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WTF Happened to Movie Trailers?

36 Responses to “WTF Happened to Movie Trailers?”

  • i really love your vids,when is the next game video coming rough guess.oh and first 🙂 my first FIRST

  • hmm it changed my name to my real name

  • also,i loved primal you got to see it

  • Jeff:

    I love your WTF videos.

    • Cecil:

      Thanks! I’d like to do them more often but they take a long time to put together. This one took me close to three months of watching trailers and compiling info.

  • jack:

    Non-Stop was the most recent trailer that gives to much away that actually stopped me from seeing it in the theatre as I pretty much knew what was going to happen at the end including the ending where you see the plane heading towards the ground with a hole with smoke at one side that the clip at the end of the IGN review spoiled by showing us how that happened.

    The only thing it didn’t spoil was who was the person ordering the threats on the plane.

    Most recent big blockbuster comic trailers seem to comprise of narration at the start, a series of fade to black cuts and the money shot big action/explosion scenes in the film.

    • Cecil:

      I understand the use of the fade to black but they overuse the hell out of it to the point where it has no effectiveness.

  • Much like posters, the marketers will just continue to recycle trends that they think will bring in an audience until the films that use those trends in their campaign start to lose money.

    While its annoying to see trailers subject to “follow the leader” gimmicks. It can be more frustrating when the trailers are deliberately misleading, and how the marketing team can actually work against the final project. Take “John Carter” for example. After “Cowboys and Aliens” tanked, the producers wanted to downplay the Western aspect from the marketing campaign. Really? Did you think that when people got into their theaters seats and said “Hey this has Western influences! I want my money back!”

    It didn’t help that a lot of the big FX shots weren’t finished when they were cutting the trailer, so they decided to focus more on romance subplot and left out most of the fight scenes because “women don’t like conflict”. So congratulations, you successfully alienated the key demographic that the film was aimed towards because you wanted to play to an audience rather than what the movie was supposed to be.

    • Cecil:

      The problem with the marketing is the tactics they use are on everything so they have no quantifiable data to show what works and what doesn’t. So they will just keep forging ahead and spoonfeeding up the same drivel.

      They just completely dropped the ball on John Carter and Cowboys and Aliens.

  • mogens:

    Hey This is verry similiar too james rolfes top 10 worst movie cliches you should check it out some times cecil

    • Cecil:

      Do you go on other people’s sites and tell them that their video was too much like mine if I do a topic first?

  • Cristiona:

    Giving away the ending is annoying, the most recent example I was aware of was the Ender’s Game trailer which showed the final attack of the final battle.


    If you aren’t familiar with the property, it’s not necessarily a spoiler, as you have no context. That “you were lost for X time” bit from Cast Away could have just as easily been from a framing device and thus in the first 10 minutes of the movie. Without seeing it, you don’t know where it fits in. I think a lot of the spoiler complaints are more after-the-fact realizations. Or, like you said, they lead people to saying it was predictable. Still, I think there’s a difference between what Cast Away did, or even what Ender’s Game did, and, say, a 6th Sense trailer that gives away that Bruce is dead, or a Citizen Kane trailer that shows the famous whispering Rosebud scene with a picture of his sled superimposed on the screen.

    Um, spoilers. For a 15 year old and a 73 year old movie…

    Also, you forgot the other Really Big Classical Score: O Fortuna from Carmina Burana. That’s freaking everywhere, especially in fantasy movies.

    • Cecil:

      Yes and no. While you may not know it is the ending at the time, when it happens, you are pissed. I know a lot of people were furious when the end of Quarantined happened.

      I could have put a lot more exampled in but wanted to keep the time closer to 10 minutes.

  • Viewer:

    I disagree with you on the trailer length thing completely, although I do see where you’re coming from. I expect from the trailer to be informative, by which I mean – to show me a) how the movie generally looks, b) what’s its mood and c) how its story is set up. That’s why I love red-band trailers. Some catchy 30 seconds teaser/clip is just not doing it for me at all. Chainsaw Massacre 3 had a catchy teaser as the trailer, but it told you jack shit about the very important fact that it’s a remake-quel.

    That’s why I miss the days when we had narration in movies. LaFontaine or my favorite trailer guy Percy Rodriguez would more often than not explain the plot in just a few lines and give the movie a distinct mood just by being in its trailer, especially Rodriguez when it came to horror. Today’s trailers look more like some ADD adds than something that informs you about the movie. The companies that cut trailers have a lot to do with this. You should have talked a bit about these companies as well. Not all of them are in-house.

    On the other hand, I do understand that some people don’t want anything spoiled for them and if you go to a theater you have no choice but to watch the long trailers. I think theaters still show the long trailers because they still think that most people don’t watch trailers on-line, or even on TV (which may or may not be the case, that’s debatable). I guess the best solution would be to send your (girl)friend in first and ask her/him to text you when the trailers are over, so you can get in. That has it’s own set of problems of course, but if you really don’t want anything spoiled, I don’t really see alternatives, except listening to music on headphones really loud and keeping your eyes shut throughout the theatrical previews.

