An essential part of film marketing is the trailer. If you do it right, it can be as much of a spectacle as the film itself, but if you do it wrong, then you could alienate the audience. 2019 has, to many, been a year of trailer decline. The trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film was greeted with much frustration, mainly directed at the design of the famous character. Elsewhere, the Cats trailer faced almost universal mockery. Have the trailers of this year really been so bad? Or, have these particular examples helped create a skewed sample of this year’s offerings?
The trailer is your first glimpse of a film. It might take you by surprise, you might already know that the film is happening, but until the trailer, you’re never really sure what it’ll look like. Either way, it helps you gauge your excitement. But for the films that you’re not already aware of, the trailer can be the thing that ultimately persuades you to go see it, or, stay well away.
Adding to the ever-expanding category of video-game inspired movies, 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog has already caused quite a stir. The initial trailer gave us our first look at this CGI Sonic, and many people didn’t like what they saw. From the eyes to the teeth, there were complaints, meaning that unfortunately, the trailer fell a little flat. A great deal of respect should, however, be given to the designers and artists on the film as they have come back with a complete redesign. Another trailer was released recently, in which they revealed the new-look Sonic, and thankfully it was well received. Unfortunately, that probably won’t stop the initial trailer and its rejected Sonic from being forever immortalised in the depths of the internet.
Elsewhere, the trailer for the film adaptation of the musical Cats hasn’t exactly had an easy ride. When initially released, the trailer gained a great deal of attention, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. The CGI humanoid cats with celebrity faces have been the subject of much amusement among cinema-goers. On the bright side, this has got the film a lot of publicity and interest, but it might be difficult to escape the legacy of the trailer’s ridicule.
While it might be easy to write off the trailers of 2019, there have been some diamonds in the rough. To name a few, the antics of the John Wick 3 trailer were enough to entice anyone, and there’s, of course, the trailers for two monumental films of 2019: Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. The marketing for Endgame was spot on, the trailers whipped people up into a frenzy, and the Rise of Skywalker trailers have done similar. They’ve both done incredibly well in terms of keeping the plots under wraps but also showing enough to stir excitement. These are what ultimately save 2019’s trailers. They market the films brilliantly while maintaining a sense of more to come.
For as long as I can remember, trailers have been part of the cinema experience. You cannot deny the curiosity whenever you go to the cinema as to which trailers you’ll be treated to before the film. Even now my mum and I go through all the possible factors such as certificate rating, distance to the release date and so on, as we attempt to predict which trailers might be shown before the main event. We even tut at those arriving during the trailers, armed with their popcorn and hot dogs. On the days that you just want to get through the trailers as you’re excited to see the film, you still get a bit of enjoyment from them. So, is the trailer still as important as it always has been?
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