I can't remember), and every time I saw that trailer I became increasingly more frustrated.

If I saw that Jonas Brothers trailer before anything, especially a PG-13 or R movie, I'd probably want to firebomb the projection room.
Old 12-31-08, 05:04 AM
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When I worked in a movie theater (many, many years ago), there were some specific trailers (maybe one or two, usually from the same studio as the film) with the movie but the theater managers chose the additional ones to run with it.

There were some usual rules - no rated R films with G or PG films and we tried to match them up with the target audience but based on some I've seen in the past I'm not sure most theaters bother to do that.
Old 12-31-08, 05:10 AM
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Studios will pick them at any chain theatre. We'll get sent a programming list along with the trailers to attach. Checkers are sent out to make sure we don't deviate.
Old 12-31-08, 03:08 PM
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I used to put trailers on films when I worked as a projectionist.
Most films have an attached trailer from the studio right before the film begins.
They also send about 6 or 7 trailers "in the can" that comes in the same canisters or box that the film comes in.
Also in the projection booth are trailers for films that have accumulated or have came in seperate promotional shipments.
I know when I worked I would love put trailers for movies that had good trailers or looked good even though there was no chance in hell we would get the movie in my shitty little town. We were only supposed to put 5 trailers on the film at most even though the head office would usually only want us to put 3 at most. I always put as many trailers on the film as I could get away with cause I love trailers personnally.
I remember putting trailers for Garden State, Stander, and the Clearing on the Notebook. We never got any of those 3 films. I put a trailer for Spike Lee's She Hate me on Anchorman. Never got that of course.

I too have seen some absolutely crazy choices in trailers in the past year or so. Fools Gold and a bunch of other chick flicks attached to Sweeney Todd. WTF? Earth and a bunch of other PG movies attached to Miracle at St. Anna. pretty strange.
Old 12-31-08, 11:36 PM
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What's also a sad state of the times is when you see two trailers back to back that have the same music.

See: The Proposal and The Ugly Truth. Both trailers sample from Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" song.
Old 01-01-09, 06:44 AM
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At AMC, the last one or two trailers prior to the movie starting will be by the same studio as the movie in question. The rest are chosen by the booth staff when building the print.

Recently I was baffled as to why, at both of our theaters I saw the movie at, we had Bedtime Stories and Confessions of a Shopaholid attached to Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Old 01-01-09, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for the answers, guys. Been going to the movies for years and had never seen that many trailers before a flick, and such an ecelctic mix of movies. (Seriously, I thought the woman in front of me was going to faint during the trailer for Unborn during the bit of the guy's head doing a 360. And this just after a trailer for Jonas Bros.)

The Arclight in Los Angeles does it right: No ads at all, two trailers max (usually for top tier films...before The Wrestler I saw trailers for Watchmen and Wolverine), and an employee stands in front of the theater and introduces the show.

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