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A study shows half of movie fans think trailers show too much of a movie's plot

May. 3, 2013by: Alex Maidy

As someone who works for a movie website, I can say the majority of my time is anticipating new trailers to get a glimpse at upcoming movies to share with all of you. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright awful. But, something that seems to be happening more and more in movie trailers is the abundance of details about the movie itself. There used to be an art to making a good teaser for a movie, something that has gone by the wayside in recent years. I know some friends who refuse to see trailers for movies they really want to see because they don't want anything given away before they see it.

It looks like we are not alone in thinking trailers have gotten out of control.  According to a recent study, 49% of movie-goers think current trailers give away too much footage from the films they are advertising.  That is just about half of those surveyed.  Now, the Internet has become a haven for spoilers and information about movies which may have desensitized many from feeling a trailer gives away too much detail.  The same study found that 19% of those surveyed were deterred from seeing the movie while 24% wanted to see the movie more.

In the end, it may depend on the movie.  For an action movie, you want a glimpse at the action, but not the whole thing.  In the trailers for IRON MAN 3, we see the Air Force One rescue as it begins but not how it ends.  I know the sheer spectacle of that sequence made me want to see the entire scene in a theater.  But, if the movie is a comedy, the trailer really wants to show you how funny it is and may show all the best lines so when you hit the theater you have already seen the biggest laughs.

Something we often say here at JoBlo.com is that a movie sounds good or bad but we will reserve judgement until we see the trailer.  You really can't know much about a movie until you see some scenes in action, but the mystery is sometimes the best part.  Think about what J.J. Abrams was able to accomplish with CLOVERFIELD, SUPER 8, and even STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS by preserving the mystery surrounding the movie you were going to see.

The same survey found that there are two leading items of importance to audiences: trailers (48%) and personal recommendation (46%).  Which matters to you?

Extra Tidbit: Here is what the study found is most important to movie fans: a good plot or storyline to the film (77 percent), the cast (45 percent), the genre (22 percent), the director (20 percent) and the source material it is based on (15 percent).

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+2
4:08PM on 05/05/2013

It's a shame that this is even a question!

Of course they show way too much. How is this even a debate. For the last couple of years I've set in the cinema with my eyes CLOSED during trailers. I'd probably even cover my ears if it wasn't so ridiculous. By now it is getting out of hand, they get longer and cut quicker to show even more so even the fucking trailers need teasers now.

I come to this site everyday, but not to read up on extra info on movies that I know I'm going to see but to get news on upcoming projects like the one
Of course they show way too much. How is this even a debate. For the last couple of years I've set in the cinema with my eyes CLOSED during trailers. I'd probably even cover my ears if it wasn't so ridiculous. By now it is getting out of hand, they get longer and cut quicker to show even more so even the fucking trailers need teasers now.

I come to this site everyday, but not to read up on extra info on movies that I know I'm going to see but to get news on upcoming projects like the one about Luke Evans being the Crow (this is just an example), seeing what my favorite actors, writers or directors are up to next and watching a short teaser of my most anticipated flicks. Other than that I try to stay clear from all the additional photos, spoilers and videos as much as possible because otherwise it is spoiling the fun that I had at the movies 10, 15 or 20 years ago. I learned that the hard way with some movies.
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1:33AM on 05/05/2013
I love watching trailers. I search for them and I can't wait for the next snippet. Yes they do give too much away in SOME trailers. IMO I loved the teaser for Prometheus. It was just enough to pique my interest and get me pumped. It didn't need the full trailer to follow as the teaser did its job. It got my ass in the seat and that's what it was meant to do. As much as a trailer junkie that I am I do wish they would tone them down and not give too much away. A classic example for me was The
I love watching trailers. I search for them and I can't wait for the next snippet. Yes they do give too much away in SOME trailers. IMO I loved the teaser for Prometheus. It was just enough to pique my interest and get me pumped. It didn't need the full trailer to follow as the teaser did its job. It got my ass in the seat and that's what it was meant to do. As much as a trailer junkie that I am I do wish they would tone them down and not give too much away. A classic example for me was The Mask with Jim Carey. I loved when I first saw the trailer and they flogged the shit out of it and showed too much and by the time I got to see it it was like a big yawn fest, the jokes were old, I heard it all before. There should also be a system used for advertising a film like 12 months before a release we get a teaser poster, 6 months the official poster, 2 months a teaser trailer of 30 seconds then a month before a 1 minute trailer showing the bare minimum, a few locales, characters with a bit of dialogue to give us a taste of what it's about. This just my opinion so feel free to shoot me down in flames as it happens a lot around here.
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8:35PM on 05/04/2013

Surprised it wasn't more like 80%...

