Who can argue these days that film trailers have become an institution in their own right? In some instances, the anticipation for the first trailer of a new film seems to outweigh the excitement for the release of the film itself. And 2015 has been no exception.
There have been some huge releases this year so far, and arguably the biggest is yet to come, with a new Star Wars film in December. Film marketing 101 almost entirely relies on the strength of its trailer. There have been times a great trailer for a film gets a lot of buzz, but the film itself falls flat. This is because there is a big difference between delivery of a great film and executing a superb trailer to market it.
For this list of top trailers of 2015, I considered the previews of high grossing films like Fast and Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. And, despite their successes at the box office, I felt their trailers were not the deciding factor on why I chose to watch the films. I also looked at trailers for films I have yet to see. Three of those ended up in my top 5 of this year. This is because I haven't judged trailers based on the actual quality or enjoyment factor of the films themselves. I considered how much these trailers make me want to see those films. Other considerations I made were from a technical point of view: looking at the quality of the edit, pacing, and narrative within the trailer.
So, with my criteria formulated, here are my Top 5 Trailers of 2015.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Including this trailer was always going to have some bias. Star Wars is Star Wars. The first trailer released earlier this year was the greatest possible tease, but I selected the second trailer for its bravery to still essentially not share a single thing about what this film is really about. I will note there is still a full theatrical trailer in the cards before the film's release, but to do what J.J. Abrams does so well, keeping details of his film's secret this close to a release is commendable.
Best bit: Despite every frame having something truly exciting, Han and Chewie at the end is what so many fans have been waiting over 30 years to see again.
2. Jurassic World
I had to work hard not to judge the film when considering this trailer. It is currently the highest grossing film of the year, and sitting behind James Cameron's mammoth efforts on the all-time box office list at number three. This success has to have some correlation with its marketing campaign. The trailer works to re-familiarize us to the world where the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park blew our minds. Having seen the original in cinemas, the feeling I got from the trailer was this was a more natural sequel. It attempted to recreate the magic and excitement that a real life dinosaur park would, and then proceeded to show this as the bigger, louder, mutated version of that film -- obviously something to keep the millennials happy!
Best bit: Raptors fighting for the good guys.
3. Straight Outta Compton
My interest in hip hop music is limited, so I have yet to see this film. But I know enough to understand that N.W.A were a big deal for more than one reason. And as someone who wouldn't normally watch a movie about this subject matter, this trailer did give me similar feels to Eminem's 8 Mile, which was a great movie. I think the main strength of this trailer is in the way that it makes me believe the music of N.W.A brought about a cultural revolution to America in the '80s. Whether there is truth in this or it's just dramatization doesn't actually matter. My interest in seeing the film is drawn from the fact that the story appears to have incredible stakes that see a group of young, talented people become huge stars. The rags to riches story always hits home with audiences and this trailer serves that well.
Best Bit: Paul Giamatti defending the group against racist police.
4. Steve Jobs
You might ask, why do we need another Steve Jobs film? Judging by this trailer, there is a lot to like about this film already, despite those few previous attempts. Danny Boyle, Aaron Sorkin, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels -- these are incredible draw cards. But what really makes this trailer work is the frenetic dialogue poetry that Sorkin is famous for and the way the trailer has been cut to compliment that poetry. Having not seen the film yet, the expectation I have from this trailer is Steve Jobs is a high-paced conversational dance that delves into the psyche of a genius. I wouldn't be surprised if this genius is more about Sorkin's voice as the genius writer than Jobs as the tech genius. It could be what was missing from previous bio-pic outings of Job's Apple successes, and I believe this trailer works hard to differentiate itself from them.
Best bit: Seth Rogen in serious face as Steve Wozniak... Could he follow Jonah Hill and see some nominations?
5. Mad Max: Fury Road
Let's forget about what made Fury Road one of the best films of the year. Let's simply look at why the trailer is the best piece of film marketing of 2015. Much in the same way that a conversational poetry existed in the Steve Jobs trailer, this trailer contains some of the best visual poetry put to film marketing. Every shot looks selected with care and intent, leading from the previous shot to the next. It does help that the trailer producers had such a gluttony of visually incredible images to cut together. Composer Junkie XL's music is used with edits in a frenetic beat that enhances the impact the action has on the screen. This trailer deserves multiple viewings.
Best bit: All of it. Every segment, sequence and shot is just amazing.
What are your favorite trailers of 2015? Do you agree with this list? Tell us in the comments!
Daniel Sanguineti is a Australian Film Producer and Writer, who tutors film and media at the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. He is on twitter @DanSanguineti.