Film trailers are meant to get people excited for films. To show potential audiences just enough to get them to want to buy a ticket to see the whole thing yet not enough to ruin the movie. Well, I think studios have been forgetting about that “don’t ruin the movie” part. Nowadays, studios too often make trailers that contain crucial plot points for the film, sometimes even from the climatic finale. The worst offenders are those who show the final shot of the film during the trailer.
Around this time last year, X-Men: Days of Future Past had one of the best trailers I’ve ever viewed. It featured solemn narration played over a great music. We got introduced to the basic plot and had a good idea of what would happen. I was so HYPED for that movie! Special effects weren’t done at the time so the trailer didn’t feature any Sentinels or major fight scenes, which was okay for me. But for the general audience? Maybe it wasn’t enough. So once the film was complete, or nearing completion, Fox released another trailer, this time featuring awesome mutant powers, great special effects, and, oh… Is that Halle Berry about to get stabbed? The trailer just show too much and made me feel like I had seen way too much of the film by the time I actually got to the theater. It showed too many scenes from the third act and some spoilers.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had some pretty cool trailers. They showed off an insane amount of special effects and showed some cool shots of Spidey fighting the bad guys. However, they gave away too much from the end of the film. Audiences see Gwen Stacey falling and Spider-Man grabbing her as they fall through a glass roof. If one has any familiarity with the comics, it’s not hard to tell what happens next. Really, you probably could know nothing about Spider-Man and still know what comes next. And then there’s the ending of the trailer which is also… the ending of the film.
The Grey was another film that included the final shots of the film in the trailer. Want to see Liam Neeson fight a wolf? Too bad, because it doesn’t happen! Just enjoy those few seconds from the trailer. The most recent Neeson movie, A Walk Among The Tombstones, had a great trailer. It showcased the mystery of the film while not giving the audience a summary of the film. It successfully got me excited for the movie while also leaving me in the dark as to what was going to happen. However, whoever made it failed miserably. The trailer starts off showing Liam Neeson accidentally killing a civilian, something that doesn’t get revealed until the second half of the film. What could have been an emotional moment was stunted by the audience already knowing what happened. The second mistake in the trailer was it including the scene of the man jumping off the roof. While it is shocking, it’s only shocking when you first see it. When you’re sitting in the theater watching their rooftop conversation you’re just waiting for that moment to happen. It’s not shocking in the theaters.
Trailers can still fail even without giving away too much of the plot. Take thisTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer. Skip to 1:20… Aaaand there’s Shredder. Don’t you think his first appearance would have been better served not being in the trailer? Instead, audiences could wonder what his costume and design will be like and then be surprised when he finally shows up on the big screen. Now, I didn’t see the film, but I have a gut feeling that Splinter dies after he fights Shredder (1:40). At the very least, he almost dies.
It’s up to studios to smarten up and quit ruining movies with their trailers. The recent Gone Girl trailer is probably one of the best for this fall’s movie season. It doesn’t spoil the book and grabs the audience’s interest in the mystery. Hopefully more trailers follow suit.