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Opinion: Do we put too much importance on trailers?

There's no such thing as a simple, spoiler-free trailer anymore - but is that a good thing? Film writer Daniel Bettridge weighs in with his thoughts…

Proving that the customer is always right (or perhaps that Ben Affleck in Mallrats hit the nail on the head when he said that they’re always an asshole), Paramount were forced to refund a punter in New Zealand last month after he complained that an explosion from a trailer for Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher failed to make it into the final cut of the film.

"The explosion where the whole cliff comes down was the defining part of the ad that made me really want to go see the movie…” the man wrote, claiming he was misled by the movie’s marketing.

Perhaps he’s mildly bonkers, or perhaps the man’s insistence that he’d formed an opinion of the 130-minute movie based on a split second scene from a TV promo is indicative of just how much stock we now put into trailers.

Of course trailers themselves are nothing new. But since the advent of the internet the movie marketing machine has gone into overdrive, cranking out a veritable conveyor belt of content in the months leading up to a major movie release. In fact you can’t swing a LOLCat online these days without hitting some sort of teaser, trailer, or a behind-the-scenes-featurette-about-the-making-of-a-GIF-of-the-sneak-peak-of-the-trailer.

The Wolverine alone has had a Vine trailer for the teaser trailer, a teaser trailer, and now numerous medium-to-long form versions of the trailer itself.

Like most film fans I’m guilty of gorging myself on the buzz surrounding tentpole releases, hoovering up every morsel of marketing from the all-you-can-eat blockbuster buffet. In fact I can’t remember the last time I went into a film without having already seen a large proportion of it, a personal choice that consistently strips the spectacle out of even the most exciting cinema experience.