Movie trailers and their importance

Movie trailers and their importance

            Trailers are important. Hear me out – I know everybody knows that, but I don’t think they really have the idea about its gravitas. After all, this is the first thing that gives us some kind of idea about the movie. Sure, we know the prognosis, the cast and who will direct it. But the trailer gives us the first look. And… 99% of the time, it determines whether we want to watch it or not. 

THE HISTORY

            Let’s start with some history. I don’t know about you, but it is oddly satisfying for me to dig into details about something. So, the very first trailer was shown in an American film theater in November 1913. Nils Granlund (the advertising manager for one of the theater chains) produced a short promotional film for the musical The Pleasure Seekers, opening on Broadway. This maneuver was deemed revolutionary. 

Granlund was also the first one to introduce trailer material for an upcoming motion picture. He used a slide technique to promote an upcoming film featuring Charlie Chaplin in 1914. Due to trailers initially being shown after, or „trailing”, the feature film, the term „trailer” was used to describe the promotion; even though it came before, or „previewing”, the film it was promoting.

It wasn’t all that effective, since the audience was leaving right after the movie ended. Later, exhibitors changed their practice so that trailers were only one part of the program, which included cartoon shorts, newsreels, and serial adventure episodes.

THE CHANGE

           Until the late 50s, trailers were created by NSS (National Screening Services) and they were pretty simple: few key scenes with large texts over to describe the plot briefly. Once the “New Hollywood” arrived, trailers changed. Texts were gone and quick-editing became more and more popular. 

There is one name that comes into my mind when I think about trailers trend-setter – Stanley Kubrick. His montage trailers for Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), revolunionized the industry. 

Dr Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb review  – still a blast | Dr Strangelove | The Guardian
Photograph: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy; Source: the guardian.com

And till today, trailers became the biggest deal. Producers and executives are using them as the most powerful tool for promotion. We live in times when trailes have their own.. Trailers, which are called teasers. But with great power comes great responsibility.

THE IMPORTANCE

           Over the years, trailer-makers became bolder. With that edgy courage, as it usually is, controversy followed. Audiences all over the world, but mainly die-hard fans accused producers of misconceptions and lies. For example, movie trailers may give the impression that a celebrity who only has a minor part in the film is one of the main cast members, or advertising a film as being more action-packed than it is.

Be honest, how many times were you disappointed by the movie, but the trailer was soooo good you were sold the second you saw it? It happened more than once to me. Marvel is the king, hands down. The lies and manipulations in trailers are forgiven though, because… Well, it’s Marvel, right? Bait-and-switch, no?

There are people who are willing to fight the power – An American woman filed a lawsuit against the makers of Drive. In her opinion, ir “failed to live up to its promo’s promise”. It got dismissed. Years later, someone attempted to sue Suicide Squad for the lack of scenese with Joker. I mean… If they wanted to sue this movie for something, I can list a bunch of other reasons. 

THE MEANING

           But watching movie trailers is a feast for me. It’s one of my favorite movie-going experiences. To see what is coming up or to relive some great moments. I remember that they started showing The Rise of Skywalker trailer in January and the movie came out in December. Had goosebumps every time! 

But there are some trailers and teasers and all things promotional that… Have left a permanent imprint on my brain. So, this long and dull introduction leads to a list of some top trailers and moments. 

BEST MOVIE TRAILERS (and teasers) chosen by Twin Peaks Cafe (in a completely random order): 

  1. Inception (2010) (Wow, just wow. I remember seeing it at the movie theatre for the first time, had no clue what was going on).
  2. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – teaser trailer (It’s just wholesome… The narration, the music, the aesthetic…).
  3. Green Book (2019) (The music used, including one of my favorite songs… Wow. Plus that scene „Falling in love with you…” – gets me every damn time).
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) – teaser AND trailer (I MEAN… Wow. After so many years, I was in tears).
  5. Dune (2021) (BEST MOVIE AND TRAILER IN YEARS)
  6. Avatar (2009) (This was just such a big deal back in 2009. Just wow…)
  7. LOTR trilogy (2001-2003) – The Fellowship of the Ring; The Two Towers; The Return of the King (Classic and I have goosebumps all over my body).
  8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) (I cannot even begin to imagine how INSANE that looked back in 1960s. I just can’t. One of the best trailers I’ve ever seen).
  9. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) (Wow. Pretty good damn trailer for the late, late 70s. Plus… ST was on a wave back then, so).
  10. The Lion King (1994) (Y’all know what this movie means to me, and I find myself watching this compilation every know and then… Because it is nostalgic like hell. Brings so many great memories…)
  11. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2022) (Easily one of the best things I’ve seen. Animation on a whole new level…)
Green Book

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

  1. Rocky (1976) (How can you NOT love Rocky?)
  2. Avatar 2: The way of water (2022) (I do not know whether it’s bold or crazy, but… It will be a tough act to follow. Looks amazing!)
  3. Tenet (2020) – official trailer (Much like Inception, it blew my mind. Like, I had no idea what was going on).
  4. Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Just wow. One of my favorite trailers of all times. It’s soooo great!).
  5. The Lion King (2019) – official teaser (I cried when I first saw it. It was emotionally… Wrecking, but in a good way. Stole my heart!).
trailers
© 1976 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved, Source: IMDb

Bonus – TV show trailers that blew my mind:

  1. The Boys – teaser S3 (2022) (That Imagine Dragons song fits perfectly this word-less teaser. TV is competing with theatrical releases but damn! It’s good!).
  2. The Mandalorian (2020) (I mean… Gosh, chills ALL OVER).
  3. Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) (What did you expect? That I will miss it? LOL).
  4. The Wire (2002) (One of the best series in the world, with simple yet „to the point” kind of trailer).

           What would be on your list, Lot? What movie trailers made your heart skip a beat? Let me know! 

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