Latest Entertainment News Headlines

C'MON HOLLYWOOD: Stop giving away too much in trailers!

03.03.2010

...stop giving away too much in trailers!
by J.A. Hamilton

Movie trailers are the main reason I started surfing the net for websites like JoBlo.com, and have always been a source of excitement for me as I got to gaze and marvel at coming attractions (hell, I used to get angry if I got to the theatre late and missed the trailers as sometimes they turned out to be better than the movie I was there to see). Needless to say, trailers and advertising in general have changed a lot over the years, a fact that hit home rather hard when I started reviewing films and got the chance to revisit old trailers and compare them to now. One thing thatís always drove me nuts though, is a trailer that gives away too much of the damn film.


I would have rather been surprised.

Now I get the whole advertising end of things and will admit that proper advertising can be key, but once a film hits and people see that itís good, word of mouth is just as powerful. That said, what the hell happened to the good old days when we got a teaser and then a trailer!? These days we get both of those (sometimes two teasers), an international trailer, a red band trailer, a half dozen TV spots, making of featurettes and then another half a dozen ďclipsĒ that hit the net all before opening day. In some cases you almost donít even need to see the movie after all this because you already have seen most of what it has to offer as well as any or all the highlights.


I was disappointed in the trailer, but the movie kicked ass.

Sure, this alone isnít enough to dismiss the movie going process but what about giving away big secrets? Take TERMINATOR SALVATION for example, I was unimpressed by the way they gave away Arnieís cameo in a TV spot. Yeah, we all knew it was coming, but did they have to show it? This next oneís a bit personal as I was pumped to see the remake of RED DRAGON (MANHUNTER was the first go around if you didnít know), and having read the books I was blown away by how they reveal a key plot point in the trailer (Lecter gives the killer Will Grahamís home address, a secret code the FBI was trying to break). That was a big deal in the book, one you didnít see coming and should have remained a secret and not a selling point.


I highly recomment this flick, just don't watch the trailer.

The worst examples of blatant giveaways come from the straight to DVD trailers. Sweet Jesus, you all know what Iím saying and are no doubt shaking your heads if youíve ever been standing in Blockbuster (or whatever local movie store) and found yourself watching the trailers they have streaming all day long. I canít count how many times Iíve started watching one of these trailers and had my interest turn to anger by the end of it (Iím still rather unimpressed with the CARRIERS trailer giveaways, though I wonít repeat them in case you havenít watched this awesome film). I still watch the movies, but am deeply angered when the plot or storyís tension is ruined by a dead giveaway I saw in the trailer.


I dug the poster, hated the trailer.

Trailers will always be one of my favourite things about movies, and in cases like X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and SPIDERMAN 3, the trailers even outshined the films, which isnít exactly a good thing but it proves that a phenomenal trailer can sell us instantly on even a mediocre flick. But too much of a good thing is still a rule of thumb, and though I hate to sound too much like a clichť, less is more when it comes to trailers. Curiosity is also to blame, as most times we feel compelled to watch any and all clips available to us, but most of us complain that weíre no longer surprised at the movies and though not a cure for this situation, seeing less of the final product in trailers and advertisements is a good start.
Extra Tidbit: I'd hoped I was wrong, but as it turns out I'd managed to guess who the killer was in SURVEILLANCE after watching the trailer...despite the fact he wearing a mask.
Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+10
1:36PM on 03/03/2010

terminator salvation

it wasn't just arnold being shown. that didn't bug me as much as the reveal that worthington was a terminator. that could have been a HUGE revelation in the movie had they been smart about the marketing. he's the best character in the whole damn flick. but instead you know it's coming the entire time and the reveal does nothing emotionally. stupid stupid stupid.
it wasn't just arnold being shown. that didn't bug me as much as the reveal that worthington was a terminator. that could have been a HUGE revelation in the movie had they been smart about the marketing. he's the best character in the whole damn flick. but instead you know it's coming the entire time and the reveal does nothing emotionally. stupid stupid stupid.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:13AM on 03/03/2010
People don't want to be surprised, they want their hands held. So don't blame the studios. This is a generation of people who want their information NOW, they don't care if the movie is ruined. Sad, but true.

And I don't mean to be a prick, but sites like Joblo are part of the problem. AGAIN I'm not trying to cause a flame war, all I'm saying is that news sites like Joblo have a requirement to their readers and are forced to put up everything released about a movie or be left in the dust by
People don't want to be surprised, they want their hands held. So don't blame the studios. This is a generation of people who want their information NOW, they don't care if the movie is ruined. Sad, but true.

