US cinema owners call for shorter trailers

News Simon Brew 27 Jan 2014 - 15:09

Guidelines being recommended in the US could see a two minute limit being put on most movie trailers...

For a time in the UK last summer, you couldn't go and see a movie at a multiplex without seeing an extended preview for Fast & Furious 6. Running to over five minutes, you can't say it didn't do its job - the film went on to made sizeable piles of money - but it also managed to be a source of some irritation to those of us who venture to the movies on a regular basis.

That was an extended preview of sorts, but even the trailers themselves have been getting longer and longer. Some are encroaching three minutes apiece, and when you're sat in front of three or four prior to a movie, you really start to feel it.

In America, however, moves are afoot to restrict the length of the modern movie trailer. It comes as part of a series of recommendations from the National Association Of Theatre Owners (er, NATO), with a set of voluntary guidelines it's looking to introduce.

On trailers, it has some interesting guidance in particular. Firstly, it wants trailers to run no more than 150 days before the release of a film, with the caveat that each distributor can pick two of its annual releases to be exempt from that. So, for instance, Warner Bros wouldn't be able to release four trailers for its blockbusters up to 11 months out - as it did before Christmas. Instead, it could pick just a pair of them to promote in this way so far ahead (in cinemas anyway - there'd be nothing to stop it publishing them straight to the internet). That'd help pull back on the swathe of promos landing a year ahead.

Furthermore, NATO (not that one) wants to impose a two minute maximum runtime on individual trailers (again, with two exceptions). And it's looking to bring in these new standards from October 1st.

Whether it manages to do so or not remains to be seen. We suspect that other countries will be watching with interest, although don't expect a rush to follow suit.

While we're here, if NATO - we don't care which one - can also introduce guidelines to cut the spoilers out of trailers (such as with the recent promo for How To Train Your Dragon 2), we'd be very much obliged.

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Those NATO jokes are priceless :)

Personally I think NATO (either option) should be encouraging anyone whatsoever to head to the cinema instead of restricting what they can see.

I know people that will go see a movie because a certain trailer is showing beforehand, they probably wouldn't have gone to see the film otherwise.

the amount of trailers before a film starts is the real problem, no one should have to pay a tenner to watch a film and sit through 15 mins of trailers and adverts

It's getting to the point where I as a cinecard holder will gladly pay for a Kevin Bacon free screening but even my local independent cinema has him. Also the extended preview for Walter Mitty was so annoying. I fully endorse 2 minute trailers with no spoilers.

I think the worst example in recent years was Skyfall. Alongside the "normal" trailers for films there were somewhere around 8-10 adverts for products tying into the film. This meant that we repeatedly got clips of the film we were JUST ABOUT TO WATCH. Very annoying.

The Godzilla trailer was a little over 2 minutes long and was everything a trailer should be.

Personally I blame the exhibitors, I love watching the trailer reel but after 20min of ads it does really add to the running time. If the exhibitors weren't so greedy they could cut the ads to 10min or less; but of course that won't happen, as money is more important than the customers!

Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. If you look into the pricing structure the cinemas get a minor cut of the ticket price the first week a movie opens. Their percentage goes up the longer the film runs at the cinemas, but with many titles not lasting more than a couple of weeks they have to make their money elsewhere.
That's why we have to put up with adverts, along with their not exactly bargain-priced refreshments.

It wasn't too many years ago that some trailers attracted people to seeing a movie, just because of the trailer that played in front of it. (Phantom Menace trailer on Wing Commander for example).

But nowadays, every trailer is available online early on, so there doesn't seem to be much utility to attaching a particular trailer to a particular movie. Especially with the Internet being a much different beast than it was in the late 1990's-early 2000's.

All the trailers and ads certainly add more time on to a flick, to a ridiculous level.

A time limit on trailers would be about time! For some movies it's a front to end summary of the movie. I often find myself thinking "that movie I don't need to see anymore, everything was in the trailer!"

I frequently go about ten minutes late just to avoid this issue.

I felt like the Walter Mitty special-extended-preview-first-look at cineworld was a little excessive.. ok as a publicity thing once, but I went and saw a few films during the time it was being shown and the dawning apprehension that you're going to basically see a condensed version of the film for what feels like the 364th time is not a pleasant one!

This won't help at all. Instead of showing (7) 2.5 minute trailers in front of a movie, we'll get (8 or 9) 2 minute trailers. So many damn trailers in front of movies I often forget what movie I've come to see by time it starts.

