Photo: Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Column: Movie trailers give too much away

Spoiler warning.  

A phrase that should be put at the beginning of most movie trailers, which is sad to say because the purpose of movie trailers is not to give away spoilers and plot points but to intrigue viewers in hopes they go see the movie. However, trailers seem to neglect this duty in favor of giving away information in a cheap tactic to hook people into the movie. And then they create viewers, like myself, who refuse to watch movie trailers anymore.

Now, not all trailers give away too much information, but a good proportion do. The problem with this is that key plot points, great scenes and endings are given away with trailers. I am not the only one who feels this way. Nearly half of Americans believe that trailers give away the best scenes, and 32 percent believe that they give away a lot of plot. 

Just last week, the new trailer for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" came out. I refused to watch it, just for the reasons that I am talking about now: It gave away too much information. In fact, the director, of the movie, Rian Johnson, tweeted, “I am legitimately torn. If you want to come in clean, absolutely avoid it.” I took that as a clear sign to stay away. If the director for the movie is coming out to warn viewers from watching his trailer, then obviously there are problems with trailers nowadays.

Of course, this problem is not limited to the new "Star Wars" trailer. Recent movies like “Batman v Superman” and “Spider Man: Homecoming” were critiqued for showing way too much of their stories. So much in fact, that there was speculation that “Batman v Superman” suffered in box office sales because many felt that the trailer gave away the whole movie. The purpose of trailers is to get people to go to movies and pay for tickets, but instead they might actually be hurting sales. Why? Too much information.

Just as this epidemic is not limited to "Star Wars" trailers, it is also not limited to recent films. In fact, films have been criticized for ages about revealing information. “Cast Away” in 2000 had a trailer that gave away the ending itself. “Rocky IV” in 1985 gave away the catalyst of the film’s plot in its trailer. The idea of showing too much in trailers is not new and certainly has never been a good thing no matter the decade.

Nevertheless, I still find it frustrating. It is hard to be excited for a movie when you have to avoid trailers for it. And, if you decide to not care about spoilers then you are forced to go into a movie knowing about a lot of plot points that will ruin the experience. I hope that in the future, movie production teams recognize this problem and fix it; movie trailers must be intriguing enough to get viewers and sales, but should never cross the line of giving the movie away. Though I am doubtful that this system will ever change given our society’s love for engaging, flashy material without appreciating it.



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