Beat Blog: The Power of the Trailer

I am an avid movie trailer watcher.  Approximately ¾ of the bookmarks on my laptop are for various trailer sites. I like to, no, need to, be the first of the first to see movie footage. A great (or horrible) move trailer can make or break a film. Even the worst movie of all time, if summed up in a mind-blowing trailer, will garner audience attention. I mean, I paid $12 to see “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in theatres… at midnight. Needless to say, an overly promising trailer fueled my foolish actions.



Okay, even if Wolverine is a better example of my affinity for superhero movies rather than the all-mighty power of trailers, the power of a good trailer is undeniable. A beautiful and persuasive trailer is a fine art that is overlooked by film viewers. A trailer alone can make the average viewer love or hate a film. A bad trailer can ruin a film’s financial success. A good trailer can make millions.


One of the most memorably incredible trailers of late was for “Where the Wild Things Are”. It did things that are, in general, unheard of for a trailer, providing excellent foreshadowing for what was to come in the film. Based on the popular children book of the same name, the trailer for “Where the Wild Things Are” evoked the perfect viewer emotions of excitement, sadness, and nostalgia. Through its use of music (Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up”) in combination with stunningly original imagery, the trailer managed to convince childhood fans of the book, in only 2 minutes and 6 seconds, that the feature length film would deliver all that was in its potential to deliver, ultimately making it a critical and financial success.



Ah, but the trailer pendulum swings both ways. As was the case with Wolverine, a good trailer can be paired with a perfectly awful movie. Unfortunately, Wolverine isn’t the only movie that will trick you with a good trailer, then take your money and run. Take a look at this trailer for the adaptation of the Stephen King novel, “Dreamcatcher”:



It’s difficult for me to say this, having seen the movie, but that is a pretty good trailer. It strikes a pretty nice balance between B-movie fun and genuine creepiness… genuinely deceitful creepiness. I have no remorse in calling “Dreamcatcher” one of the worst films I have ever seen. The beginning of the film is indeed loyal to the trailer, but what they don’t show in the trailer is the disgusting and unnecessary alien plot-lines that consume the greater majority of the film. The trailer is deceptive to the point of dishonesty, providing the viewer with a seriously disappointing movie experience.



The lesson? Don’t just a movie by its trailer. Explosions and epic music can be enticing, but do they evoke any sort of emotion when you see them? If not, maybe it’s better to spend your $12 where you can make it count.


3 thoughts on “Beat Blog: The Power of the Trailer

  1. Im going to see THor this weekend, and I refuse to go see it in Imax like the bf want bc I want the trailers!!! i think they are often better than movie

  2. Yeah, the trailer for “Wild Things” almost made me cry (almost–come on, I’m a guy). As a rule, I hate almost all the trailers I see in theaters because they’re all so overwrought. My wife and I have a refrain: “There’s one I never want to see.” You obviously picked a great topic for the blog, and offered some fun observations about them. Scoe = 10

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