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Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

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Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Old 02-28-21, 11:20 AM
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Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

This has been something of a trend for quite some time, dating all the way back to 2000's Cast Away. I think it's trailer's job to just get people interested enough to buy a ticket, but they shouldn't give away so much to where one isn't really getting anything new when they finally watch said movie. I think the MCU did a great job of keeping most of Endgame a secret, but I am pretty sure the fact that the movie was a guaranteed success if they had only put out a five second title card is why they were able to show restraint. However, movies like Batman v Superman and Godzilla:KOTM gave away almost everything in their spots. I was enjoying new footage from Godzilla vs. Kong initially, but now they're removing a lot of the mystery and putting too many money shots into the previews IMO.

Do people in charge of marketing believe in keeping anything secret to justify an audience member paying full price to watch (or get a subscription to a service in the case of WB), or do they think if it may put a butt in seats, it's fine to give away everything?
Old 02-28-21, 11:47 AM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Of course they think it's fine. I've heard Zemeckis defend the Cast Away/What Lies Beneath trailers by stating "according to studio research" most people are more willing to see a movie where they know the story already. People don't pick unfamiliar movies because they're afraid they'll be no good. Since they already know everything that happens in this movie, it seems to them like the better choice, because they know they aren't going to be disappointed.
Old 02-28-21, 11:52 AM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Some people were pissed at Million Dollar Baby for not saying it was a pro-assisted suicide movie in the trailers.

I prefer 1 minute teasers that give a feel for a movie over these 2m+ ones that spoil everything.

Old 02-28-21, 12:57 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Once upon a time, Hollywood trailers used to give everything away. I watched the original WHERE EAGLES DARE (1969) trailer recently and it gave a key plot twist away. I went to see the movie the summer it came out and I recall being very surprised by this plot twist so I must not have seen the trailer beforehand. I went on the strength of the reviews it got and the print ads. And I'd only just recently seen my first Clint Eastwood movie (COOGAN'S BLUFF).
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Old 02-28-21, 01:21 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Originally Posted by Crocker Jarmen View Post
Of course they think it's fine. I've heard Zemeckis defend the Cast Away/What Lies Beneath trailers by stating "according to studio research" most people are more willing to see a movie where they know the story already. People don't pick unfamiliar movies because they're afraid they'll be no good. Since they already know everything that happens in this movie, it seems to them like the better choice, because they know they aren't going to be disappointed.
I guess there are two types of movie goers, those who want to know everything about a movie before going in (I might add that these are the types of people who also read spoiler reviews prior to seeing the movie) and people who just want enough to whet their whistle enough to be interested in a movie without knowing a lot about it.

I fall squarely into the latter group. I’m perfectly content knowing only that it’s an “action movie starring Tom Cruise with some badass looking stunts”or “a haunted house movie starring Kevin Bacon where the atmosphere looks creepy”. That’s really all I need to know.
Old 02-28-21, 07:23 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Men in Black 2 trailer revealed all the funny scenes in the movie. No exaggeration.

Terrible movie and the only time I wanted to walk out of the theater.
Old 03-01-21, 07:55 AM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

This never occurred to me as a kid, but the fact that the T-800 was the good guy would have been an amazing twist if that hadn’t been the focus of every trailer.

If you just watch the movie, you don’t get that info at all until the T-800 tells John Connor “Get Down” and starts shooting at the T-1000 in the hallway, It would have seemed logical to audiences that the bad guy from the first movie was still the bad guy, and this new character dressed as a cop was the good guy.

But the T-800 being the good guy would have been an amazing twist, if the marketing hadn’t ruined it.
Old 03-01-21, 08:11 AM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

That's how I played it up with my oldest when I showed it to her the first time last weekend. She loved the first and when there were two she instantly thought there is one terminator and one protector. I think she knew there were two terminators or she could tell from sneaking a peek at the Blu-ray case back, but it wasn't clear the T-800 was a protector this time and she'd seen his mayhem from the first. [EDIT: I clarified with her today: she had zero clue until the mall hallway scene when the T-800 tells John to "Get down," awesome!) And when the T-1000 (offscreen) "punched" the police officer right away she wasn't sure what to think. Then I reminder her Kyle Reese had to get clothes and she agreed. When we got to the hallway situation, she was genuinely surprised, it was awesome. Watching these movies with kids is so fun. We do pausing, skipping, muting, and lots of out-loud narrating to lower tension to something they can handle but they've watched - and enjoyed, and with zero nightmares - tons of great movies this way.

As soon as T2 was done, she said it's a Top 5 movie easy, and practically screamed when she found out there's a T3. (Big surprise, her order is T2, T1, T3, doesn't get why I don't want to show her T4 and T5, and I've got to watch T6 again so I know it well enough for our typical pause/skip/mute regime). She really appreciated the consistency and callbacks to the first and it's true, they really tie together. I think T3 does to some extent, but the first two are really woven tightly, it's great.

I never show the kids trailers. I just say trust me.

