The movie industry is worth billions of dollars and continues to profit even during times when television and video games are as good a ways of viewing entertainment on the silver screen. A large portion of that can be attributed to the experience that comes along with attending the movies. With varying ways to watch (2D, 3D, IMAX) and certain elements home only to movies – the spectacle of watching on a massive screen, the surround sound, experiencing the other movie goers in attendances’ emotions in occurrence with your own, and the over buttered popcorn – there are certainly arguments as to why going to the movies is so unique. But that doesn’t mean the theaters haven’t had to adapt to the modern ways of society as a result of the internet.
It used to be that the only time you could see a trailer was to either get lucky during the commercial break watching television or it would come on in the previews while you were already attending another movie. Now with YouTube dominating the internet, trailers are easily accessible. As a result, the films can get lost in the fray not only of other movie trailers released close to theirs (Aka their competition) but to any video on the platform. So trailers become one of the most important aspects of the production of the movie. Logically speaking, it makes sense that you would want to put the best aspects of your product on display as a means of selling said product. But when it comes down to products that are absorbed through watching them that’s obviously not always the case.
A lot of modern trailers do have that business mentality of put your best on display, as the big wigs in charge of the product are more worried about the money they earn rather than the creative premise behind things, resulting in a disconnect. Instead of plot heavy trailers selling someone on the movie, though, the repercussions end up discouraging a lot of viewers from seeing the film. On one side there is the mindset of “Why would I see a three-hour movie if every important bit of plot was just summed up in three minutes?” If I can put together everything about this film in the small amount of time that was dedicated to the trailer, chances are there isn’t going to be anything in between in those extra two hours and fifty-seven minutes that is going to be anything other than filler. While it’s not always true, it’s certainly something that has deterred me from seeing a film more than once, and reviews have proven me right just as often. The other side of the coin is that it ruins the overall experience of having everything unfold in the manner in which it was intended to from the outset. For example, if the trailer spoils that everyone dies at the end by showing that exact scene, the emotional impact, once it occurs, will be meaningless because of instead of everything building up to that point, you are already well aware of what’s going to happen. Granted there have been a fair share of trailers to provide scenes that either wasn’t in the film or were something along the lines of a flashback to do just that, subverting the viewer’s expectation, but those usually end up feeling like cheap parlor tricks, not clever twist.
Even the best trailers- the ones that add to the experience, who do manage to subvert expectations the correct way – still take away from just going in to a movie completely blind. As much as I love Emma Stone and adore Ryan Gosling if you had told me that a romantic comedy musical would be my favorite movie of 2016, I’d have said you were out of your mind. But when I saw the La La Land on a whim, simply based on the names starring in it, I was blown away by everything. Going back and looking at the trailer after – even though it’s a great trailer that does subvert expectations correctly, especially with the kiss scene – it still would have negatively affected certain scenes, having known “Oh I wonder when this scene is coming up from the trailer.” Honestly, that may very dependent on the person but I still hold steady to the fact that it would have changed the impact of specific scenes drastically if I had known they were supposed to be coming, even if they weren’t necessarily guaranteed to be in the movie.
But in a world filled with so much entertainment and with so little time in which to digest it all, how do I know which ones are worth my time? It’s a hard question to answer, and it’s one that trailers do help solve a lot of the time. The thing is, even in the technologically advanced society that we live in, where we don’t have to leave our couch for days because of all the different options at our fingertips, there a still simple ways to see if a movie is worth your time. While it’s never a guarantee of a great movie, a cast list can dictate where a movie is going to be worth your time. Combine that with reading a brief synopsis of the premise, and you have the basis of why you should spend your time watching it. Worse comes to worse, you make fun of how bad the movie is with everyone else suffering through it.
But like I stated before, certain trailers and teaser do actually manage to enhance the movie without spoiling anything vital, so there is still merit to watching them. So it’s all a matter of opinion whether you think a movie trailer can ruin a movie before seeing it. But I would highly suggest, every now and then, just closing your eyes and throwing a dart the dartboard as a means of selecting which movie you and your significant other or friends want to see this weekend, you might be surprised how much you enjoy the outcome.