And I don't mean to be a prick, but sites like Joblo are part of the problem. AGAIN I'm not trying to cause a flame war, all I'm saying is that news sites like Joblo have a requirement to their readers and are forced to put up everything released about a movie or be left in the dust by other bigger news sites, so you guys are a victim of the system, but also part of why there are no more secrets with new movies.

I'm all for progress but the internet destroyed any and all magic that was once left in the movies. And it bred a new generation of cynical movie audiences who know the tricks behind their favorite movies and just aren't impressed anymore.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+9
8:30AM on 03/03/2010
The one that sticks in my mind is Tropic Thunder, all the funniest bits were in the trailor.
The one that sticks in my mind is Tropic Thunder, all the funniest bits were in the trailor.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+6
9:44AM on 03/03/2010
I think that Money Never Sleeps trailer gives away too much information they should have just stuck with the teaser of him getting out of prison.


And the Terminator:Salvation trailer giving away Sam Worthington's big "surprise" was a total killjoy.
I think that Money Never Sleeps trailer gives away too much information they should have just stuck with the teaser of him getting out of prison.


And the Terminator:Salvation trailer giving away Sam Worthington's big "surprise" was a total killjoy.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:37AM on 03/03/2010

Agree.

Though I think one of the few people left in Hollywood that realizes less is better is JJ Abrams. Cloverfield was a great example of creating buzz by NOT showing everything ahead of time. I'd say LOST is another great example, but Abrams doesn't have much to do with it anymore.
Though I think one of the few people left in Hollywood that realizes less is better is JJ Abrams. Cloverfield was a great example of creating buzz by NOT showing everything ahead of time. I'd say LOST is another great example, but Abrams doesn't have much to do with it anymore.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:54AM on 03/03/2010

Clash

Will there be any monster in the CLASH OF THE TITANS that is not shown in hte trailer ???
Will there be any monster in the CLASH OF THE TITANS that is not shown in hte trailer ???
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:06AM on 03/03/2010
This column is at least ten years too late. Is anyone here old enough to remember 2000 and What Lies Beneath? People pitched a fit about that movie's trailer revealing too much. Director Robert Zemeckis said something about giving the people what they want when asked about the trailer criticism. Based on the $155 million it made here (nearly $300 million worldwide), it looks like he was right.
This column is at least ten years too late. Is anyone here old enough to remember 2000 and What Lies Beneath? People pitched a fit about that movie's trailer revealing too much. Director Robert Zemeckis said something about giving the people what they want when asked about the trailer criticism. Based on the $155 million it made here (nearly $300 million worldwide), it looks like he was right.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:29PM on 03/03/2010

Great Article

I think trailer's for Nolan's films are the best. I thought Scarecrow would be the main villian in batman begins, so I was surprised when Liam Nesson returned. And even though everybody knew Dent would become two-face, I like how they didn't actually show two-face in the dark knight trailers. Most trailers would have gave that away. And I love trailers like Prestige and the upcoming Inception, that draw you in with the style but reveal little to nothing about the plot. Inception is my most
I think trailer's for Nolan's films are the best. I thought Scarecrow would be the main villian in batman begins, so I was surprised when Liam Nesson returned. And even though everybody knew Dent would become two-face, I like how they didn't actually show two-face in the dark knight trailers. Most trailers would have gave that away. And I love trailers like Prestige and the upcoming Inception, that draw you in with the style but reveal little to nothing about the plot. Inception is my most anticipated film of the year, and I'm going to try and avoid reading/seeing too much about it before it is released.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:13AM on 03/03/2010

Surrogates!

Surrogates is just an extended version of the trailer (and not very extended, just 80 min). The trailer was cool, but shows everything even the final sequence.
Surrogates is just an extended version of the trailer (and not very extended, just 80 min). The trailer was cool, but shows everything even the final sequence.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+3
8:37AM on 03/03/2010
Kick Ass is a great example of this.
Kick Ass is a great example of this.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:04PM on 03/03/2010
I agree. Even though I'm guilty of watching everything I could on the movie, I feel as if I've seen the actual film already.
I agree. Even though I'm guilty of watching everything I could on the movie, I feel as if I've seen the actual film already.
1:57AM on 03/04/2010
It all rings true, but damned if I have the power kb3703 has, I wish I could ignore trailers but I know I can't.
It all rings true, but damned if I have the power kb3703 has, I wish I could ignore trailers but I know I can't.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:02PM on 03/03/2010
*standing ovation*

