On Monday morning, after saying my prayers for the employees nationwide working at Taco Bell, I rolled back into bed and watched the most recent “Avengers,” “Ant-Man” and “Star Wars” movie trailers for the 457th time. After watching Han Solo and Chewbacca fade to black for the 23rd time in one sitting, I asked myself an important question: do I have a problem?
Then, instead of confronting that issue, I posed another question to myself instead: is too much information in trailers spoiling movies?
It’s been a crazy month for film previews, as April housed new trailers for “Ant-Man,” “Jurassic World,” “Mad Max,” “Star Wars: The Force Awaken,” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (more if you count those awesome “Age of Ultron” clips Marvel’s been promoting).
Marketing a movie is tricky, and no matter how anticipated a film may be, there’s definitely a ton of pressure on studio PR departments to get people to come to their films.
But there’s no doubt that trailers in the present have become more littered with spoilers than ever before. Years ago, a much younger me stared wide- eyed at the big screen, listening to a narrator with a ridiculous voice (that stereotypical one for action movies) accompanied by random shots of action, comic relief and drama. The film’s biggest plot twists or CGI heavy moments weren’t in the preview at all, those treasures were reserved for the actual movie.
In the move to summer blockbuster territory, these films depend on the numerous television spots, extended previews, clips, trailers and even trailers for trailers to do the heavy lifting in regard to advertising. Some of these bits even reveal twists that people would rather not see.
In response to the new trailer for “Terminator: Genisys,” there was a backlash from fans for unveiling a surprise detail about John Connor that should have maybe been saved for the movie (perhaps Paramount and Skydance Productions have other tricks up their sleeves?).
I’m just as excited as the next person to see interesting details about upcoming movies. They get us excited and pumped up, but where is the line drawn?
I’m an avid supporter of the ‘less is more’ approach, where trailers will reel you in with just enough content, and hint at something really grand, with an unspoken promise that you’ll climax when you see the actual thing happen in the theater.
In a recent article by Vice Magazine, trailer editor Mark Woollen expanded on this concept of trailer making, saying that these previews should be “about information, and they should be provocative, and it’s really about teasing a film.”
But a trailer fails when “it’s not serving the movie, and certainly when it’s revealing too much. That’s a pretty big trailer failure.”
While it’s certainly nice to be ‘wowed’ with exciting details of movies before they come out, (let’s be honest, even when things get spoilery, I’ll still probably see the movie), I can’t help but wonder just how much louder I’d scream in a high-pitched voice if I saw Tony Stark donning his Hulkbuster armor for the first time during the actual two-hour premiere of “Age of Ultron,” or if the look of the newly genetically-spliced Indominus Rex was kept entirely out of the “Jurassic World” trailers.