Making Movie Trailers More Attractive

From the NY Times:

They reveal too much. They don’t reveal enough. They’re misleading. They’re manipulative. They’re better than both the movie they’re previewing and the movie that’s about to start. They delay that movie by 20 minutes.

The already mistrustful relationship between moviegoer and trailer becomes even more strained during awards season, when the contenders are by and large films that deal with topics audiences would rather skip. They leave studio marketing executives and the trailer editors they hire with sensitive decisions about what to omit and what to include.

Take “Flight.” In one sense the trailer portrays the movie accurately as the account of an airline pilot (played by Denzel Washington) deeply affected by a crash. But left out is any firm indication that it’s an addiction drama, a Lifetime movie genre that rarely sets box office records. Technically, giveaway moments are in the trailer: a lawyer mentioning a toxicology screening, a glance at a minibar, some alcohol being poured down the drain. But it also looks as if the pilot is dealing with something more nebulous than addiction. A Paramount spokeswoman declined to provide interviews for this article, but Mr. Washington told Entertainment Weekly, “The trailer, that’s how they sell it, and they really fool you.”

At the other end of the spectrum is the “Impossible” trailer, which establishes early on that the vacationing family it follows during and after the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami survives. It might have been just as easy to leave the viewer wondering whether they survive. Instead, the spot works hard to demonstrate that the story is one of triumph.

“No one wants to see a movie about children in jeopardy,” said Nancy Kirkpatrick, president for worldwide marketing at Summit Entertainment, who oversaw that trailer’s production. “Speaking as a mother, I would be hard pressed to go to that kind of movie.”

Hmmn, CUT TO: World War Z.

I miss the days of this:

P.S. If you’re interested in reviewing film trailers – the nuts and bolts of trailer creation, old and new – please contact us.

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