No one denies that the cinema is an industry. Even the so-called alternative circuit, with its Iranian, French and A24 films, has a commercial pattern. But this is for another text. I point to the commercial side of cinema to locate the logic of trailers.
They practically appeared together as a director of photography. In the mid-1910s, film clips were shown at the end of screenings to bring audiences back to the cinema. Before long, these exhibits moved to the start of the session. Since then we have tried to highlight what the film should be unique!
Looking at the history of trailers helps you understand what was appealing about each era. Between the 1920s and 1940s, when Hollywood stars were the main draw on screens, the trailers made them stand out. From the narration to the signs, everything distinguishes the actors.
In the New Hollywood era, trailers were gaining sophistication, but they were still tied to today’s archaic conventions, such as the use of a narrator. As directors have become a gadget, their names have grown in importance as well. There were still common phrases calling audiences to the movies. Until 1960, trailer production in the United States was a monopoly of the National Screeen Service.
The ’80s and’ 90s trailers featured the spectacle of watching a movie. It was the start of the era of blockbusters and overproductions. Showing the epic scale and special effects, the trailers were a reminder that the full experience would only be achieved on the big screen, mirroring competition from video rental companies. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the figure of the narrator disappeared from the trailers.
With the Internet, watching trailers has become an even more popular activity. The Los Angeles Times found that in 2015, 35 million hours were seen in movie trailers. For Hollywood today, more than promoting the film, the trailer guides the debate among fans, stoking fandom.
Trailer without images of the film (“Citizen Kane”, by Orson Welles), trailer of musical comedy without music (“A woman is a woman” by Jean-Luc Godard) or trailer that seeks to disturb ( “The Exorcist”, by William Friedkin) are a few curiosities that fill the history of cinema. Even the most avant-garde, the trailer hasn’t lost its character as a piece of propaganda, which explains certain fashions in each season. Below are four fashions that have become addictions to current trailers:
Trailer that tells the whole story
The trailer is the art of revealing to the point that it engages the audience, without spoiling the pleasure of discovery. Apart from that part of the audience who are disgusted with any detail of the story (for her, I suggest not seeing the trailer) and the one who likes to know the ending to decide whether or not to watch the movie (there there are more people like this than you can imagine), go ahead for me), most people don’t want to see the whole plot in the trailer. It must convey the general feeling of the work and the basic information of the plot, letting the audience know what they will see.
Of course, until we see the movie, we don’t know if the whole story is summed up in it. But, when you leave the session room realizing that you received a spoiler in the trailer, the anger comes! But, as they say, we have already paid for the ticket. The trailer did its job.
Alexander Davis, a film expert, explains that according to one psychological theory, audiences tend to like him best when they know what’s going to happen. This explains why many trailers have delivered important information. Especially on blockbusters, delivering the narrative in the trailer doesn’t give the assurance that he’ll find what he wants. In the case of a lesser-known film, this is the way not to displease the audience, to ensure that they don’t have any surprises – in short, the antithesis of what a good film should be. .
In a trailer that wants to spoil itself, the important thing is that you can tell as much as you can without leaving the audience feeling like they already know the whole story.
Deliver the main and best scenes
Similar to the previous one, but it can happen even without explaining much of the story’s progression, like comedy trailers that don’t count the plot, but anticipate the best jokes. Or the horror film that anticipates the greatest fears. Or in action movies which use the most spectacular scenes.
The intention is also to assure the consumer (yes, at such times the audience ceases to be a spectator and becomes a simple consumer, who cannot buy something bad) that they will receive a producer of quality. The drug is that it harms the experience when it doesn’t completely ruin it!
One example is the big ‘The Impossible’, which, despite being a spectacular drama, brings all of the tsunami scenes into its trailer to sell the production as “action”.
Best moments from the trailer before the trailer
To beat the speed of YouTube or the Instagram and Facebook feed, a sort of preview of what will be seen in the trailer started being included before the trailer starts.
Very common in action, adventure, and horror movies, right from the start of the video we watched for a few seconds with the most impactful footage we’ll see in the trailer. They always have something like “Next, movie trailer …”
This is especially common when the trailer is placed as an advertisement on YouTube videos. It doesn’t spoil the experience of the trailer itself, it’s just something deeply irritating and symptomatic of our time.
Changed or fake scenes
I’m not talking about films that, in post-production, excluded the scenes that were in the trailer. I’m talking about intentionally including a fake scene or modifying a scene, like the last Avengers movies.
Studios say they preserve the audience experience. Well, it borders on deceptive advertising. Now, if you don’t want to reveal something, then don’t put it in the trailer.
I admit that I don’t know what’s worse, putting on a fake scene or modifying one that we will see in the movie. It is also a reflection of the excess of trailers for the same film.
“ Panic 4 ” won a spectacular trailer, but several scenes seen were cut or edited in the film, as the youngsters discussed the fate of Sidney Prescott and the opening death streak, which was modified.
Change the tone of trailers when audiences don’t like it, or promises something and the movie doesn’t hold up
Do you know that when they release a trailer, the audience doesn’t get excited and make it a new revamped version? Look, I don’t even think it’s a sin when the two versions of the trailer, while antagonistic, are true to the movie. It turns out that this is rare when we have these changes. Usually one of the trailers is misleading. Like ‘Iron Man 3’.
This situation ends up being close to another truly hateful one: the trailer that sells something that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie. The saddest thing is when good movies are compromised by bad disclosure. This often happens when the producers direct the movie to an audience that won’t appreciate it. This is the saddest situation for me, because the audience loses twice: those who went to see the film, leave disappointed, while the real audience of the film does not even know it exists!
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