Trailers, they act as the great catalyst for whether the film which they’re promoting is going to be popular or not. It determines the audience’s interest. I’m always a big fan of trailers. They hook me into the film and get me interested in the movie’s narrative. I always like watching a teaser trailer which doesn’t spoil the whole film for me. However, I’ve noticed that the way trailers are being marketed has radically changed over recent years. You now have an official trailer, which I can understand. It shows more of the film, to develop the audience’s intrigue.
A large amount of film companies are releasing two or three official trailers now. Some companies are now releasing international trailers. It’s very effective. I try to avoid these trailers as much as possible however, because by the end of it, you can pretty much put the film together yourself! Film companies are even releasing clips from their films now. I couldn’t believe it when this started becoming a thing. Films like Wonder Woman for example. Online Media companies, have been releasing clips from the actual film and it has just recently been released in UK cinemas. I feel that whilst it is nice to have a little sneak peak to find out if the film is any good, is releasing actual clips taking this a bit too far? Is it not ruining the film?
Even trailers by themselves are giving too much of the narrative away. For example, take a look at the official trailer 2 for Terminator Genisys (2015). Whilst I love watching Arnie in action any day, this trailer gives one of the biggest plot points away. I certainly wouldn’t have expected that from an official trailer. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen the film, but it literally displays the twist of who the villain is in the film. Trailers have become so much of a trouble in spoiling the plot, I try to avoid viewing trailers as best as possible.
Another example is the film Cast Away (2000). The film tells the story about Chuck Noland, who is a Fed Ex executive that gets stranded on the island after his plane crashes. Now this film is absolutely brilliant and I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. However, if I watched the trailer, I wouldn’t have even bothered to watch the movie, as it literally tells the ending. Seriously, the trailer actually shows you what happens at the end of the film. Feel free to watch it if you like, but there would be no point in buying the film. A movie trailer is meant to entice the audience, not ruin the whole plot.
However, not all trailers are that bad I guess. A brilliant film company which constructs amazing trailers is the film company A24. A24 is only a recent entertainment company which has been conquering Hollywood. The company has distributed various acclaimed films and they have also garnered their first ever oscar for best picture. This was for their film Moonlight (2016). Whilst it has proven successful in producing films, it has also proven to be very successful in producing trailers. Take a look at the official trailer here for ‘It Comes At Night (2017),’ if you haven’t already seen it.
Now whilst it provides the story line of a family surviving against an unknown entity, it never displays who the villain is. This makes the villain seem more menacing as it is left to the audiences imagination. It uses a large amount of quick cuts displaying action which gives the trailer excitement. It also establishes all the typical elements for a horror film. For example, it displays really dark lighting and a dark setting and implies that there is some sort of dark fantasy like creature which is hunting down the lead characters.
In conclusion, whilst trailers play a pivotal role in the marketing of a film, perhaps it is best to tease the audience more rather than tell the entire story.