Coming (not so) soon: Why trailers tease films a year ahead of time

TORONTO -- The anti-hero adventure film "Suicide Squad" isn't due out until August 2016, but fans already have a taste, thanks to a teaser trailer that debuted in July -- while shooting was still underway.

See Full Article

The recently released "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" also had a teaser trailer out over a year in advance, as does the J. K. Rowling-written "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," due out next November.

Distributors have been posting teaser trailers well ahead of a film's release for over a decade, with 2003's "The Da Vinci Code" cited as a trailblazer. But experts say it's now become more commonplace, and in some cases, the teasers now have their own teasers.

It's a way of creating early awareness in the increasingly congested entertainment world, making the trailer more important than ever.

"When you're up against Marvel movies and Disney movies and these movies with the Happy Meals in your face, it's harder for independent films to dance between the raindrop and find those eyeballs," says Elevation Pictures co-president Laurie May.

"So the more you can start to create the awareness, I think the better."

Traditional marketing of a big film used to be based on a tightly controlled strategy that included on-set media junkets and trailers to get the word out.

Now, actors, directors and on-set photographers can post their own material on social media in real-time during production, easily and relatively cheaply.

"The social media strategy is now an inherent part of virtually every single film that gets made," says Piers Handling, director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival.

But for all the buzz social media can provide in the promotion of a film, the trailer still remains tops.

"In terms of marketing materials or any sort of interaction with the marketing of a movie or a TV show, the trailer is still the No. 1 most effective piece of content that goes out," says D'nae Kingsley, chief strategy officer for Trailer Park, a Hollywood-based entertainment and content marketing agency.

"It's very, very, very important, and what's interesting, too, is it's across all ages."

Smaller Canadian films don't often get teaser trailers, but Elevation made it happen for writer-director Paul Gross's "Hyena Road." A teaser for the Afghan war drama came out nearly a year before it hit theatres in October, followed by a second trailer closer to theatrical release.

"This one we needed to breed the awareness of it early and just keep it in everyone's mind," says Gross, noting its release date coincided with the busy Thanksgiving weekend.

"The problem with a lot of small films is there isn't really much of a chance that it's going to take off, just the way that the market is right now, it's really tough out there for smaller, independent cinema."

Those who make trailers say the standard is still about two-and-a-half minutes in length, and the basic approach remains the same: they have to be compelling and leave an impression.

But the creative touches in them are ever-evolving.

"This is true about any medium, especially film and TV, (they) are always evolving," says Nati Braunstein, co-president and executive creative director at Aspect, a trailer shop in Los Angeles with credits including the "Black Mass" and "Batman v Superman" teasers.

"But it seems to me that trailers are evolving on a faster pace because it has to always surprise and excite."

The big trend in trailers used to be voiceovers, which aren't used as much anymore. Then when 2010's "Inception" came out with an ominous horn sound, that started a new trend.

"The big kind of 'bwah' sound that started in 'Inception,' if you look at that trailer, that was one of the first times that it was used," says Braunstein.

"That was definitely a big moment for trailers and then since then, it's been imitated and reiterated and now it's completely passe."

These days, there are less action trailers that "go on and on with a monologue from the bad guys," he adds.

"If you look at previous years, that was kind of the standard. It was: monologue from bad guy, big exploding shots. And that became a parody."

Making teasers for a trailer have added a new challenge for the industry.

"Usually you don't want to show stuff that's not going to show up in your trailer, because then people will notice that it's missing," says Braunstein. "But on the flip side, you don't want to spill the beans, you don't want to give away anything that's super exciting about the trailer itself.

"So it's a fine line of creating advertising for advertising, and that's something we're still developing on how to do that just quite right."

Trailer houses have to be particularly judicious in an era of websites that dissect every shot of a trailer to look for clues.

"I think studios have become smart over the years and have been really carefully strategizing on what to show, when to show and how much to show," says Braunstein.

"The biggest complaint I used to hear when people knew what I did for a living was, 'You guys gave away the best parts of the movie,' and I honestly think that that isn't happening quite as much anymore."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Ariana Grande says she is 'broken' after Manchester bombing

    Entertainment CTV News
    Pop star Ariana Grande has broken her silence about the horrific bombing that killed at least 22 concert-goers and injured around 60 others after her concert in Manchester, England on Monday night. The 23-year-old American singer tweeted a message to her followers at nearly 3 a.m. Source
  • Sir Roger Moore dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    Photos Source
  • Cannes festival to hold moment of silence for Manchester

    Entertainment CTV News
    CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival said it will hold a moment of silence Tuesday for the victims of the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. The festival invited all festivalgoers to "show their solidarity with the victims, their families and the British people" with a minute of silence at 3 p.m. Source
  • Cannes fetes itself with massive 70th anniversary bash

    Entertainment CTV News
    CANNES, France -- The Cannes Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary by bringing together an array of stars, filmmakers and former Palme d'Or winners. On Tuesday, Cannes gathered more than 100 big names from across cinema to pose for a photo together. Source
  • Zack Snyder exits 'Justice League' after daughter's death; Whedon to direct

    Entertainment CTV News
    Zack Snyder, center, director of the upcoming film 'Justice League,' addresses the audience with cast members, from left, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Jason Momoa during the Warner Bros. Pictures presentation at CinemaCon 2017 at Caesars Palace on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Las Vegas. Source
  • Celebrities react to deadly Manchester Arena attack

    Entertainment CTV News
    Reaction to the fatal explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England: "broken. from the bottom of my heart, i am so so sorry. i don't have words." - Ariana Grande, via Twitter. Source
  • Rebel Wilson tells court Australian articles hurt her career

    Entertainment CTV News
    MELBOURNE, Australia -- A tearful Rebel Wilson testified on Tuesday that a series of magazine articles published in Australia were a deliberate attack on her character and damaged her acting career. Wilson is suing Australian publisher Bauer Media for defamation over several articles published in 2015 that the Australian-born actress said led to her film contracts being terminated. Source
  • Zack Snyder exits ‘Justice League’ after daughter’s death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — The recent death of director Zack Snyder’s daughter has driven the prominent filmmaker to step away from finishing the ensemble superhero movie “Justice League.” A source close to production who was not authorized to speak publicly said Monday that director Joss Whedon would take over completing the film, which should still hit its Nov. Source
  • Lawsuit: Fyre music fest more 'Hunger Games' than Coachella

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Litigation is piling up like bonfire kindling against organizers of the Fyre Festival that flamed out in a fiasco. Angry participants had lashed out on social media with the hashtag .fyrefraud as the music festival fell apart on an island in the Bahamas in April and fraud is the first claim in a $100 million class-action suit. Source
  • 19 dead, 59 injured after blast at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K.

    Entertainment CBC News
    Police say there have been a "number of confirmed fatalities" and injuries after an explosion at the Manchester Arena in northern England, where U.S. pop star Ariana Grande was giving a concert. Police statement on incident at Manchester Arena pic.twitter.com/gaKASukx9a— @gmpolice Source