Do movie trailers really have an effect on whether or not we see a movie? I’m not talking about the trailers that confirm for us that an anticipated movie will be worth seeing. And I’m not talking about a trailer that simply alerts the mainstream, non-movie-site-following public to the existence of a movie they immediately deem worth seeing. I mean a trailer that can truly make or break a movie by changing minds for the better or worse on a particular title.
The answer is yes. We see it time and time again, and every positive is an exciting surprise. Recall last year when Fast & Furious 6 revealed its most insane action sequence during a Super Bowl spot. It not only changed many minds about that sequel but about the entire Fast and Furious franchise. Admittedly, it made me go back and watch the installments I’d skipped just so I’d be ready for this awesome-looking movie.
A game-changing trailer is often significant during the buzz bonanza that is Comic-Con, and they tend to help in deciding what movie “wins” the event. This year, for instance, a teaser for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was received so well that the goofy title is no longer a concern, and a trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road propelled that long-overdue sequel to the top of many must-see lists for next summer. Yet teaser trailers and footage for other Comic-Con titles of the past -- The Spirit comes to mind -- can go the other way, negatively changing our mind about a big movie.
The latest trailer for Interstellar, which arrived online today, is another case of an ad rocketing our expectations higher than they’d been previously. This isn’t that much of a surprise for a Christopher Nolan movie. Even though he has a certain cred with the geek crowd, he isn’t always widely trusted with non-Batman titles. Trailers for Inception were similarly effective in building intrigue and proving concept for the rest of the moviegoing population. This new Interstellar spot has the same power.
Other recent positives include the trailer for Lucy, a movie on few people’s radar that was benefited by a Matrix-like style that likely gave it the boost to win this past weekend’s box office. Also, this summer’s Godzilla won millions over with its first full trailer, especially given skepticism since the 1998 version. The funny thing is that it might have been seen as smartly minimal in what it showed; yet the movie itself was actually just as light on full-on monster footage.
As for the last trailer to turn me off from a movie I was looking forward to, and I’m guessing it was the same for many others: John Carter was initially sold as a Western with silly-looking CG aliens with only a single spaceship shot, and as a whole it didn’t seem like something that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
What’s the last trailer to change your mind on a movie?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
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