One might say "in the age of the internet, who needs trailers?" Most people don't troll movie sites to pounce on an Avengers trailers as soon as it hits. They don't know of the existence of movies until they see trailers or TV ads. What's redundant to us, is new to them. Sigh.

It's doesn't matter how many trailers there are before a film or how long they are because IGNORANT SHITS WILL ALWAYS TALK OVER THEM ANYWAY

The Cuban Fury trailer that ran before Wolf Of Wall Street basically shows you the whole movie, and to be honest 2 mins of it felt like too long.

Cineworld last week - "Hey guys, here's an exclusive look at Captain America". Followed by an entire scene and a long, tedious trailer that included scenes that are obviously at the climax of the film. Bang bang! Pew, Pew! Zzzzzzzzz.......

I fear this is purely so they can cram more adverts in before the feature

Honestly I can deal with extended trailers; I can't deal with commercials. I don't pay $50.00 dollars to look at commercials but that's what I get.

God yes. I used to like Kevin Bacon, but he seems to want to be the most unpopular star in Hollywood. How's that for a no-brainer?

The worst ad of the lot is the "If you don't watch films at the cinema, the cinema will close down" one. Well, maybe if you didn't charge £15 per ticket and make people sit through 30 mins of adverts, the cinema would be more popular

There was an ad (not a trailer) for something tying into Achorman prior to Anchorman 2 recently. I liked the film, thankfully, but the ad was so unfunny I was starting to regret my movie decision. So the issue you're talking about is a sticking point for me currently...

This might simply be me refusing to hate on Kevin Bacon even if it really is his fault, but I blame the writers of those ads more than Mr Bacon himself. The makers of those ads (what are they even for again?) have done a very good job of turning cinemagoers against a cult figure of cinema (is he cult? I was going to say iconic, but that felt over the top...)

No trailer should be more than 60 seconds at most, period!

That being said, the five-and-a-half minute trailer for 'Cloud Atlas' was a masterpiece in itself!

His "no brainer" advert has no punchline! It seems to be building up to a joke then ends. I makes me cringe. The first lot with the Bacons made me laugh ("I just wanna dance!") but now every time I see him my eyes pop out of my head like the guy behind him in the conga line!

I can live with more short trailers. Means I can see more of what's coming out. It may give the smaller companies a slot in bigger movie screenings.

I guess they could limit the trailers online to 1 minute. Make the trailers in the cinema between 2 and 3 minutes then they'd be worth watching. I have stopped watching trailers online as they reveal too much. Trailers in the cinema are amazing when you see them for the first time!

I basically avoid trailers nowadays

I recently watched Lethal Weapon 2 again, and afterwards watched the trailer for it. It was pretty short and hardly showed any of the plot, just a few clips of action and some of the banter between the leads. Joss Ackland isn't even mentioned, and most of the action clips seem from early on in the film. The film still looked great, it still sold the film well but gave hardly anything away. Shame we can't have this attitude return.
I remember when a "teaser" trailer literally did just that, didn't show any footage from the actual film. Nowadays I don't really see much difference between a teaser and the full trailer.

I agree on that advert. That's kind of my point though...it annoys me that a company has made a whole generation of cinemagoers sick of the sight of Kevin Bacon. He's been in some great films over the years (Tremors, anyone?) and I do find it sad that you can't mention him anymore without audiences cringing.... Tis a shame.

If anything he will encourage a whole new genre to actually check out who he is and look back at some of his movies. It's not a bad thing and i'm sure "Kev" doesn't mind when he collects his pay from EE.

Hey, I never said my sadness was rational. You're right, of course.

I know the solution to the problem of adverts before a film. Bring back the Intermission!

That way, they can show 10 minutes of adverts in the middle of the film and sell a crap load of Cornetto's to Joe Public. The audience can nip to the loo or outside for some "fresh air". Win win! I went to see Return of the King at a smaller cinema when that first came out and they had an intermission half way through. It brought back memories of going to my local Cannon cinema when I was a kid.

I don't really venture that often to the movies - unless, it's something which really catches my eye. But, I don't mind long trailers - I like being immersed in the tease, personally and seeing a couple before the movie starts just adds to the movie experience! (And if it's a bad trailer, well, there's all the fun of whispering snarky comments about it to my friends)

That's fine apart from the rare occasion when a film begins at the scheduled time. When I saw The Avengers, it had nothing on before it whatsoever. I have no idea why, but I would have been unhappy had I missed it, thinking I was skipping the ads...

So NATO issues a two minute warning? Err, O.K.

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