Slimno0330 is a tool... Sounds like he's the one that's not getting any.
Slimno0330 is a tool... Sounds like he's the one that's not getting any.
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8:33PM on 05/04/2013

Surprised it wasn't more like 80%...

Slimno0330 is a tool... Sounds like he's the one that's not getting any.
Slimno0330 is a tool... Sounds like he's the one that's not getting any.
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4:37AM on 05/04/2013
Anybody remember the trailer for Batman (1989)? Just a few scenes with background music and quickly cut to the golden Batman logo. That's it. That's what trailers should be - make the audiences intrigued to see the actual movies.
Anybody remember the trailer for Batman (1989)? Just a few scenes with background music and quickly cut to the golden Batman logo. That's it. That's what trailers should be - make the audiences intrigued to see the actual movies.
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11:36AM on 05/04/2013
But that's BATMAN+TIM BURTON, two things with built-in fan bases. If I was alive then I'd pay cash just from the words "Batman & Burton" on the same poster.
But that's BATMAN+TIM BURTON, two things with built-in fan bases. If I was alive then I'd pay cash just from the words "Batman & Burton" on the same poster.
8:10PM on 05/04/2013
Or the trailer for Speed (1994) - just a quick summary of bomb on the bus that will be armed if drive above 50 MPH and then quick montage of scenes and actors/actresses. That's it. Enough to intrigue the audiences.
Or the trailer for Speed (1994) - just a quick summary of bomb on the bus that will be armed if drive above 50 MPH and then quick montage of scenes and actors/actresses. That's it. Enough to intrigue the audiences.
6:50AM on 05/05/2013
@DougPlumkin but Star Trek, JJ Abrams, and Star Trek + JJ Abrams has a built in fan base as well, yet Into Darkness releases a new trailer and/or clip every week.
@DougPlumkin but Star Trek, JJ Abrams, and Star Trek + JJ Abrams has a built in fan base as well, yet Into Darkness releases a new trailer and/or clip every week.
4:17PM on 05/07/2013
@Herald Yeah I stopped watching after the first teaser. It's overkill IMO I'm seeing it anyway
@Herald Yeah I stopped watching after the first teaser. It's overkill IMO I'm seeing it anyway
11:12PM on 05/03/2013

Seriously...

Thrillers are the worst offenders and they usually have the twists you want to keep secret. The trailer for new Halle Berry movie showed the entire act by act progression of the movie and looked as if it was daringly close to showing the ending.
Thrillers are the worst offenders and they usually have the twists you want to keep secret. The trailer for new Halle Berry movie showed the entire act by act progression of the movie and looked as if it was daringly close to showing the ending.
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+5
7:54PM on 05/03/2013

Trailer....

Some if the best trailers that I have actually seen were just the teaser. After seeing them I was able to discern the main point, overarching plot, and mood of the film. The teaser for Cloverfield and Unbreakable are two good examples. Some of the worst trailers I have ever seen that come to mind ate the ones for Hart's War and Impossible (that Tsunami picture). The Hart's War trailer created an action feel and ruined the end of the film. The trailer for Imposible was basically a montage of all
Some if the best trailers that I have actually seen were just the teaser. After seeing them I was able to discern the main point, overarching plot, and mood of the film. The teaser for Cloverfield and Unbreakable are two good examples. Some of the worst trailers I have ever seen that come to mind ate the ones for Hart's War and Impossible (that Tsunami picture). The Hart's War trailer created an action feel and ruined the end of the film. The trailer for Imposible was basically a montage of all the major plot points. There literally should have been a spoiler alert at the beginning of the trailer.
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+11
7:44PM on 05/03/2013
Teaser trailers are a lost art and can get an audience way more hyped about a film than a full trailer.
Teaser trailers are a lost art and can get an audience way more hyped about a film than a full trailer.
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5:47PM on 05/03/2013
So glad that this is finally being addressed on a grand scale. It's all very true, if you watch trailers from the 90's and earlier you'll see how they're, more often than not, much more about conveying the mood of the film than telling you what the story is. More than half of today's trailers basically start with a summary of the first 30 to 40 minutes and then a montage of the best bits from the rest of the movie.