    As for trailer clishees, I’ll give you that. They rocked in the early 90s and now they got so old, they’re literally the laziest thing you can do when you cut your trailers… But that again returns the topic to the current trailer-cutting companies.

    • Cecil:

      Personally, I think 30-60 seconds is near perfect. You can get the point across without delving into the whole thing.

      At home, fine, I can just shut the trailer off…which I do. In the theater there is no viable option. I can’t get the theater late and get a shitty seat because I didn’t want to be force fed commercials. I really wouldn’t mind them if they didn’t spoil the whole thing. Even out in the lobby of the theater they are running trailers on the flatscreens so its almost no way of escaping them at the multiplex.

      The cliches were effective but they have become less effective due to them being used a zillion times. If they were spread more thinly it wouldn’t be an issue. Its like there is a template for each genre.

  • Egil:

    Nice video and you made some really good points but to the credit of the District 9 trailer it was released back in 2009 one year before Inception so I would not pick on it for that and to be honest I would not mind to see some more trailers with the sound track being Lux Aeterna or Bishop’s Countdown because because those two themes really made trailers sound epic and by the way are you planing to do more trailer related videos like other problems with movie trailers or maybe a video about actually good movie trailers ?

    • Cecil:

      Never said Inception was the first to do it, just the one that popularized it. Hell, the War of the Worlds remake trailer did it as well.

      With all the awesome musical scores out there, they could choose from many others but they just stick to the same over and over.

      After months of research and (roughly) 133 trailers, I’m staying away from the topic for a while.

      • Egil:

        I just found a really interesting short documentary about the history of movie trailers and it is really good and I really think that you should see it because there is allot of fascinating history in it

        • Cecil:

          I’ll check it out!

          • Egil:

            I hope that you liked the documentary and if you think that the trailer for the Terminator movies have learned anything from the Terminator Salvation spoiler filled trailers then you are way wrong because the new trailer for Terminator Genisys is way worse I was smart enough to turn the trailer of before it spoiled way to much and I really hope that you have not seen it yet

          • Cecil:

            Unfortunately, as much as I tried to avoid it I had Genisys spoiled for me. They seemed to go out of their way to ruin it.

  • Dar:

    There is that thing that many animation films do as well, where some charaster will say something stupid, pause, then cut to another character saying “awkwaaard” or “oooo-kay”.

    How come the films’ directors or editors themselves don’t just make a trailer then hand it to the studio for broadcasting?

    • Cecil:

      Ugh, I hate the “awkward” thing.

      Most likely there is some nonsense clause where the marketing team has to be the ones to handle the trailer…which they hand off to a third party to put together.

  • You know how hard it is to find those trailer soundtracks too? Argh!

    Anyway, you should do a sequel sometime of the best trailers.

  • Steve:

    The VRRROOOOOMMMMMMM sound isn’t just overused in trailers, it’s over-used in modern movies…… period. Just because you have THX that can make the theater walls shake everytime someone or something flies past the camera, doesn’t mean you should. When I think of movies that (IMHO) have a great sound design/mix, I think of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robocop, and Last of the Mohicans as a few examples. Most modern sound mixes in movies are way overpowered and they all just sort of sound alike (or maybe my ears are just getting older). Either way, too much VRRROOOOOMMMMMMMM.

    • Cecil:

      So much is being filtered to generic town in big budget movies. They are sharing sound banks and other stuff. It is making everything into a homogeneous slurry.

  • David:

    Nice video. I agree with trailers giving away too much and using the same beats all the time. I recent;y watched The Amazing Spider Man 2 and there was a LOT of that movie in the trailer, it really did take away from the whole experience. They also fall into the issue of showing the films end scene and showing plot points that should have been kept secret such as Green Goblin which is also on the poster! IMO they should have only mentioned Electro as the villain and kept the others a surprise; same goes for the scene with Doc Ocks arms and Vultures wings, they shouldn’t have shown that in the trailer.

  • Rob H:

    Nice vid. The growing problem with trailers is why I avoid them now in films I’m really interested in, started with Avengers when I avoided everything after the first teaser up to the recent Captain America 2 and Godzilla.

    As for misleading trailers I think one the worst offenders was Max Payne, I still want the supernatural movie the trailer promised.

  • Jeff:

    If you ever make a WTF about Movie Covers (which is similar to the posters, but what-the-hell) you should really comment on how putting an animal on the front with sunglasses is a good way to tell people that the movie is 99% sure to be absolute garbage. I would love to see how many instances some one can prove me wrong on this point.

  • alfaecotangoromeo:

    You are not the only one

    • Cecil:

      Well, there goes any shot of my video going viral. 🙁

      3 months of research and work is outdone by a guy talking to a webcam.

  • C. S. P. Schofield:

    My pet peve in overused trailer music was the driving drum movement from Peter Gabriel’s RHYTHM OF THE HEAT. For a couple of years there it was in almost every other action trailer. TOMBSTONE springs to mind.

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