Why Trailers and Hype are Ruining Films

Movie-Trailer-posterIt’s no secret that I love movies and so do a lot of other people. The mind of a movie fan works a little different to those who aren’t. Ours work in release dates, casting announcements and box office stats. It seems that everyday now you can’t escape at least one of the above and for me that is what it has become, trying to escape them. Well I suppose that isn’t the full story it has two sides to it.

Let’s start with trailers. Many people exclaim as they sit in a movie theatre that the best part of the cinema experience is seeing the trailers and up until a short while ago I could see why, however now increasingly I simultaneously love and hate seeing trailers. My issue arises from the amount shown in the trailers. Of course trailers are designed to get you to go and see the movie so naturally the film companies pack in as much good stuff as they can, but in my opinion it’s way too much. nightcrawler_ver3Let’s take a topical example; Nightcrawler. This film was awesome however in the trailer it quite extensively shows one of the most pivotal scenes of the films climax. Whilst I was watching the film I was tense, however having seen the trailer it removed so much suspense that otherwise would have been present. Nightcrawler is only one of a list of many that this has been a problem for. I don’t understand why so much needs to be shown, surely a smaller amount of clips would lead to more intrigue. Again let’s take a topical example; Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar which is released this weekend. The first trailer for this film was done so well, and by the end of it I still didn’t know much about the film, but did I want to see it? You bet I did, it featured just the right amount of footage to intrigue me without revealing any major plot points. However as the promotional campaign went on more and more trailers were released.MV5BMjIxNTU4MzY4MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzM4ODI3MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_ Unfortunately the later trailers have revealed so much more than the original which has resulted in me feeling that I know way too much and honestly my levels of excitement for this film have declined. Now don’t get me wrong I will still see it but that isn’t the point, I would have been more excited for this film with simply the teaser trailer rather than the numerous ones that have followed. I wasn’t even aware that Anne Hathaway starred in the film up until I recently saw a new TV trailer. In my opinion trailers are robbing us of our first time experiences of film.  I honestly think there are better ways to promote a film rather than to show all of the best bits in a two and a half minute clip set to awesome music, I have had experiences this year where I have enjoyed a trailer more than the movie it was promoting. Interviews, posters, casting news – these are methods of promotion that wouldn’t change our first experience, of course only if they were dealt with properly. So I try to avoid online trailer releases for the majority of films but when I am sitting in the cinema it is a different story, the film fanatic in me just can’t turn away. I want to know what is coming out and how it looks and because it is in front of me I watch but if it wasn’t there I wouldn’t go looking for it.

So that is the trailers, but possibly a bigger offender would be the hype machine that pushes so many films into the spotlight months before their releases. This has already been the case with so many this year including; Boyhood, Godzilla etc. Now as a film fan of course I do love hype, but I have noticed that it is so damaging to the effect that a movie can have on you. Personally I think there is too much discussion about films before people have seen them. Gravity_bullock_in_spaceCertain elements of this can be okay, release dates, casting decisions, locations and minor plot details but too often have I read articles or watched interviews where major things are revealed and seemingly a lot of films opening half an hour appears to just be open for discussion as some sort of plot synopsis, are people not forgetting that this section is part of the film too. Hype comes from these places but also critics social media, if you want to exclaim about how good a new film is that is ok, but can you not repeatedly do it on a public forum?  One of the biggest offenders for hype comes from 2013, probably the most talked about film of last year; Gravity. Without a doubt this film was likely my most anticipated film of the year also and I know I was partly responsible for being underwhelmed by it because I entered into the hype. It was ridiculous how much this movie was discussed though and this most definitely contributed to my disappointment despite it being a spectacular film. The hype should come after the majority of people have seen the film, however then I think to myself what the film world would be like without these trailers and hype, would it work? I think it could, it would be difficult to keep the great buzz that the film community has around it without these elements however it would just take new ways to excite film fans instead of taking away those once in a lifetime moments of your first experience of film.

So have you something to say on this matter? Do you think I am being way over the top in my opinions on these two areas of film promotion? Do you actually think these areas can help to enhance your experience? Please let me know what YOU think!


16 thoughts on “Why Trailers and Hype are Ruining Films

  1. There have been trailers almost as long as there have been movies and they still have value. I occasionally find out about a film I’d never heard of through a trailer or a trailer sometimes changes my mind about whether or not to see a film, usually for the best.

