If anyone were to ask me what the worst part of seeing a movie in theatres is, I wouldn’t have to think long to come up with an answer. It wouldn’t be the people around me, ‘cause they can be hit or miss. It wouldn’t be the ticket or food prices. It wouldn’t even be the screen being too dark, or the sound being out of sync. The worst part, without a doubt, is all of the stupid commercials that are forced on us. At home you can change the channel or mute them, but at the theatre you are a captive audience. You can’t go anywhere for fear of losing your seat, or turn off the sound without getting into big trouble. It’s even worse if you go to the theatre multiple times in a month. They don’t change the ads often, so you can get stuck seeing the same minute long buy holes over and over again.
To be clear though, I’m just talking about car commercials and soft drink commercials and anything else like that. Trailers are exempt from my wrath. They’re the only ads that I’ll go out of my way to see. If there’s one in particular that I want to see online, sometimes I’ll suffer through the indignity of watching an unwanted commercial before I see the one I’m after. I like trailers so much that I’ve actually gone to a movie just for the trailers.
One in particular stands out in my memory. I went to see I Am Legend on opening weekend in IMAX just to see the Dark Knight trailer. And, you know what? The movie was okay, but I would’ve paid that IMAX price for the trailer alone. (To be fair, that wasn’t a traditional trailer. It was actually the first 5 minutes of the movie. But those five minutes are sooooo good.)
In that case, we got a great trailer for a great movie. But, sometimes trailers can make good movies look bad, and bad movies look good. The best example I can think of for this is the X-Men: The Last Stand trailer.
Pretty cool, right? It’s got Juggernaut, Angel, Beast, Magneto, Phoenix, The Golden Gate Bridge flying around. It’s a bit of a geekgasm. At the time, I had been following the news about this movie pretty closely. Bryan Singer, the director of the first two movies, had dropped out of the production in order to make Superman Returns. (The jury is still out on whether that was a good decision or not.) For me, that was Red Flag 1. Then they continued their pre-production without a director. Red Flag 2. Then, they finally hired a director: Brett Ratner. Red Flag 3. But, the trailer made it looked like they had crammed in so much X-Men goodness that it couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, the crammed in way too much X-Men goodness. There were way too many plot threads, and no character got enough attention. I mean, how can you introduce Juggernaut, Phoenix, and a mutant cure in one movie and expect them to all be given enough screen time?
Anyway, I guess my point is that the people who make trailers should get more money, or something. They make the only commercials that are worth seeing, and they can make crappy movies look good. (That X-Men movie made almost half a billion dollars. At least half of that is due to the trailer alone.)
Graham Becksted is coming to a theatre near you. But, not like Paul Reubens. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 67th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.