Thursday, September 4, 2008

The best part of the show

Watching the coming attractions is an integral part of going to the movies; sometimes -- unfortunately -- it's the best part. I love the trailers. I like lots of trailers; the more the better. My friends and I went to see Hellboy II last weekend, and I felt ripped off because there was only one trailer.

All trailers are an advertisement, created not by the artists who made the movie, but by a firm hired by the studio to promote it. They're put together, as often as not, before the movie has finished shooting; which is why you often see scenes in the trailer that never end up in the film. Most of them are as generic and forgettable as the day is long, but some of them rise above that and become brilliant works of art all by themselves. I'll try to mention the good ones, and the awful ones as well. I suspect the bad ones may be more fun to talk about.

First some terms: teaser and trailer. The teaser is released to the theaters first, usually 6 months, but often as long as a year before the film is released. It's usually about 30-60 seconds long, and often doesn't contain any scenes from the film. This teaser from the movie Twister is a good example. It's actually a pretty good teaser: tense, exciting, dramatic narration. Too bad the movie sucked so badly.

The trailer usually shows up between 3-6 months before the movie opens, and can be as long as 2:30 in length, though studios can get a small number of exceptions each year for longer trailers.

Green Band trailers are the ones we typically see at the movies. They have a green background and can be shown before any movie.

Red Band trailers have a red background, contain more possibly objectionably scenes from the movie, and may only be shows before films rated R or NC-17.

There's also a Yellow Band trailer, seen only on line, with text that reads "The following PREVIEW has been approved for RESTRICTED AUDIENCES ONLY by the Motion Picture Association of America." I have never seen a yellow band trailer.

And that's that. Let's get the show on the road.

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