Are Trailers Ruining Films?

I love films. I love hearing about them and seeing an exciting trailer that really makes me want to see the film. However, nowadays films studios seem to be flooding potential viewers with footage and trailers to such an extent that you know (or at least can make an educated guess) all the main plot points of the film.

A recent example of this is The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There were so many trailers, clips and TV spots that you could put together the whole story of the film. The character of Gwen Stacey is famous in the comics because of her death, but even if you didn’t know this looking at the many trailers you do end up thinking she’s going to be in mortal peril/there’s a high chance in injury/death. I mean, there’s many shots of her falling and screaming or hanging from Spider-Man’s web and then there’s a shot of Andrew Garfield looking traumatised and sobbing/screaming his heart out – so what I’m saying is, you can put these things together and have an idea about what’s going to happen with Gwen Stacy. There were other characters that were in the trailer that would have been really cool to be a surprise i.e. Rhino and the Green Goblin. Green Goblin for instance, the majority of people know that Harry Osborn ends up as the Green Goblin – this is in part to the Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film being just over a decade old with Spider-Man 3 being 7 years old – but did you really need him in the trailer?! By all means have Dane DeHann as Harry Osborne talking to Peter, showing their friendship and have hints that there might be something sinister afoot, but to have full body-shots and close-ups of DeHann in the Green Goblin make up in the trailer – just no.

Another film I’m having a problem with its trailer(s) is X-Men: Days of Future Past. I’m looking forward to this film, I’m a big X-Men fan and I’m intrigued as to how the original cast will come together with their younger versions, but the trailers are showing way too much. I’m the kind of person that on average goes to the cinema once a week so on the run up to a big release film like X-Men: Days of Future Past the trailer for that film is in front of every single film – even a film like Locke which you wouldn’t think a superhero film trailer would be attached to.

Last week I saw Godzilla, when I realised that the X-Men trailer was starting I covered my eyes and I’m glad I did as one of the friends I was with actually said that there was even more new footage of various battles that she hadn’t seen before. I’m seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past tomorrow and part of me is excited for the film itself, the other part is excited because then I’ll no longer be in fear of trailers. I adored the first X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer – I was quite happy to just see that and nothing else before seeing the film. In fact when the second trailer was released I’d already decided I wasn’t going to watch it, so what happened when I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2? The new X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer was before it! And then there was the random clip from X-Men as the post credits scene (which made no sense and again I got annoyed because film studios were showing me far more than I wanted them to)

I think studios have forgotten the saying less is more. While I do understand they want people to go see their films but it’s always nice to have a surprise when seeing the film and it not just be the trailer footage strung together. Recent trailers that I’ve liked have been Godzilla, Interstella, and the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer – I think that one especially gives just the right amount of plot. Even the new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer – it had more action scenes and different footage in it compared to the first trailer but the actual plot and characters (from just seeing the trailers) basically boils down to “group of misfits must come together and save the galaxy” and I am 100% happy with just knowing that before seeing the film on July 31st.

As I’m at University I don’t see the trailers on TV and I can make sure I don’t click on trailers or clips on YouTube/Facebook/Twitter. The cinema is the one place that I have no control over what I’m about to see so it is incredibly frustrating seeing a film trailer with so much footage in it.

This post was in part inspired by Chris Stuckman’s video as well as my general rage at trailers.

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3 comments

  1. I completely understand your annoyance. They do say sometimes that trailers show you the best bits, my question is: why? Why ruin a film for people before they’ve even seen it? Why make the enjoyment less so? What is the point? With how big the spoilers vs no spoilers thing is these days, why must they keep pandering to those who’ve already found out the spoilers elsewhere instead of those who choose to stay away from them? You have my filmy sympathies.

    1. Exactly! Trailers are supposed to be the “highlights” of the film but there can sometimes be too much of a good thing. Also I’ve found that some film trailers have footage in that doesn’t even appear in the film (this has happened in both The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past) which is a bit of a double edged sword ‘cos on the one hand you’re not really spoiled because it’s not in the finished film but it might have been something that looked really good and you were excited about and then you’re gutted that it wasn’t included or explained.
      Thank you – it’s a tough life for a film fan in today’s world of spoilers and the internet.

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