By Open Book
There is so much riding on movie trailers these days. Last week it was reported Walt Disney studio chief Rich Ross was fired for the box-office failure of John Carter, which was released in March 2012. Many blame John Cater’s failure on bad advertising. In this article we will look into the world of movie trailers, the companies that make them. And what makes a good or bad movie trailer?
Although, some movie trailers are done in-house the majority are outsourced to award winning advertising firms like The Ant Farm in Los Angeles, who edit trailers for major movie studios. The Ant Farm was founded in 1968 and specializes in print advertising, music composition, motion graphics and video game trailers. Some of their most recent trailers include War Horse, Men in Black III, Hugo, The Dictator and more. 
The process for making movie trailers is pretty extensive. According to an article in the New York Times called The 150 Second Sell, Take 34 they interviewed Art Mondrala who edits trailers for The Ant Farm he states;
- ”I watch purely from the standpoint of single moments,” he says. ”Someone turning his head quickly, a fast camera sweep, lines with compressed emotion. In my work, I live in fractions of a second; one second is an eternity. It’s like being a hairdresser and cutting one hair at a time.”
Given this process of condensing a two-hour film into two and a half minutes, is the reason directors don’t cut their own trailers. He goes on to state.
- “This is why directors never cut their own trailers. To ask a filmmaker to hack away 98 percent of his movie is like asking an epic poet to create a haiku from his original work — one that will appeal to every kind of reader. And a director’s storytelling skills run against the grain of everything it takes to create a trailer, which must be clear without completely clarifying anything.”
Competition to make trailers for studios is intense. Most studios hire three to five companies to work simultaneously on one film then choose the one it like best.
It’s a well-known fact audiences love movie trailers. However, what makes a bad movie trailer? Here are a few reasons listed below.
- A Trailer is too loud
- A term called “showing too much leg” (gives away the plot)
- Comedy Trailers give away all the best jokes
- Suspense Trailers give away the surprise
So what’s the price tag for a good trailer? In 2002 its said studios alloted budget for advertising was 35 million and they spent 250,000.00 to 750,000.00 on trailers alone.  I’m sure that price tag is much higher today.
What makes a good and or bad movie trailer to you?
Please join us for a discussion Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 @7pmE/12UTC.