Are Movie Trailers, Showing To Much?

Elodie Cure Elodie Cure
Expert Contributor
July 5th, 2018

French aspiring writer and interviewer. TV shows and films connoisseur. Overpowered by curiosity.

Are Movie Trailers, Showing To Much?

Have you ever found yourselves watching a trailer and telling your inner self: “no need to go and see this film, I just saw everything “. Be reassured; you are not the only one to feel that way. For some years, trailers are in the middle of a heated debate: Do they reveal too much?

Trailers are short advertising films that are created to promote a product to be soon released in the cinema. There are supposed to tease our curiosity and give us the envy to watch the film thanks to an ingenious mix of sharp images, salty moments and essential quotes - all without disclosing the surprises hidden in the scenario of course! This problematic exercise to conceive the master chief that will make the viewers salivate is entrusted to a specialised society, sometimes to the disappointment of the directors.


Drive, produced by Nicolas Winding Refn, has notably paid this high cost. For the Cannes Festival, the director proposed his own, sombre and effective trailer. However, an entirely different promotional film was shown for its cinema release, depicting a project much closer to the Fast and Furious franchise than the real psychological thriller it is. Toward this deceit, a woman decided to press charges against the Film District Studio (you can read more about it here).

Some actual trailers surpass their main function indeed - to tease the upcoming film - by showing the significant plots, even the central twist of the concerned full-length feature. To overload, a trailer suggests to those who watch it that they have already seen everything. No need to find out more. All the more so as now every movie possesses three trailers which means three more chances to tell too much. The latest most blatant example is Skyscraper,  that got it all wrong from the second trailer showing the entire film

If we keep thinking that this sickness is recent, it goes to several years back. In 1976, the adaptation of Stephen King’s Novel Carrie was released. While watching the trailer, we learn that the eponymous character is a bullied teenager who discovers she has telekinesis powers. We also find that during the prom, where she becomes queen, the evening will turn to a real nightmare for everyone else.

We’ve seen better to keep suspense… And that’s only an example among others: the Rocky trailer unveiled the final match, the Impossible’s one disclosed the family reunion while in the Southpaw one, we discovered a significant decrease. But the winning prize in this category goes to Cast Away, which trailer has more in common with an entire summary. You can judge by yourself :

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This problem can be explained easily. For the marketing agencies, not to show enough key images could not attract the targeted audience. Keeping too many secrets in a trailer is risking to be misunderstood and to disappoint. The big revelations are thus favoured, even if it means to sacrifice the film. The most important thing is to sell tickets to the cinema after all.

In a domain where the competition is harsh, it seems practically impossible for marketing agencies to come back to basics, drained of all surplus that could harm the scenario. Because everything resides in the balance of the information to convey.

Nowadays, the teasers, that are enigmatic advertisings which meaning is explained later in the first trailer, titillate our curiosity even more than actual containers. The solution, for those who don’t want to be spoiled about the future releases, might be to deprive ourselves of those sweet foretastes; even if the task looks arduous because of their deadening presence on the Internet.

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