This post contains mild spoilers for recent films – except they aren’t spoilers if you;ve already seen the trailer!
Any film that really believes that it is a quality piece of entertainment should show nothing of the final thirty minutes in their trailer. Even if the most expensive, amazing action sequence, the one the studio spent millions putting together, ending the film, it shouldn’t be anywhere near the promotional material. That’s because anything in that final section of the film can only, ultimately, ruin an aspect of the movie for the people who are excited to see it.
It’s the equivalent of a magician showing you a huge reveal before the set-up or a comedian opening with the punch-line and then asking you to hear the rest of the joke. Except in the case of many movies, the audience aren’t aware that they have already witnessed the coolest and biggest part of the film before they paid to watch the movie at the cinema.
Its even worst with comedies. I have recently watched the red band trailer for the very funny-looking film This is the End. It’s a unique concept, with celebrities playing extreme versions of themselves during the end of the world. The issue I had with the trailer was that it was full of the celebrities that would be great to see for the first time in the movie itself, in particular Emma Watson as a crazy, kick-ass version of herself.
This summer has been one of the worst for this kind of trailer-spoiler. Iron Man 3 had two key set-pieces, one that would have been the perfect sell for the movie and a second that would have been great to experience first-hand, when watching the film for the first time. Unfortunately, one of the coolest aspect of the movies, and potentially a great reveal, with many Iron Mans (Men?) coming to Stark’s rescue, was not only ruined by the trailer but by the movie posters too!
The same occurred in Star Trek. A lot of the actions sequences were a surprise and there were some great moments (one twist in particular) that wasn’t telegraphed by the trailer but the posters and the clips from the movie did show the starship falling towards Earth. This is a huge part of the movie and a very cool sequence to witness, but not two months before the film comes out.
I can understand the temptation to push these sequences. In a time when people can watch and re-watch a movie whenever they want, the promoters have to push the most exciting material. They also forget that the casual viewer is being exposed to that material, whether they like it or not, through tv, internet adverts and at the cinema itself! Let the obsessive find the spoiler-filled footage without putting it in the key, mainstream trailers for the film.
Studios and directors need to trust their movie’s quality. A trailer should be used to demonstrate what the movie is about and show any cool sequences or funny moments that won’t give much away. You should be able to do that with the material from the first hour of the film, leaving at least the last half hour fresh and surprising.
Overall, this is my way of venting my frustration at a growing problem. I didn’t mean it to be as much of a rant as it has become but the more films I’m watching this summer, the more I realise that some of the coolest parts of the film have already been shown to me ten times as they build the anticipation and interest in the product. I also think it speaks volume of the quality of the film if any key part of the trailer has to come from the last thirty minutes – is a film any good if the first hour isn’t enough to get people interested?