On Monday night, the trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII The Last Jedi was released during halftime of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast. Rarely in the past have TV channels and sporting events promoted moving and TV trailers as much as ESPN promoted The Last Jedi trailer.
But the thing is, all that promotional material was worth it. We saw a Stormtrooper in the booth with Sean McDonough…
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) October 10, 2017
Stormtroopers on the field…
Bold strategy to showcase the stormtrooper Color Rush uniforms on 'Monday Night Football' pic.twitter.com/bhUiWak2lb
— The Ringer (@ringer) October 10, 2017
And this all led up to the below brilliant trailer.
Immediately after the trailer debuted, articles sprouted up all over the internet praising Disney and the Star Wars production team for a solid trailer. Despite all the attention and praise, many Star Wars fans may have chosen to skip the trailer in favor of going into the movie “clean.” This is something the film’s director disagrees with.
FWIW: I love that there are folks who want to come into a movie clean, I think that’s awesome. Me, I’m a weak man. I watch ALL THE TRAILERS
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 9, 2017
I must say, I agree with Rian in certain situations.
Trailers at face value are just video versions of movie posters. When a new poster is released, people all over dissect them to try and see what the meaning of the poster is. When the poster for The Force Awakens was released, people were questioning why Rey was holding a lightsaber. The answer became clearer when trailers for the film were released. Now those same questions are being asked again.
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) October 10, 2017
And these questions are what makes trailers so great. Whether it’s for Star Wars or Game of Thrones or This is Us, when a TV network or movie production company releases a trailer, fans go wild and rightfully so, because trailers on their own are mini works of art.
In fact, they are enough of an art form that you can now win awards for trailers. Just this past year, Warner Brothers won a total of 26 Golden Trailer Awards for their marketing work on films such as Wonder Woman and The LEGO Batman Movie. Some of the awards focus on the trailers themselves, and in the case of The LEGO Batman Movie, it won five awards after some brilliant marketing work.
Trailers are important because their goal is to make you want to see a movie or TV show that you may know nothing about. In the case of Star Wars, it may not play a big role in getting people to go see the film because as a major movie franchise, people will see it regardless. However it is a factor in dominating the conversation constantly when competing films are fighting for the same ad space.
When it comes to smaller films such as the recent hit The Big Sick, they are extremely important for getting people to see the movie.
When The Big Sick was released back in June, I knew I wanted to see it because of Kumail Nanjiani. But I knew plenty of people that were skeptical. For one, there wasn’t a major actor or actress in the film who was attention grabbing at the time. No disrespect to Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, or Nanjiani, but none of them were as big in the news when the film came out compared to a Ben Affleck or Jennifer Lawrence.
Due to the film being a low budget project at $5 million and not having a headline star like a Lawrence or Affleck, the movie relied a lot on word of mouth and marketing. With the help of the film’s great trailers, people I knew were excited to see the film. All I had to do was make them watch this:
It’s a catchy and fun trailer that makes you want to see The Big Sick, which by the way, is an A+ movie. The end result of the great marketing campaign was the film bringing in $52.3 million at the box office, $47.3 million more than it cost to make it.
The Big Sick is a recent small budget movie example of how important movie trailers are and the same can be applied to television. Westworld was dealing with multiple production problems that caused some people to question whether the show would come out or be good in general if it was released.
A lot of those questions went away when HBO used it’s platform and the minutes before Game of Thrones aired to release beautiful trailers for the now smash hit.
The trailer was attention grabbing, action packed, full of gorgeous shots, and of course showcased the solid cast in the show. The end result was praise for the show’s marketing and millions of viewers for each episode.
HBO is the best when it comes to TV trailers. Part of that could be because of each show’s budget and the other side of it simply could be because of how successful its shows are.
When a new Game of Thrones trailer is released, not only does said trailer amass millions of views online, but it is also the talk of the internet. The same can be said about a great movie trailer like last night with Star Wars. The movie and its trailer were immediately trending on Twitter and the film still doesn’t come out for 2 more months.
But that doesn’t matter because the trailer was a thrill to watch and featured memorable moments. After all, if you haven’t seen a Porg on Twitter, you have a rare Twitter feed.
I have watched this little Porg squawk about 70 times now. IT IS HEALING ME. pic.twitter.com/Kl1HF5ykr6
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) October 10, 2017
That is what makes trailers great as well – little moments that people latch on to and don’t let go of for days. Trailers are at the point where people talk about them for nearly as long and nearly as much as the movies and shows themselves.
There’s one more thing I want to touch on before I wrap up and that’s the people who choose not to watch trailers. I love trailers, but I do understand where people who want to be “clean” as Rian Johnson referred to earlier are coming from.
For Dunkirk, I refused to watch a single trailer except for the first 30 second teaser that was released. The reason why was because of Christopher Nolan. The director is known for well done mind blowing movies such as Inception and Interstellar, both of which I didn’t see until I analyzed each trailer.
The end result was I was a little spoiled. I knew a little bit of what was coming by processing and reading about the trailers and what they mean before seeing the film. That’s why I refuse to watch Nolan trailers before seeing his movies now because I want to go in clean simply due to his mind blowing storytelling.
That’s where I think it’s okay to skip trailers, but only in those situations where you don’t necessarily want to be spoiled.
But if you just want to enjoy a movie and be happy, watch every trailer you can because each one is like a little movie or TV show and the best part is they are free! Oh and you can watch them as much as you want.
For fun now, this is my favorite trailer of all time. It tells the story of The Social Network and every time I see it, I feel the need to watch the movie. Brilliant storytelling all in the span of a couple minutes. It perfectly encapsulates what makes trailers great.