I've been loving the "C'mon Hollywood" articles these past several weeks...finally, some things I agree 110% on!
*standing ovation*

I've been loving the "C'mon Hollywood" articles these past several weeks...finally, some things I agree 110% on!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:28PM on 03/03/2010
Do what I do. If I'm really into a movie, I don't look at ANYTHING on the net. No clips. No making of segment, no set visits. I like to form my own opinions and above all I like to feel immersed in a movie when I'm watching it.
Do what I do. If I'm really into a movie, I don't look at ANYTHING on the net. No clips. No making of segment, no set visits. I like to form my own opinions and above all I like to feel immersed in a movie when I'm watching it.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:50AM on 03/03/2010

...

the worst was basterds trailer, if one certain part wasnt so violent they would have shown it in the trailer as well.. but the only thing worse than trailers is movie reviews, especially Eberts.. I like his reviews but will only read them after i've seen the movie.. he loves to spoil movies for some damn reason.. and i loved terminators trailer, the whole movie was a total killjoy
the worst was basterds trailer, if one certain part wasnt so violent they would have shown it in the trailer as well.. but the only thing worse than trailers is movie reviews, especially Eberts.. I like his reviews but will only read them after i've seen the movie.. he loves to spoil movies for some damn reason.. and i loved terminators trailer, the whole movie was a total killjoy
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:16AM on 03/03/2010
All industry cut trailers (pretty much everything with a studio backed budget) have trailers that give some, if not everything away. Horror gives away scares, kills, secrets and "twists". Drama gives away plot points, only funny bit and the "big moment". Comedy trailers give away pretty much every good laugh. Sometimes if you just turn off your brain (and thusly, becoming just like 90% of the movie going public), you might not notice too much. However, if you're a film geek like myself, and
All industry cut trailers (pretty much everything with a studio backed budget) have trailers that give some, if not everything away. Horror gives away scares, kills, secrets and "twists". Drama gives away plot points, only funny bit and the "big moment". Comedy trailers give away pretty much every good laugh. Sometimes if you just turn off your brain (and thusly, becoming just like 90% of the movie going public), you might not notice too much. However, if you're a film geek like myself, and many of you are, you'll watch and uncontrollably pick it apart, and end up going, "Oh, man! How could they?!"

I find horror gets the biggest hit in this. The Forgotten for example, has EVERY great shock/scare moment taken away in the trailer. The way the Sixth Sense trailer was plotted out, screamed the "twist" at you... like it or not, people (like myself) DID see this coming from the trailer. Quarantine was pretty much a 2min version of the film. In sequence and spoiled the ending. And things only get worse once the flick is released. They tease up until opening day, then they might as well announce the whole plot in the trailer, cause they pretty much do anyway.

Boo to the industry trailer conspiracy.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:42AM on 03/03/2010

IronMan

i totally agree. Ironman was a total anti climax to me since the trailer was pretty much the entire film in 2mins. for an extra 15 seconds they could have revealed that Jeff Bridges would be the bad guy which even by the trailer id guessed.

the problem is two fold. 1) monkeys like us who are so passionate about films we get over excited and want to see everything we can. 2) the studios desperate for bums on seats they use every plotpoint to convice people they'll love the film if they come
i totally agree. Ironman was a total anti climax to me since the trailer was pretty much the entire film in 2mins. for an extra 15 seconds they could have revealed that Jeff Bridges would be the bad guy which even by the trailer id guessed.

the problem is two fold. 1) monkeys like us who are so passionate about films we get over excited and want to see everything we can. 2) the studios desperate for bums on seats they use every plotpoint to convice people they'll love the film if they come to see it. no one person is to blame. only every weekend the studio wants you to pay to see their films and they're all sat round board meetings working how to get your dough.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
3:04PM on 03/05/2010

Goddamn!! Totally agree!

In recent years the "typical" trailer went from being hype to now just a condensed version of the film itself! I understand studios want to sell tix but c'mon!
In recent years the "typical" trailer went from being hype to now just a condensed version of the film itself! I understand studios want to sell tix but c'mon!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:13AM on 03/04/2010
Completely agree with you on this one... movies like Shutter Island shouldn't have more then a 30 second teaser that gives away NOTHING.
Completely agree with you on this one... movies like Shutter Island shouldn't have more then a 30 second teaser that gives away NOTHING.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
6:03AM on 03/04/2010
People get dumber, trailers get longer.

