(Did you notice the MPAA recently changed their ratings font?)
Do you think trailers are too long and give away too much these days? You've got an unexpected ally on your side: the National Association of Theater Owners. It has apparently grown tired of hearing complaints from customers that nearly 20 minutes of spoiler-filled trailers before a movie starts is just unacceptable, so the organization is trying to lay down the law with studios by demanding that trailers be no more than two minutes in length.
As of right now the average is two-and-a-half minutes. That might not seem like a massive difference, but if you multiply it across the eight or so trailers that play in front of films these days, that's a time savings of four minutes (not to mention the killing of countless spoilers). Not too shabby for those who are impatient and just want to see the movie they bought a ticket for.
NATO is also proposing that movies can't be marketed in-theater (which would mean posters and trailers) until four months prior to their release, though NATA would be willing to make exceptions for big tentpole films trying to build long lead buzz. On top of that, it wants all promo materials to include the film's date. All of this seems somewhat reasonable to us, but studios are already balking at the prospect of having to conform to these standards. It would certainly require a retooling of the way they've been selling movies for years. Thankfully for them, NATO can't actually govern their marketing behavior. It has no legal power over distributors; all it can do is lay out guidelines and ask that they follow them.
Likewise, theaters have no legal obligation to play trailers, so they can always refuse a studio's reel that doesn't come in under two minutes. Considering all that, what's most likely to happen is that studios will slowly move toward this two-minute goal, but they'll be willing to abandon it for movies that they feel need that extra bit of selling power at a movie theater (which is still the most effective way of advertising new movies). It's an interesting proposition for sure, and we're curious to see how each major studio reacts to it. All we care about is that the end result cuts back on spoilers in trailers. What about you?