Trailer Etiquette

No, I’m not talking about trailer as in trailer trash. You won't find anything in here about the merits of substituting ketchup for spaghetti sauce.  I’m talking about trailer as in movie trailer.  I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in movie trailers lately that is really starting to piss me off.  See, I know a lot of people who watch every single damn trailer they can before the movie comes out.  They go to apple trailers all the time, watch all of those IGN podcasts and red band clips and all that other shit.  The problem is, by that time you’ve already seen half of the damn movie, what’s the point of watching it if you’ve already seen the “Cole’s notes” version?  That is not me.

Personally, I avoid watching trailers on the net, and the only time I see them is at the theatre.  Normally, this has worked pretty well to keep most movies from being spoiled by an excessive number of clips and previews.  Unfortunately the trend movie trailers seem to be adopting lately is to show you the end of the fucking movie which means even seeing just one trailer could spoil the movie.  And since you’re in a theatre it’s almost like you don’t have a choice.  I mean who is going to get up and walk out while the trailers are running?  What if you miss the start of the movie?  What if you still hear the end of the movie standing outside of the theatre? It's just plain unreasonable to expect anyone to do that.

There is simply no excuse for that shit.  Stop showing the end of movies in the trailer.  Notice how in the next part of this paragraph, even though I’m pretty sure 99% of the civilized world has seen these movies, I still have the courtesy to warn the reader that spoilers are present. It would be like having the trailer for The Empire Strikes Back (SPOILER) show you the scene where Darth Vader tells Luke that he is his father, or showing the end of the Sixth Sense (SPOILER) where Bruce Willis realizes he was a ghost for the whole movie. Trailers never warn you, they just go right ahead and ruin it for you while you sit there, unable to do a goddamn thing about it. It's like being bound in a chair and mentally raped. 

IT RUINS THE FUCKING MOVIE, STOP IT!!!

A couple of recent examples where they straight up show you the end of the movie in the trailer are Surrogates and The Crazies.  Now, in the case of The Crazies you might say “well it’s a remake so everyone already knows how it ends”.  Ok first off, I know maybe 2 people who have seen that movie, and besides, the remake doesn’t end the same as the original.  When you give away the ending to a horror movie it really kills the suspense. I still liked the movie, but when you know exactly who's making it in the ned (not just you think you know, but the trailer shows you) it tarnishes that first time viewing experience. With Surrogates though, a goddamn mystery movie by design, they fuck themselves in the ass by showing you the end of the movie.  Why go see a mystery movie if the trailer gives away the mystery?  There is no point, so I didn't bother (apparently I wasn't alone either). I just don’t understand what goes through these marketing guys’ heads sometimes.

The average theatrical trailer is only about 3 minutes long.  Even if you’re taking footage from a movie that’s 80 minutes long, that’s still only 3.75% of the movie’s running time.  Couldn’t that have come from somewhere else in the movie that doesn’t fucking ruin it?

You know this got me thinking of some other things that really bug me about trailers, so I’ve decided to come up with a few pointers for what I feel should be proper trailer etiquette.

(1) We’ve already established that showing the end of the movie is unacceptable, so enough said there.  I mean there isn’t even any reason to have to justify beyond “don’t show me the end, it fucking ruins it”.

(2) Don’t ruin twists in the plot.  This is pretty much the same thing as rule 1, and just because a twist occurs midway through the running time of some movies does not make it OK to ruin it in the fucking trailer.

(3) Don’t show all the good parts in the trailer.  Give them a taste, but that’s all.
If you are making a trailer for a comedy, don’t show all the funny parts and leave only the filler for the actual movie.  You’ve all seen a trailer where the movie looked hilarious only to discover you’d already seen everything worth seeing when you go to the movie.  I understand it’s important to make the trailer funny to entice people into seeing it if you’re marketing a comedy, but a little restraint will go a long way towards having some staying power after the first weekend.  Otherwise when everyone comes out of the movie they tell everyone they know not to bother seeing it, and to just download the trailer. 

(4) Market the trailer to your target audience.  Don’t make the movie out to be something completely different than it actually is.  If your movie is a bloody, mean spirited, slasher movie then give the fans a taste of what they’re getting (following rules 1, 2 and 3) and consider doing an R-rated trailer (or at the very least make it well known that the movie is going to be hard core).  Trust me, fans of slasher movies aren’t going to be offended by an R-rated trailer which they’re probably seeing at the beginning of an R-rated movie.  Here’s a good example of a new movie coming out where I think this applies.  I actually saw the online “red band” version of this trailer and then I saw the regular G-rated theatrical trailer and I find the theatrical one to be quite misleading.  The movie, by the way, is called Kick Ass.  The trailer makes it look like a kid friendly, PG family flick, but when you see the red-band trailer you find out the movie is actually going to be this awesome, violent and vulgar R-rated flick.  Honestly if I hadn’t known the true nature of the film, I probably would’ve just skipped it altogether (I rarely go to comedies in the theatre).  But now that I know it’s going to be R, I’m totally psyched to see it.

(5) Less is more.  This is one of the very few times this applies, but I wish it was followed a hell of a lot more. A lot of the most successful add campaigns show you almost nothing in the movie, but the mystery makes everyone want to see it.  The Matrix is a great example.  Nobody had a clue what the movie was about before they actually went and saw it for themselves, and that was the perfect type of advertising for a movie of that nature.  They certainly didn’t violate rule number 2.

Just five little rules, shouldn’t be the hard of a thing to follow.  In fact I could summarize all five of these rules into just three words (with one only added for effect):

COMMON FUCKING SENSE

So I was looking on Google to find out about other movies that have had their endings ruined so I could put together a comprehensive list (no luck there) but what I did find just blows my mind.  There is a site called themoviespoiler.com that has only one purpose: to spoil the endings of every movie in theatres, and this site is popular!  I’m sorry but the creator of this site is probably the biggest cock sucker alive.  I’m putting Hitler above this asshole right about now.  Why would anyone want to make this site?  Worse yet, why would anyone want to go to this site?  The whole point of a movie is the experience of watching the story unfold before you, not having someone tell you exactly what happens before you can work up the huge amount of courage required to go and see the fucking movie for yourself you spineless, cheap, pond scum you (directed at readers of themoviespoiler.com).

Ugh, my already low opinion of 99% of the human race just dropped another notch.

-Sweetooth0

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