Does anyone remember the days of wanting to get to the cinema extra early so as not to miss a minute of the trailers? Those were good times, weren’t they?
Since social media wasn’t dominant like it is today, there was no way of knowing what trailers would play before the main feature, resulting in great surprises most of the time. To this day, I still remember the awestruck feeling I had after seeing the trailers for Watchmen and The Dark Knight Rises for the first time ever in a movie theatre. Although they barely showed any footage, the words “In 2009, everything we know will change,” and the iconic Batman symbol followed by the words “Summer 2012” were all it took to get me excited. Sadly, those days are now extinct.
A couple of years ago, I started to notice that the marketing for film trailers had drastically changed – and not for the better. When the trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle was released, several people commented that it gave away something major: Harry (Colin Firth) had survived the events of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Had I seen the first film before watching the trailer for The Golden Circle, I would have likely been upset that such a crucial plot point had been revealed in the marketing as well.
Last year, one of the films I was highly anticipating, Upgrade, did this in their trailer as well, which made me angry. Just weeks before its release, I watched the Red Band – R-Rated – trailer for it and was wowed by all the gory action it displayed. To my displeasure, however, I discovered that every action sequence in the film was shown in that trailer, completely eliminating the element of surprise Upgrade called for. Thankfully, that didn’t make the film any less fantastic.
This new trend of revealing way too much in trailers, unfortunately, shows no signs of stopping as several films from this year such as Pet Sematary and Brightburn have done this with their marketing. Hours after the second Pet Sematary trailer was released, the horror community quickly commented that a huge change from both King’s novel and the 1989 adaptation was given away. To remain unspoiled, I obviously stayed off social media and was fortunate to not have my local theatres play it before the films I saw. Even if we try our hardest to avoid spoilers from a highly anticipated trailer, it’s inevitable that the cinema will show it at some point, which is really unfortunate. Speaking of the trailers, does anyone else get bored as soon as they start to play? We get it, you want us to see these movies, but for Pete’s sake don’t show them on a repeated loop.
I’m happy that new trailers such as Blumhouse’s The Hunt (which has now been taken down) and Christopher Nolan’s extremely anticipated Tenet are being shown in theatres before they hit social media, but marketing methods need to keep changing. Film agencies should follow the Avengers: Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker formula, which might lead to favorable results for both audiences and agencies. Both the marketing for Avengers: Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker’s trailers succeeded in engaging and exciting audiences by just teasing bits of huge moments in the film. Because of that, Endgame was able to deliver a truly epic, emotional finale and leave moviegoers satisfyingly shell shocked. Hopefully, The Rise of Skywalker will have the same end result.
Wouldn’t it be best to have people buzzing and speculating about a trailer for weeks instead of having discussion rapidly decline because the entire plot was shown in two minutes and thirty seconds?