It's science.
People get dumber, trailers get longer.

It's science.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:12AM on 03/04/2010
It is annoying...but what I find more annoying lately is that we have to get 18 different trailers each only incrementally different to the previous one but that eventually give everything away. How many trailers and featurettes must be released about Clash of the Titans? Okay I'm going to watch it, stop pounding me with marketing!!!
It is annoying...but what I find more annoying lately is that we have to get 18 different trailers each only incrementally different to the previous one but that eventually give everything away. How many trailers and featurettes must be released about Clash of the Titans? Okay I'm going to watch it, stop pounding me with marketing!!!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
10:52PM on 03/03/2010
Definitely agree, less is more and some of the best trailers prove as much. Anomaly7 nailed it with Nolan's movie trailers, not that's he's the only one, but he's got the right idea.
Definitely agree, less is more and some of the best trailers prove as much. Anomaly7 nailed it with Nolan's movie trailers, not that's he's the only one, but he's got the right idea.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
7:18PM on 03/03/2010
Yeah, I hate when they give away too much but what really gets me going are the scenes they cut from the film either all together or to put them in deleated scenes.
Yeah, I hate when they give away too much but what really gets me going are the scenes they cut from the film either all together or to put them in deleated scenes.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:41PM on 03/03/2010
Great column again J.A. I felt as if I could have written that myself as I feel the exact same way :))
Great column again J.A. I felt as if I could have written that myself as I feel the exact same way :))
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:13PM on 03/03/2010

Case in Point

The Hollywood remake of Death at a Funeral. As I sat through the trailer waiting for The Crazies to start I thought to myself. Damn! That was the whole movie. Happens all too often.
The Hollywood remake of Death at a Funeral. As I sat through the trailer waiting for The Crazies to start I thought to myself. Damn! That was the whole movie. Happens all too often.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:58PM on 03/03/2010

So freaking true...

Hancock was a total letdown...and the TV trailers gave away the biggest plot twist before I could see the movie. It was less obvious with I Am Legend, but its the same thing there.
Hancock was a total letdown...and the TV trailers gave away the biggest plot twist before I could see the movie. It was less obvious with I Am Legend, but its the same thing there.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:51AM on 03/03/2010
Good column, but I agree with alterra2010 that this is nothing new. Hell, even 10 years ago it was nothing new. You want to see trailers that really give away the whole movie? Watch the original trailers for classic films like "The Graduate" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."
Good column, but I agree with alterra2010 that this is nothing new. Hell, even 10 years ago it was nothing new. You want to see trailers that really give away the whole movie? Watch the original trailers for classic films like "The Graduate" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
9:12AM on 03/03/2010
Usually I try to avoid trailers and only see teasers. I dont wanna see the whole movie told in 2 minutes, I just wanna find out if its a movie I wanna see or not.
Usually I try to avoid trailers and only see teasers. I dont wanna see the whole movie told in 2 minutes, I just wanna find out if its a movie I wanna see or not.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
6:50AM on 03/19/2010

EXACTLY!

What's worse is catching a cool clip of footage, and then it doesn't even turn up in the film!

What's worse is catching a cool clip of footage, and then it doesn't even turn up in the film!

Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
6:28PM on 03/09/2010
I'm a little worried that the recent Iron Man 2 trailer showed us way too much.
I'm a little worried that the recent Iron Man 2 trailer showed us way too much.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:01PM on 03/07/2010

