As a film fan I love seeing trailers for upcoming attractions. There’s always something exciting in knowing that you’re going to get a quick look at what’s in store. While other people are checking their cell phone one last time or making a quick trip to the bathroom these trailers act as an appetizer. The only problem is that more often than not what you see in the 2+ minutes is a random collection of scenes. Recently the trailer for Paul Feig’s upcoming Ghostbusters film got vilified all over the Internet, but I honestly think there’s probably a good movie in there. Today I’m going to look at why people need to stop buying into what marketing shows them and just enjoy a film.
-Lack of Creator Participation-
This is something that truly boggles my mind. Writers, directors, and producers are the people who live with a film for the longest amount of time. They know through and through what makes their story work and how to properly convey it. So why is it that most of the time these people have no real input into how their film will be sold? Studios let their marketing department splice together a trailer with no real context as to how these scenes impact the final film. How can someone who has no real understanding of a film create a promotional piece that properly explains said film?
-Not Working With a Finished Piece-
Studios are always wanting to promote their films as soon as possible. We can sometimes see trailers get released a full year before a film actually makes it’s way to theaters. Often movies haven’t even been finished before rough scenes are handed over to be crafted into a trailer. I’ve seen trailers that haven’t even had their visual effects completed. Looking at the first trailer for The Avengers there’s a scene where cars are exploding in a street for no reason. I found it really odd that cars were just randomly exploding. Next thing you know in the 2nd trailer we see Chitauri flying through the air blowing up these cars. Other times we’ll see trailers that have footage that later got cut from the film. If you have no idea what’s going on with a film how can you properly market it?
-Cutting a Trailer to Make a Movie Better Than it Truly is-
If a studio knows the movie they’ve made it a piece of garbage they don’t want anyone else to know. This means finding a way to make a film look better than it actually is. Example: take a look at the teaser trailer for the 2005 version of Fantastic Four. What we see in that minute and 20 seconds looks like an intense and possibly dark film. What we really got was a light and mildly campy film that was a complete polar opposite from what the trailer conveyed. But in for a minute and 20 seconds it looked like it was going to be awesome.
This is the thing that pisses me off the most about trailers. Often times studios look at a film and don’t even know the best way to sell it. Instead of taking the time to figure it out they sell it as a different genre entirely. I just recently watched The Gift a few days ago and thought it was phenomenal. The funny thing is that I originally had not interest based off the trailer. The movie was sold as a horror film with a creepy stalker harassing a married couple. What the film actually turned out to be was a thriller, mystery, and drama all wrapped into a single story. If there is one thing movie studios hate selling it’s a multi-genre film that doesn’t have any likable lead characters. This film had both of those and the trailer suffered for it.
As usual, what are your thoughts? Have you quit believing trailers because you got burned in the past? Do you continue to watch, but keep some skepticism at hand. Do you think the new Ghostbusters trailer is as bad as the Internet says it is?
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