The rise and rise of the trailer

Katie Read discusses whether trailers-for-trailers make or break the film hype

NUSU
2nd November 2015

don’t know about the rest of you, but one of my favourite things about going to the cinema is watching the trailers for all the upcoming films, whether it’s yet another cheesy rom-com, or something a bit more meaty. However, trailers themselves are now having their own release dates and almost as much importance is given to them as to the film itself. So, why is this happening?

Well, at the core, it’s just trying to appeal to an audience to go and watch their film. You need to put as much of the storyline in the trailer to get the audience interested without actually giving the whole thing away – something, which, actually, many trailers fail to do, pretty much becoming their own mini-film. Take Never Let Me Go, for example. Brilliant film, but the trailer does spoil the plot, instead of keeping it more mysterious. And then on the other side, there are some ‘comedy’ films, where all the good stuff is in the trailer and there is little to no point of watching the film at the cinema. Films need the hype to get an audience into the cinema, especially that all important first weekend of release, where the box office takings usually predicts the success of the film overall – if it’s a flop on the opening weekend, who really wants to go and watch it?

“Star Wars in the US, it also announced early ticket sales, and as a result, broke the Internet faster than Kim Kardashian’s derriere”

Movie posters used to be plastered just about everywhere in cities and towns to promote new films, all brightly coloured with the latest stars to pull in their audiences. But trailers have now far overtaken them in terms of importance. Trailers are far more accessible to today’s audience who, let’s face it, are constantly on their phones, tablets or laptops, always connected to the internet. It’s then a lot simpler to upload a trailer on YouTube and wait and watch for people to share it.

But the negative side of internet promotion is that many people are really keen to leak trailers, photos from the shooting of the film, or even just spoilers, especially from big blockbuster films. For example, at Comic-Con in July, the trailer for the film Suicide Squad was screened, something which the production team meant to be a surprise for the people attending. However, as things like this usually are, people then filmed and leaked the trailer online. This then forced the studio to release the official trailer, months before planned.

“So, really, isn’t it us as the audience who are making trailers so important in the build-up to the film release?”

But then there are films that are able to make the most of their trailers to really boost hype from the audience – the new Star Wars film is one really good example of this. Only three days after its release, it had nearly hit 45 million views on YouTube. In comparison, the last Harry Potter film had just over 20 million for two trailers. On the release of the Star Wars in the US, it also announced early ticket sales, and as a result, broke the Internet faster than Kim Kardashian’s derriere.

So, really, isn’t it us as the audience who are making trailers so important in the build-up to the film release? There’s a lot of hype around some films, like Suicide Squad, that unfortunately means that trailers and spoilers are leaked. Here, we’re our own worst enemies in actually ruining the film-going experience for ourselves, but also the ones bigging up the role of trailers in the film industry.

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