Agree

Too many trailers have too much of the movies climax in the trailer.
Too many trailers have too much of the movies climax in the trailer.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
11:34PM on 03/03/2010
I have been meaning to watch Carrier and Surveillance. Reading the article reminded me, so I checked out the movies then their trailers. I agree Carriers trailer showed way to much. But the Surveillance trailer didn't show to much but I can see your argument on that one. It seemed not to care if you know the end though. The opening scene let you guess the outcome pretty easily. There are just some movies that realize that the "twist" or last act isn't all that shocking and hope it's the ride
I have been meaning to watch Carrier and Surveillance. Reading the article reminded me, so I checked out the movies then their trailers. I agree Carriers trailer showed way to much. But the Surveillance trailer didn't show to much but I can see your argument on that one. It seemed not to care if you know the end though. The opening scene let you guess the outcome pretty easily. There are just some movies that realize that the "twist" or last act isn't all that shocking and hope it's the ride there that makes the movie. But yeah maybe trailer content should be only from material in the first 30/40 minutes of a film.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:10PM on 03/03/2010
I totally agree, And the trailers that really ruin movies are horror movies they give to many jump scenes away which might actually do something to someone. But i dont think it would really matter because the horror films we get these days suck.
I totally agree, And the trailers that really ruin movies are horror movies they give to many jump scenes away which might actually do something to someone. But i dont think it would really matter because the horror films we get these days suck.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:17AM on 03/05/2010
I take offense with you saying that most horror these days suck. Sure, the trailers are guilty of giving certain stuff away- but thats the same as any other film category. But I think saying they "suck" is a bit harsh. You should check out some of AITH's staff picks: horror- yes, even some mainstream big studio produced stuff- can be really good!
I take offense with you saying that most horror these days suck. Sure, the trailers are guilty of giving certain stuff away- but thats the same as any other film category. But I think saying they "suck" is a bit harsh. You should check out some of AITH's staff picks: horror- yes, even some mainstream big studio produced stuff- can be really good!
5:20PM on 03/03/2010
The best Trailers are just little appitizer that keep you guessing and that reveal almost nothing. But I guess the studios don't wanna risk it...
And then there is the opposite when the trailers are much better then the movies (see Pineapple Express)

The best Trailers are just little appitizer that keep you guessing and that reveal almost nothing. But I guess the studios don't wanna risk it...
And then there is the opposite when the trailers are much better then the movies (see Pineapple Express)

Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:59PM on 03/03/2010
Cool poster for sure. As for the "spoilers" issue-in my experience it's a 50/50 proposition as to whether or not the trailers gave away the bank? 1/2 the time -yes too many key scenes shown in the trailers-that make the entire films plot and finish too obvious to figure out before U step into the Theater. The other 50% of the time the trailers show fake out or cut scenes that U don't see in the film at all-I like that! That's what I would do as a film maker.
Cool poster for sure. As for the "spoilers" issue-in my experience it's a 50/50 proposition as to whether or not the trailers gave away the bank? 1/2 the time -yes too many key scenes shown in the trailers-that make the entire films plot and finish too obvious to figure out before U step into the Theater. The other 50% of the time the trailers show fake out or cut scenes that U don't see in the film at all-I like that! That's what I would do as a film maker.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:52PM on 03/03/2010
Yeah, you'd think they would get better at it as the years progressed (the old ones are the worst), but they keep on doing it anyway.
Yeah, you'd think they would get better at it as the years progressed (the old ones are the worst), but they keep on doing it anyway.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:54PM on 03/03/2010
Yeah, as bad as it is now back in the day the trailers gave away even more. The real issue is when there's a Big Twist involved. Movies like "The Third Man" and "House of Wax" had almost laughable trailers meant to specifically divert audiences from whatever the Big Twist was. Now they give it away without even trying to.
Yeah, as bad as it is now back in the day the trailers gave away even more. The real issue is when there's a Big Twist involved. Movies like "The Third Man" and "House of Wax" had almost laughable trailers meant to specifically divert audiences from whatever the Big Twist was. Now they give it away without even trying to.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
9:25AM on 03/03/2010
I understand from a marketing perspective that you have to use the sizzle to sell the steak. That means showing off lots of cool stuff to get as many people as possible into the theatres. I just wish they didn't have to.
I understand from a marketing perspective that you have to use the sizzle to sell the steak. That means showing off lots of cool stuff to get as many people as possible into the theatres. I just wish they didn't have to.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:32AM on 03/03/2010

So very true

I'd rather see short promos or trailers that are specifically designed for the purpose (like the Austin Powers banned trailer [link] ). But that's me.

I can't deny that I wouldn't enjoy 'normal' trailers but less and less nowadays.
I'd rather see short promos or trailers that are specifically designed for the purpose (like the Austin Powers banned trailer [link] ). But that's me.

I can't deny that I wouldn't enjoy 'normal' trailers but less and less nowadays.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-1
12:54AM on 03/04/2010
I hate doing it, but I wait till after I've seen a movie to watch its preview b/c I got tired of getting burned. I will watch a teaser now and then, but never anymore than that. In some of these cases the guy who should get the largest cut of money that the film grosses should be the guy who edits the preview.
I hate doing it, but I wait till after I've seen a movie to watch its preview b/c I got tired of getting burned. I will watch a teaser now and then, but never anymore than that. In some of these cases the guy who should get the largest cut of money that the film grosses should be the guy who edits the preview.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More