How Movie Trailers Are Made

By Savannah Barrow | Contributor

Nothing gets fans excited for upcoming films quite like movie trailers do. Movie trailers are made to provide us with a small taste of what’s to come and help build anticipation, often times leaving us wanting more. However, in recent years, Hollywood has taken the term “trailer” to new heights by releasing multiple trailers per movie. 

When I first saw the trailer for Jurassic World, I liked it. Naturally, I was excited and curious to see it, given my love of the originals. Then the second trailer released, revealed more scenes and more dinosaurs. Following that trailer, there was a Super Bowl trailer released. Finally, a third trailer was released, ruining the anticipation for some and amplifying it for others. We see that most movies and even television shows are using this same tactic these days. 

I find that this method is most common with companies that are launching a reboot of an older show or movie, or when they are previewing a movie that is a continuation of a series.  Netflix released two teaser trailers for Fuller House before finally releasing the final trailer and just recently, Marvel dropped the second trailer for Captain America: Civil War after already having released one teaser trailer at the D23 Expo and the first official trailer on Jimmy Kimmel Live back in November. 

For some like myself, this has helped intensify our desire to see the movie. Suddenly, seeing this movie and watching the scenes that we read about in the comics unfold in front of us on the big screen has become and urgent craving and we can barely contain our excitement for May 6, while others may think differently. Perhaps the amount of trailers released has diminished their want to see it. Maybe it’s been spoiled or built up too much. Maybe one trailer is all we need.Junior Lauren Seymour thinks so. 

“I can honestly say that I would prefer movie companies only release a final preview with decent coverage of what’s going to happen,” Seymour said. “Obviously I don’t want any spoilers in there, just enough good scene compilations to make me excited about it. A couple months before the release with one bomb trailer would be great.”

So why does Hollywood release so many? To appeal to larger audiences. With the depth of media right now, you’re bound to come across the movie trailer quite a few times, and I personally would be annoyed if I saw the exact same preview over and over again. Providing audiences with multiple trailers offers us diversity and can also help us decide whether or not we want to see it. When asked about her opinion, Freshmen Rachel Thompson said, “I like having multiple trailers to see if it’s really something I want to watch. I don’t like when trailers show all the good parts to the movie, though. I like for there to be something to look forwards to.” Is revealing too much about the movie a possible side effect to releasing too many trailers? When is the line of too many trailers crossed?

 I think we can pardon the initial teaser trailers, for they’re designed specifically to give away as little as possible of the movie while also catching the interest of viewers. Teasers are usually just to announce that the film is coming, start creating excitement and let everyone know that there are more to come. The next trailer is used to reveal a bit more about the movie and is often unveiled at large events. Finally, about a month or two prior to the release of the movie, there’s a final theatrical trailer that’s used to give audiences a complete, concrete idea of what the film will be about in order to lure audiences to see it. It’s important to note that they make international versions as well that are tailored to suit the tastes of the specific audience. For example, the Japanese trailers for Godzilla and Inception featured more of Ken Watanabe because he is a huge star in Japan. So yes, with the amount of the trailers being released, it’s entirely possible that movie companies are releasing too much and consequently, belittling the power of one solid trailer and dissuading audiences from wanting to see the movie.

The purpose of trailers is to build interest and the marketing behind films now is larger than it’s ever been. Just a decade ago, there were only a few websites you could view movie trailers on. Before that, you could only see them on the television or by going to the movie theater. In the late 90’s, when the first teaser was released for the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, it was reported that viewers would pay full admissions to movies they didn’t want to see, just so they could see the trailer for that film and would leave as soon as it finished. Theaters were forced to inform patrons that they would not be reimbursed for the price of the movie if they paid for it just to see the Star Wars trailer. Now, this is no longer an issue. 

Trailers can be found online in an instant and are sometimes even leaked prior to their planned released dates. As long as there is a computer and an Internet connection, trailers can be watched at anytime, any place, and as many times as you want. Aside from the movie poster, trailers are perhaps the most important marketing tool available to a filmmaker, thus encouraging filmmakers to release multiple trailers in order to keep the interest of viewers. Personally, I like seeing multiple trailers. I like getting a hint of what I have to look forward to. Though thoughts and opinions on this topic can vary, I think it’s safe to say that movie companies will continue to release multiple trailers for the sake of media and variety.