    They hype machine is more debatable but it also requires a degree of consent from the victim to work its malignant magic. I’m really looking forward to “Interstellar” in IMAX this Friday but apart from the trailer shown in the cinema which I can’t really avoid, I’ve made sure to stay in the dark about anything else to do with the movie. Likewise, Avengers: Age Of Ultron – now I’ve seen the first teaser trailer, I will avoid any clickbait with spoilers or clips because I want to see it as unspoiled as possible. I’m going to try and stay as uninformed about Star Wars Episode VII as possible too.

    The Marvel/DC hype machine, announcing movies five years in advance, is just the natural result of us fans clamouring for more information and wanting to know what’s coming. If we didn’t demand it, didn’t crave it, they wouldn’t provide it. Self control is the key here, no matter how tempting or juicy or mindblowingly cool the potential info might be…just don’t click. It’s not easy, though.

    • Oh yes, they certainly still have value I just think that the way they are created now take something away from our experience. That is true about a trailer changing you mind for the better however at the same time I cherish the rare times where I see a movie without having seen a trailer, think it has only happened once this year (The Calling).

      I am okay with film release date announcements, I think this is a really positive way to get hype going, it is just when people who get to see films way in advance always continue to go on about them on twitter/facebook etc. Like do it as much as you want in reviews or articles, things that are easier to avoid. However they do have the right to express their views but it is just something I see really contributing to it.

      ‘Just don’t click.’ is the way forward my friend, I am getting pretty good at that it is just the more unavoidable stuff which grates on me slightly – but at the same time I kind of love it.

  2. I agree completely. It’s an issue most film fans face these days between not wanting anything spoiled & simultaneously wanting to everything. Personally I like to know as little as possible, a prime example that I won’t watch another Age of Ultron trailer before the films released.

    • I would be the same as you man, however it is a challenge – especially when trailers and the hype machine combine! Makes you feel so out of the loop if you haven’t seen the latest one, but ultimately the end experience is much better!

  3. I definitely agree. Mokingjay is another example. Now I’ve read the book so I know what it’s about, but my girlfriend, who’s currently reading Catching Fire, saw the trailer and was asking, “why did she say this….. Why is he there?” Etc, where the trailer showed major plotlines. I do love seeing trailers, but I love it when I see it and have no or little clue what happens. There needs to be enough to give you an idea what the film is about (like, the fellas daughter is taken) but not enough to actually give anything else away (like, he’s actually a ghost all along lol)

    • Yeah, that is something I hadn’t actually considered – trailers for films adapted from books, potential for major spoilers there. I am happy I didn’t read the third book as I have the last two films to look forward too without knowing what happens.

  4. Ultimately hype comes from people loving the film, which is hard to control. There are embargoes (don’t talk about the film until the week before) but with a global community like Twitter you’ll end up hearing things.

    Personally, my biggest gripe is the way news is reported. Sites report on potential casting (and then when that potential casting isn’t real), speculation and plot details. These things aren’t relevant in the conversation. I don’t want to know that, for example, the ending to Avengers might have leaked. No site should even report on it.

    And yet, in the battle for the click, sites will do anything.

    • Yeah social networks have a big part to play in this issue and ultimately are never going to be able to be brought under control. Yeah that is true, I wonder how many people voluntarily read these leaks, surely they know they are just ruining the film for themselves.

  5. I can relate to this. Great post. I do love watching trailers, but nowadays they are almost like quick spoilers. I prefer teaser trailers, or really short ones. Ones that don’t show too much.

  6. I agree with your overburdening Hype machine thoughts here. By the time the film finally hits theaters I’m almost sick of the film already. And I don’t realize when the film is actually starting in the theater because I eventually tune out of all the TV commercails. One thing I hate even worse is the partnership commercials with fast food or cereal, etc. It cheapens the film for me even before I’ve seen it.

    • Thanks for your comment! Yeah that is the case for me all the time! I try and time my cinema trips to start after the TV ads. Product placement doesn’t annoy me the same way that it does others, I actually think it can make a film more realistic.

      • I don’t mind product placement in the actual movie, I’m talking about the commercials on TV with Godzilla eating a burger from Burger King and things like that. They were keeping the look of Godzilla a secret until openning day but then, BAM, 2 weeks before the film is released, there he is in full body view on a TV commercial for Fiat. I wanted to be surprised by the film but they blew it.

      • Aye ok! Sorry I misunderstood you, yeah I can see why that would annoy you. Personally I haven’t experienced this too much, but if that was to increase I could see myself becoming frustrated.

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