Last edited by story; 03-01-21 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 03-01-21, 10:17 AM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

My 17-year-old son loves reading spoilers and once a few years ago he casually admitted he reads the last page of a book before starting it. I about fell out of my chair. Some people are just wired that way., whereas I have stopped watching trailers after an initial teaser - I'm too good at remembering what outfit or situation someone was in in a trailer so when I see the movie I totally know what's coming.

Side note: We also recently went through all of the Terminator movies and he wasn't aware that Arnold was the good guy in T2 either, so that was fun. We watched all six over six weeks (we'd watch WandaVision and then a Terminator movie for the last six weeks). It was interesting - I hadn't ever watched them relatively back-to-back like that and I was surprised that they actually tie together better than I thought. We've now switched to Predator films, then we'll watch Alien films, then he really wants to watch the Aliens vs. Predator movies despite my warnings on their quality. And this interest all comes from Fortnite, actually - many of these characters are now skins in the game and he wants to know the backstory.
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Old 03-01-21, 12:27 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
.... whereas I have stopped watching trailers after an initial teaser - I'm too good at remembering what outfit or situation someone was in in a trailer so when I see the movie I totally know what's coming.

This is exactly me, and this includes not watching "next week previews" for network TV shows (scripted).

If it's a trashy reality show, I don't care and I'll usually watch the next week preview.
Old 03-01-21, 12:30 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

I agree that, for me, there's too many awesome things shown in trailers. It really ruins a lot of surprises that would have been amazing to see in real time. Hulk in the Thor movie would have been a big reveal, as opposed to the central aspect of the trailers. I try to only watch the initial teaser trailers for films with sound. After that, I sometimes watch trailers without sound, but have been changing to not even doing that much. After a while into development, I stop reading articles or going into forum posts that are about movies to try to keep the mystery alive. It's easy to skip those articles, but quite often there's something spoilery in a headline.

As far as introducing movies to my children, I try to avoid giving my impressions prior to watching something. At least negative impressions, as I do still rave about my favorite movies prior to watching them. I want them to go into something with their own expectations. They are different people than I am, and don't have the same feelings I do. Especially for something that I grew up on, waiting a decade or more for a sequel, and then having the inevitable letdown.
Old 03-01-21, 12:37 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

The first time I saw that was the trailer for Swimfan. It was a complete synopsis of the movie.

I assume the marketing department decided that their target audience knows what kind of movies they like, and don't like anything too different.

Found it.


Last edited by Nick Danger; 03-01-21 at 12:44 PM.
Old 03-01-21, 01:03 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

I'll never be able to wrap my head around all the advertising for Ransom in 1996, directed by Ron Howard and starring Mel Gibson, revealing the twist in the story.
Spoiler:
Instead of paying the ransom, Gibson offers it to the public as a bounty on the kidnappers.


This was a year after Mel starred in Braveheart and Howard directed Apollo 13. WTF did the advertising need to do to generate interest?
Old 03-01-21, 01:07 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

Originally Posted by mndtrp View Post
I agree that, for me, there's too many awesome things shown in trailers. It really ruins a lot of surprises that would have been amazing to see in real time. Hulk in the Thor movie would have been a big reveal, as opposed to the central aspect of the trailers. I try to only watch the initial teaser trailers for films with sound. After that, I sometimes watch trailers without sound, but have been changing to not even doing that much. After a while into development, I stop reading articles or going into forum posts that are about movies to try to keep the mystery alive. It's easy to skip those articles, but quite often there's something spoilery in a headline.

As far as introducing movies to my children, I try to avoid giving my impressions prior to watching something. At least negative impressions, as I do still rave about my favorite movies prior to watching them. I want them to go into something with their own expectations. They are different people than I am, and don't have the same feelings I do. Especially for something that I grew up on, waiting a decade or more for a sequel, and then having the inevitable letdown.
I definitely think the Hulk surprise would have been an awesome reveal in theaters, but at the same time the Thor movies definitely needed something to shake off the perception that they were the boring, weak links of the Marvel movies after the first two. I feel like the Hulk reveal was what caused some buzz for the film.
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Old 03-01-21, 02:09 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

As someone that absolutely loathes spoilers, I more or less avoid all trailers these days. Makes finding new things to watch more and more difficult, since I have to rely on brief text descriptions of a movie for judgment.

I think the trend has developed thanks to easy access on the Net for movie chatter and spoiler talk. On some less regulated movie boards, it's hard avoiding spoilers for any popular property. I plan to watch The Mandolarian at some point but already know several key plot points that I didn't want to know. It's just hard avoiding them unless you live off the Net completely.

So studios caved and started tossing in the entire movie into the trailer.
Old 03-01-21, 02:59 PM
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Re: Trailers: How Much is Too Much and Do Studios Care?

I think it also depends on the film. Some movies (most blockbusters) are very plot-driven, shifting focus away from theme or characters or humor. Others are more about those latter things and "spoilers" don't matter as much.

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