Some of the best non-spoiling, yet highly effective mood conveying trailers
So glad that this is finally being addressed on a grand scale. It's all very true, if you watch trailers from the 90's and earlier you'll see how they're, more often than not, much more about conveying the mood of the film than telling you what the story is. More than half of today's trailers basically start with a summary of the first 30 to 40 minutes and then a montage of the best bits from the rest of the movie.

Some of the best non-spoiling, yet highly effective mood conveying trailers of late have been those for Only God Forgives and, surprisingly, The Man of Steel. Let's hope this survey will ring through Hollywood and beyond.
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4:50PM on 05/03/2013

TRUTH

I've been noticing this for a while now esp horror movies they show you the damn being middle and end LOL. So I stopped watching them. You can easily cut a trailer with out showing much and conveying your message and the movie. But for some reason they rather give us the whole fuckin movie in 2mins. The worst is when they show you all the action and you think the movie is going to be bad ass with action and the scenes they showed you were it. That happen so many times with me. Happen with
I've been noticing this for a while now esp horror movies they show you the damn being middle and end LOL. So I stopped watching them. You can easily cut a trailer with out showing much and conveying your message and the movie. But for some reason they rather give us the whole fuckin movie in 2mins. The worst is when they show you all the action and you think the movie is going to be bad ass with action and the scenes they showed you were it. That happen so many times with me. Happen with legion they showed the whole movie in the trailer.
And on a random note ALT-J is really a fuckin solid band.
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4:15PM on 05/03/2013
Trailers should be teaser and theatrical. Look at Cloverfield for a recent example
Trailers should be teaser and theatrical. Look at Cloverfield for a recent example
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3:00PM on 05/03/2013
I don't hate trailers at all, but there are select one's I watch. I don't watch a trailer for a movie I know I am going to see. However; there are two kinds of trailers I do watch. 1: That trailer you cann't miss. 2: There is a movie I'm on the fence about and the trailer gives me the preview I need to decide on my own without reviews or opinions of others. Trailers are useful, but can tell you too much. Use them accordingly.
I don't hate trailers at all, but there are select one's I watch. I don't watch a trailer for a movie I know I am going to see. However; there are two kinds of trailers I do watch. 1: That trailer you cann't miss. 2: There is a movie I'm on the fence about and the trailer gives me the preview I need to decide on my own without reviews or opinions of others. Trailers are useful, but can tell you too much. Use them accordingly.
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2:59PM on 05/03/2013
True some movies do spoil stuff. By that same token, some people are overly sensitive about spoilers. Granted, I don't necessarily want to know everything that's going on in a movie before I see it, but if the movie is well-made, it might not matter. Sometimes it helps me appreciate what the filmmaker is trying to do without worrying about wrapping my head around what I just saw. Other times, it completely robs me of that feeling of awe that can be so infectious. The art of the teaser is alive
True some movies do spoil stuff. By that same token, some people are overly sensitive about spoilers. Granted, I don't necessarily want to know everything that's going on in a movie before I see it, but if the movie is well-made, it might not matter. Sometimes it helps me appreciate what the filmmaker is trying to do without worrying about wrapping my head around what I just saw. Other times, it completely robs me of that feeling of awe that can be so infectious. The art of the teaser is alive and well, but it usually is followed by a full trailer that may or may not show too much.

