Matt’s 4 Reasons Why Trailers Ruin Movies
Don’t worry, I love movie trailers just as much as the next person. To be honest, sometimes they can be the best part about a movie-going experience. The 15 minutes of trailers before every film gets the audience ready for their experience. While you’re at home, nodding off to thousands of commercials, these trailers are shown to catch your interest and potentially make you pay money to see something at your local cinema.
Trailers are one of the film industry’s marketing methods, and it’s understandable because this industry is a business as well as a form of entertainment. Money needs to be made if production companies want to make more films and distribute them across the world. So, trailers have a substantial purpose to that effect, but what about the effect of our own personal movie-going experience? Haven’t you ever caught yourself watching a movie and then realizing it’s not what you hoped for? What’s the first thing you think of or blame when you start feeling that way? Your mind shoots straight to the trailer, blaming it for either ruining the film or downright lying to you about it.
They are great marketing tools, but in the end, they ruin movies. Here are my 4 reasons why.
4. They Hype You Up
“They are supposed to hype you up!” Yeah, but too much hype can even ruin a great film through the disappointment of it not quite “meeting” your expectations.
Let’s be honest here, trailers get you excited about upcoming films. If you’re excited about it, then most likely you’re going to be at the theater during opening weekend with your wallet open. This kind of hype and excitement before the film is even released seldom leaves you satisfied, though. Take “The Last Airbender” for example. A very popular cartoon show was finally getting the live-action film it deserved, or so we thought. The film’s trailers are the pinnacles of awesomeness and excitement all wrapped into glorious bundles. Some of its trailers were glorified teasers that didn’t use any footage from the film, which we of course didn’t know at the time. Then they released trailers with actual movie footage, and everyone got more and more hyped. Even if you weren’t a fan of the show, these trailers piqued your interest. The problem was the film was a complete dud, leaving audiences highly upset around the world.
All of that hype ended up contributing to everyone’s disgust and disappointment. In the broad scope of things, the trailers were possibly the only way of getting people to come to the movie, besides the content’s success in the animated world, but the trailer made a bad film even worse by hyping you up for it, amplifying the realization that you just wasted your money.
3. They Manipulate The Genre
This doesn’t apply to every trailer ever made, but haven’t you gone to see a movie and then realized it’s totally different than what you anticipated? For example, you were expecting a raunchy comedy but ended up seeing a sweet romantic comedy. Or how about expecting a horror movie but then it ends up being a Drama about ghosts (It’s happened before). Sometimes trailers manipulate your mind into thinking the film is something completely different than it really is. Take the film “Watchmen” for example. The trailer didn’t fool me for one second because I was a fan of the book. So, when I saw all the great action moments in the trailer, I knew those were going to be the ONLY action moments of the entire film. I had friends saying, “Can’t wait to see ‘Watchmen.’ It’s got some cool action.” I kept my mouth shut, because I wanted to see their reaction after the film.
Now, this wasn’t a bad film. I was just a little disappointed because I’m a fan of the graphic novel. But I had a friend complain all the way home about how the film was “boring” and “had no action.” “Watchmen” is a mystery with SOME action elements added into it. I knew that going in, but many people didn’t, and many people were disappointed because they didn’t get the film they hoped for. So, in their eyes, a trailer manipulated their expectations into falsehood and ruined the experience.
2. They Give Away (Critical) Moments
Usually, trailers use footage from the film in order to make the best promotion and advertisement. But, have you ever watched a film and think its about to end but then you remember a moment in the trailer you haven’t seen in the film yet? This is terrible for comedies because their trailers usually have all of the funniest moments in them. This also applies to tragedies and thrillers as well. Right before the big twist or harrowing ending, the audiences’ minds might go to the trailer and ask, “Now, is this it or is there more to this story?” That’s when they realize, “Oh, that moment hasn’t happened yet!” So, any kind of surprise or emotional resonance from a big twist or sad death is sucked out, all because of one image or one sequence in a trailer.
The trailer for the film “S.W.A.T.” did this for me. In the trailer, it blatantly states the big twist that occurs late in the film, when its revealed that an ex-S.W.A.T. officer has bought into the main antagonist’s promise of $100 Million for whoever springs him from police custody.
Putting this bit of information in a trailer, as a tool to draw people in, ruined any kind of shock from the big twist. Now, if you never saw the trailer, you had a better experience. For those, like me, who watched the trailer thousands of times, we got a fun film, but what was supposed to be a “great” moment or major setback felt lackluster because we were already expecting it to happen.
1. They Take Away The Magic
All of this brings me to my final reason, and its kind of a culmination of everything. I’ll be honest about something; my movie-going experiences have been MUCH better ever since I stopped watching trailers. I keep up with what’s in theaters through newspapers and websites, but I stay away from reviews and trailers because I don’t want anything to ruin the magic for me.
Films are magic. Stories are magic. Reveal critical bits of information or show the best scenes and the magic is gone. Knowing anything about the plot or the characters completely takes you out of the film’s immersive nature. It’s so thrilling to go to a movie theater, pick a random movie and then watch something that’s a complete mystery to you. This way, you get to experience the characters, the story and the emotions like they were originally intended to be presented. That’s what it was like in the old days, but through the invention of a great marketing tool, people don’t experience everything a film has to offer anymore.
I like the avenue a lot of teaser trailers have turned onto. Making short, sweet trailers that raise awareness about the film, but they do not reveal too much information. I’ve seen teasers that didn’t use ANY footage from the film, and then I watched the final product. In no way, shape or form did the teaser ruin anything for me. The teaser was 30 seconds of advertisement that didn’t reveal plot, characters or twists. It only raised my awareness about the film’s existence. Even if the film was bad, I wouldn’t have blamed the teaser because it wasn’t its fault this time around.
I think more companies moving their trailers in this direction would benefit the film industry and movie-going experiences all across the world. But, just make sure the film is good before it’s released. Without doing that, you won’t please anyone.