ByJon Negroni, writer at
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Jon Negroni

We've all watched that trailer. It gives away the whole movie, including key plot twists. Sometimes you watch a trailer that isn't even close to what you get in the real movie (we're looking at you Frozen and Kangaroo Jack).

And sometimes, a movie trailer is just plain bad, even though the movie itself is quite good. Well this week on the Now Conspiring Podcast, Maria and I delve into what makes our trailers, well trailers. Is it money? Greed? Power? Greedy power?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

During the show, we boiled it down to a few key points:

#1 Trailers are usually made by people who didn't make the movie.

Remember this?
Remember this?

Most of the time, trailers are not developed in-house. Agencies have to develop them with limited assets, and they usually don't even know what the movie is supposed to be about.

Which is what leads to movie trailers that have nothing to do with the movies themselves. Instead of making a trailer a proper tease for what the director's vision is supposed to be, it will be a straightforward marketing tool created to bring people to the theaters.

But don't panic. This ends up working.

#2 We like familiarity.

That Cast Away scene in Bridesmaids
That Cast Away scene in Bridesmaids

Trailers usually give away the entire plot because that's what most moviegoers actually want, even if they don't realize it.

We like to watch the same movie/story over and over again, but with a twist. And people who make trailers know this. They know that if a trailer crosses everything off of our subconscious checklists, we're that much more likely to watch it, even if we think we've already seen the entire movie.

That said, this doesn't always work. Sometimes, trailers really do give away too much, preventing people from caring enough to see it. But for the most part, we will anyway.

#3 Trailers reflect the time they're made in.

The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man

And these days, we like really crappy movies that over-promise and under-deliver.

Another unique thing our generation is obsessed with is continuity and comic book movies, which is why every trailer is trying to wow us with shared universes (we're looking at you Amazing Spider-Man).

What do you think?


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