Movie Trailers: Have they lost their way and can they be fixed?
The movie trailer has always been the predominant way in which to market a movie. However, in the past years I feel that movie trailers are becoming too spoiler'filled, too convoluted, some misrepresent the movie and/or market something else entirely, such as the soundtrack. Is there a solution? What should movie trailers do? What needs to change? I will attempt to explore these here.
Problem No. 1
Spoilers. The toxic word for any movie lover, and it seems that those involved in the marketing department seem to think that revealing large plot points in the trailers is a good way to go, in my opinion it is not. However, the marketing department clearly understand that viewers are different; some may want to see all the major plot points before going in to the move, the issue arises when the other viewers who do not want it spoiled see the trailer and then feel annoyed at that fact. A year or so ago, I wrote a piece on movie trailers, about whether they are ruining movies or not, and it seems that this unfortunate trend is continuing, case in point would be 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice'.
Doomsday, a legendary character in the DC comic universe was revealed in one of the BvS trailers, and fans where annoyed, and also that Batman and Superman team up in the end to take him on. Some fans would of liked that, others would not have. Another recent spoiler reveal in a movie trailer is 'X-Men: Apocalypse''s final trailer in which Weapon X, or Wolverine, is revealed and it was hinted that he helps the younger X-Men team; again some may of enjoyed that others would not of. Then there was Terminator: Genisys, revealing the primary twist that John Connor became a highly advanced Terminator.
Is there a solution to this issue of spoiler/twist revealing trailers? I think so. Within marketing, and this is something that most marketing departments miss, is that consumers/viewers differ and fall into different segments, here its those who may like spoilers and those who do not. I believe to avoid upsetting or angering some fans is to state in the trailer title or before it starts, that there are plot spoilers or big reveals within it. Meaning, those who like them can continue to watch and those who do not can turn it off. It may be difficult to clarify exactly what is a spoiler and what is not, but I think this would be a good place to start.
Problem No. 2
Too many trailers, too convoluted and show too much. This is different I think to spoilers, spoilers reveal a character reveal or major plot point, wheres the others show too much of what is actually going to happen; something that BvS suffered from yet again.
The trailers and released clips all together more or less revealed the majority of the movie. Having seen the movie, the parts that were not shown were mainly dialogue sequences that happened between the main scenes shown in the trailers. Trailers that avoided this, and are some of my favourite trailers, were for example 'SPECTRE''s teaser trailer, 'Another Me' and 'The Conjuring' trailers. These trailers set up the atmosphere, tone, characters, plot etc wonderfully, and did so by not revealing too much of the movie or any spoilers. Although 'Another Me' was a smaller scale movie, and its marketing budget may have been smaller, I believe that it worked out the best, go and check out the trailer for yourself if you want, I think its great, just like the 'SPECTRE' teaser trailer was. Is there a solution? I think so. A time limit for main trailers may work well, meaning less will be shown. Perhaps to have the trailers critically analysed before release by the big-heads involved, as their feedback may prove vital. Just some ideas.
Problem No. 3
Miss marketed or promote something else entirely. An example of this miss marketing was 'The Village' by M. Night Shyamalan, as this was marketed as a suspenseful thriller with creepy monsters in the forest who were going to be the centre piece, quite the opposite. It was really a period romance. Chris Stuckmann a well known YouTube reviewer and a favourite of mine, stated that M. Night Shyamalan wished he had marketed the movie correctly, being a romantic time piece instead of a creature feature which it was marketed as.
In some instances, the trailer can be taken a different way and may be seen as a marketing effort for something other than the movie itself, case in point is the most recent 'Star Trek Beyond' trailer, and Rihanna's new song 'Sledgehammer'. Although this is part of the soundtrack to the movie, the trailer feels, to me, a tad pointless, as we have already had two main trailers which already showed the plot and so of the main sequences, it feels that this trailer is merely there to market that song. Some may be fine with it, but it does feel quite needless. Is there a solution? To the first part of the problem, miss marketing, yes. Ensure that the marketing department are fully aware of the directors vision for this movie. Is it a monster feature? Or do the creatures feature around this romantic time piece? The latter was chosen, and was wrong, meaning many people saw the movie expecting monsters and horror. For the other part, it is more tricky. But surely Rihanna on her own would of been able to release that song and market it herself and be just as successful, rather than (now I do not know who put this trailer together) the studio or her creating a needles trailer with the song over it.
Trailers are vital. However, they have to be marketed and managed extremely carefully. My solutions for the three issues are to state whether or not the trailer contains plot twists or character reveals, something that has been plaguing the superhero, sci-fi franchises for a while now, so that both primary segments of the viewer are attended to. Secondly, have the trailers critically analysed by those involved, maybe the director, or other big heads to ensure that not too much is shown, and thirdly make sure that the director, producers and writers communicate effectively to the marketing department about the precise tone and vision for that movie. So to avoid miss marketing it and annoying film goers. Marketing plays a vital role in the cinematic universe, however it must be done correctly so to avoid disappointing or having annoyed them before the the first scene is even projected. Not good. Change needs to happen, and happen soon; clarity, internal communication and a clear vision would be a good place to start.
—> Check out the trailer for 'Another Me'. I think that it correctly ticks all of my ideas for change, marketed the tone correctly, did not show too much and no spoilers. <—