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The role of trailers in movie storytelling

What is the role of a movie trailer? Is it simply to build excitement for a movie, increasing its revenue, or can it be used as a storytelling tactic? Some trailers can be seen as works of art in themselves (1979’s "Alien" is a particular favorite) while many modern trailers have been criticized for "giving too much away," or simply summarizing the plot ("Batman V. Superman" tried a few approaches.) Trailers on the internet can be seen by audiences more easily than ever before: how have they been used, and how should they be used, as a storytelling device?

  • I'd be interested to read about different trailers for the same movie -- sometimes one trailer paints a movie in a different light than another trailer, but both obviously can influence a person's interest in seeing the film or reasons for committing to watch it. – Cait 4 years ago
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  • The role of trailers are crucial in advertising and promoting movies. It gives us a sample of what is to come, and if we don't get enough, or we get too much, the movie could crash and burn before it actually comes out. Trailers are tricky! – Tony13 4 years ago
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  • Culture also plays a part in what a trailer is likely to show. trailers intended for Western audiences are likely to build excitement and tease the audience, trying to tell us as much as possible without telling us anything at all. The Chinese audience, however, prefer to know what they're going into, so trailers intended for them will give away a lot of the story of the film. – Jamie White 4 years ago
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  • Sounds like a good topics. Perhaps you could include a list of the best 5 trailers of all time. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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  • I'm convinced that trailer-making is an absolute art in itself, as fulfilling as the film sometimes. The key is to have some structure to the trailers released - for example Cameron's trailers for T2 first told us there were two Terminators, and then told us one was good and one was bad. With each trailer, the audience was drip fed a little more. Now, it seems like directors just cherry pick various cool moments and stick them randomly into each new trailer, often spliced with ones we've already seen. – J.P. Shiel 4 years ago
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  • Also analyze movies where the trailer is accused of deliberately misleading the audiences for example in ‘Drive’ and ‘The Rhythm Section’ and how that then has gone on to adversely/positively affect the movie’s theatre revenues. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 3 months ago
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