In this world there are several types of moviegoers: those who want the movies to surprise them 100%, and those who prefer to make sure that what they are going to see is worth it. The difference between the two? Only the latter need the trailer.
The first trailers were produced by the cinemas themselves. They were destined to sell, the cinema was beginning to be a good business that had to attract customers in order not to die. The first sound trailer was for the movie The Jazz Singer.
Taking a big leap to recent cinema, many were the occasions when the phrase “The trailer is better than the movie!” Or “They should hire the movie trailer maker to edit the movie, which is why they were working”. The trailers created expectations and made us want to go to the movies to consume the product.
As an example we can see the trailers of The Great Gatsby, The Atlas of the Clouds or Interstellar . They tell us a minimal argument, with explosive images. They convey the essence of the film to us, but without giving us a taste of the cake. Do they work?
However, in recent years the cinema has been promoted to an excessive level. Hollywood spits out movies at a colossal rate, and the intention to raise as much money as possible at the expense of investing in special effects rather than screenwriters is too obvious in many cases. An example of this can be the film Maleficent, a film full of inconsistencies where Disney tries to wash its face of the macho messages that have emerged in the last decade about its animated film Sleeping Beauty, from 1969, instead of accepting its past and contextualize it.
Trailers have suffered a similar deterioration. They have fused alarmingly with the advertising part of the film, and disconnected from the creative. That is, we have movies that try to break the rules, and trailers that follow the philosophy of the showcase, instead of doing good advertising . When, as we have said, this was done by the cinemas themselves, it was less serious. Now, a production company that spends so much money on special effects, famous actors, and sometimes scriptwriters who deliver powerful messages, should be very careful about how it sells its product, rather than trying to squeeze pre-release marketing in such an irresponsible way.
Exploiting a cinematographic product before releasing it does nothing but spoilers and loss of viewers.
Let’s see some examples:
The production company knew that what it had in hand was going to be a success at the box office. The first Jurassic World trailers were perfect: they told us the least so that we had our money in hand before we finished viewing them. Short but captivating images, with the classical music we all know played on the piano. The great novelty of the film was the hybrid dinosaur ( InDominus Rex ). The forums and networks discussed about this new dinosaur, what it would look like, what genetic material they would have used.
Before the premiere, they made the mistake: they released a trailer in which this dinosaur was perfectly seen, in addition to telling us about several deaths in the park (Simon Masrani saying that he is learning to pilot a helicopter and the helicopter crashing, like a subtle one).
Another long-awaited premiere. The fans of the minions are very many (and their marketing reaches limits that are beginning to be absurd). The trailer, however, reveals more about the plot than we would like.
The Minions follow villains. They find a villain they love. The villain turns against the minions. In fact, the length of the trailer tells us that we can’t expect more plot, since the movie isn’t that long.
After seeing it, some will still conceive that there is much more behind it. The truth is that no, there is no plot twist that dismantles what we see in the trailer (not like in the case of The Book of Life, where the story that the trailer cleverly creates for us is different from the one we see on screen).
What do we want to see in the cinema? The cinematic experience is greatly lost if our brain already waits for what it sees to happen, because it knows that it will take place. Can you imagine a trailer for the movie Hard Candy, which reveals the drastic and unexpected plot twist that happens shortly after starting?
Making a good trailer is a lot of marketing and publicity work. But if done wrong, the spirit of true moviegoers is killed, for whom the experience of living the plot is ruined.
When making a trailer, many seem not to remember it: hinting is better than showing. Teaching everything is not always elegant.