As for my personal movie-going criteria, usually it's a cross between recommendation (reviews, usually), and a good trailer certainly helps. That's actually the only reason I went to see Dead Man Down, which was well made, but with an utterly mediocre script that didn't go out of its way to be anything more than what it was.
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2:50PM on 05/03/2013
I agree that many trailers tell too much. But I couldn't really tell you what Man of Steel is going to be like.
I agree that many trailers tell too much. But I couldn't really tell you what Man of Steel is going to be like.
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2:44PM on 05/03/2013

depends on the trailer i guess

i know ive seen some and then saw the movie and have been like ok the trailer showed me everything, but i think that is the exception, for the most part trailers dont do that
i know ive seen some and then saw the movie and have been like ok the trailer showed me everything, but i think that is the exception, for the most part trailers dont do that
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2:42PM on 05/03/2013
I constantly see people watch a trailer and then comment "Well, guess I saw the whole thing." How could you possibly fucking know that? Maybe they DID show too much, but you aren't going to know until you see the actual movie. People are just so fucking quick to bitch
I constantly see people watch a trailer and then comment "Well, guess I saw the whole thing." How could you possibly fucking know that? Maybe they DID show too much, but you aren't going to know until you see the actual movie. People are just so fucking quick to bitch
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2:41PM on 05/03/2013
I constantly see people watch a trailer and then comment "Well, guess I saw the whole thing." How could you possibly fucking know that? Maybe they DID show too much, but you aren't going to know until you see the actual movie. People are just so fucking quick to bitch
I constantly see people watch a trailer and then comment "Well, guess I saw the whole thing." How could you possibly fucking know that? Maybe they DID show too much, but you aren't going to know until you see the actual movie. People are just so fucking quick to bitch
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2:39PM on 05/03/2013
Who the shit was polled in this thing? Trailers are 3 minutes of a 2 hour movie. You'll have the nerds and fanboys scream and cry about spoilers - which are overly minor in trailers - but for the rest of us who actually get laid once in a while, we'd like to see what the movie is going to be about. Again, this is 3 minutes of a 2 hour movie - they are not showing you too much. In the words of Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, "Stop whining."
Who the shit was polled in this thing? Trailers are 3 minutes of a 2 hour movie. You'll have the nerds and fanboys scream and cry about spoilers - which are overly minor in trailers - but for the rest of us who actually get laid once in a while, we'd like to see what the movie is going to be about. Again, this is 3 minutes of a 2 hour movie - they are not showing you too much. In the words of Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, "Stop whining."
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2:45PM on 05/03/2013
This movie sure seemed to pack the entire story into two and a half minutes.

[link]
This movie sure seemed to pack the entire story into two and a half minutes.

[link]
3:29PM on 05/03/2013
So you saw Carrie already?
So you saw Carrie already?
3:34PM on 05/03/2013
Thatoneguy, how are you so sure that this is all the movie holds? Maybe there's some twists, some interesting characters we dont see, some scene that lasts more than 2:33
Thatoneguy, how are you so sure that this is all the movie holds? Maybe there's some twists, some interesting characters we dont see, some scene that lasts more than 2:33
8:33PM on 05/05/2013
The problem is, often enough key story points are revealed in a trailer so that any audience member who is somehow not slightly retarded can figure out the plot. I don't know about you but I like to be surprised and not already have an idea of how the movie is going to play out before I've even seen it.
The problem is, often enough key story points are revealed in a trailer so that any audience member who is somehow not slightly retarded can figure out the plot. I don't know about you but I like to be surprised and not already have an idea of how the movie is going to play out before I've even seen it.
2:38PM on 05/03/2013
On Star Trek Into Darkness, why in the hell would Abrams think it was a good idea to release it intentionally a week before North America? The movie is gonna leak online and spoilers are gonna hit!
On Star Trek Into Darkness, why in the hell would Abrams think it was a good idea to release it intentionally a week before North America? The movie is gonna leak online and spoilers are gonna hit!
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2:40PM on 05/03/2013
Then don't go to movie websites and click on articles pertaining to Star Trek for a week. It's not that difficult
Then don't go to movie websites and click on articles pertaining to Star Trek for a week. It's not that difficult
2:41PM on 05/03/2013
I take it this is your first day on the internet.
I take it this is your first day on the internet.
2:47PM on 05/03/2013
That's a studio decision, not the director's.
That's a studio decision, not the director's.
3:35PM on 05/03/2013
I went 8 years without seeing 'Seven'. Didn't see the ending coming at all.
I went 8 years without seeing 'Seven'. Didn't see the ending coming at all.
8:29PM on 05/05/2013
Boo frickin hoo. Contrary to the popular belief of most Americans, the world does not revolve around America. Or you, for that matter.
Boo frickin hoo. Contrary to the popular belief of most Americans, the world does not revolve around America. Or you, for that matter.
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