How do you sell a movie in two or three minutes? Like any commercial, trailers are using all possible tips & tricks to seduce the viewer. And as the rules by which a trailer is made are subject to commercial factors and the desire to attract a specific audience, we often discover how a movie which seemed to be a comedy is actually a drama, a famous actor in the trailer has an insignificant role or action scenes shown in the trailer are not that exciting in the actual film. Here are ten tricks that filmmakers use to mislead the audience and maximize profits.
1. Presents a different tone of the film
The tone of the trailer is given by two things: music and the way the montage falls. Certain scenes then directs towards the genre, an important factor for many of us. Since too much drama or horror sequences could discourage some categories of public, filmmakers are moving towards those parts of the film that might be more appealing. Young Adult, Charlize Theron’s latest movie has a trailer where we see Theron as a great girl without inhibitions and imagine that we’ll follow a lively comedy about a bad girl. Far from it.
2. Shows promising scenes that are not in the actual movie
Even though they know it will not appear in the film, production houses include some scenes in the trailer, which are specially filmed or removed from the final version of the film some scenes that appeared in the trailer. Thousands of people went to the cinema in 1988 to see a hilarious scene in the trailer, whose protagonists are Michael Cane and Steve Martin, but were very disappointed they didn’t found it in the film.
3. Promising exciting scenes
Sometimes trailers show us how the clothes disappear from the protagonists and we want to see more. After watching the trailer from Horrible Bosses, you are left with the impression that Jennifer Aniston’s character is a sexual predator that will surely provide some exciting scenes. And that doesn’t happen.
4. Promotes stars who don’t have a prominent role in the film
A popular actor is a gold mine in the distribution of a film, and even if he does not have a central role, in the trailer he will be used to attract the audience. It’s the case with Burn After Reading, from the Cohen brothers, in which Brad Pitt in a secondary role doesn’t appear in second part of the film.
5. Using less perfect visual effects
In the desire not to fail at the box office, some studios choose to present trailers several months before, even if the visuals are not finalized. Does not seem too smart a move, but there may be logic in it: they are trying to arouse interest and create false expectations so that the film can capture quality visual effects.
6. Filmmakers use the famous Oscar for greater credibility
When the credits of the trailer begin with “the producer of …” or “the Oscar-winning director …”, it is quite clear how big studios are desperate to make you buy a ticket to the cinema.
7. Hide the language in which the film was made, if it is not English
Foreign productions are not what big studios are counting on in terms of box office, since the American audience has not shown too much interest in “reading” on the screen what happens in the movie. That’s why in the trailer of these productions, the dialogue is almost nonexistent. The best example is the trailer to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a movie trailer sold very well, without giving any indication regarding the country of origin, Sweden.
8. Handling the story in order to ensure a “surprise element’’
Putting together two intense scenes in the trailer to give, for example, the feel that the two protagonists are in conflict, placing a sequence of dialog in a certain part of the trailer, to give the impression that this is a comment to the scene in question or providing a key figure with a different role that in the movie can have unpleasant consequences when the viewer realizes that he has been tricked.
9. Suggests that the film will provide more action than the trailer can show
For an action movie, it is natural that the audience is able to enjoy adrenaline, tension. But when two to three minutes are crammed with explosions, fights, shootings and chases, we start to wonder if this abundance does not hide something that the movie is actually missing. Examples of this are many, but one recent trailer is provided by The Expendables 2, whose “action” was concentrated largely in the trailer.
10. Include out of context scenes
If you do not know why River his brother at the end of the trailer Serenity, a lot of possibilities appear in your mind and can only be validated after seeing the movie.