Coming Soon: The Teaser for the Teaser Trailer of the Trailer
For a long time we’ve had teaser trailers, giving next to nothing away about the film being promoted and whetting our appetite for more. But recently teasers have undergone a mutation, becoming trailers for the trailers themselves.
Just like the recent Jurassic World teaser, we’re given a real tiny glimpse of something and then told when the trailer will be released.
The question really is, why? Why do we need a trailer of a trailer? And why do teasers even exist?
The origins of the teaser trailer can be traced back to the 70’s, the first notable teaser being for 1978’s Superman. The films release was over a year later than originally planned and the teaser was created in an attempt at reinvigorating peoples interest.
Since then we’ve seen teasers that were so popular people bought tickets to films they didn’t want to watch just so they could see them, as was the case with the Phantom Menace. The fools.
We’ve also seen teasers which are released more than a year before the films release, like Star Trek, or teasers that don’t even mention the films title, like Cloverfield. And you’ll notice those two films have one thing in common; it would appear that a certain Mr Abrams is a fan of the teaser.
Oh and let’s not forget The Da Vinci Code, which released a teaser before a single second of the film had even been shot; or Where The Wild Things Are, which was stuck so long in production that it came out 9 years after it was first teased.
The most recent change to the teaser trailer is that instead of hyping the film they hype the proper, theatrical, trailer. In this social media driven age where everyone is so impatient they want everything now it’s no surprise that film companies are giving in and releasing more and more teaser images or trailers.
Universal received 9.1 million YouTube views for the above Jurassic World teaser, to add to the 2.1 million on the separate UK channel. That’s over 11 million views for a 15 second long video that just tells you the date a trailer is being released. The buzz it caused must have worked because the full trailer currently stands at 39 million views itself.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was also hyped and had a set release date announced, although they went and released it early due to a leak. And JJ “I love teasers” Abrams teased the Star Wars trailer in a slightly different way, posting the following on Twitter:
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) November 24, 2014
There’s no doubt that the constant cinematic teases are down to the shift in the way we consume such material, as is the announcement of films so far ahead of release. Only in our current environment is it accepted that a studio will come out and go “hey, we’re making another Green Lantern movie… in six years.” Can you imagine Cubby Broccoli announcing the dates of the next five James Bond films back in the 60’s?
Trailers are no longer exclusively in cinemas; now they’re on TV and online. Whole websites are devoted to them and companies can potentially live or die from the buzz they create, although this is not exclusive to film. Grand Theft Auto V recouped its enormous £170 million production & marketing budget in pre-sales alone on the back of the trailer Rockstar put out. Contrast that with the poor numbers from the Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow, which is widely attributed to a poor marketing campaign and a trailer that doesn’t show the film off to it’s full potential. That even led to the film being re-marketed with the strapline “Live, Die, Repeat” as being more prominent than the title.
With trailers being so important it’s no surprise that production companies want to make them as exciting as possible, as well as making their release a social media event. But in trying to put out a trailer early they often end up containing clips from scenes that don’t actually make it into the final film or, as with our Jurassic World example, are created specifically for the trailer.
The opening of the Jurassic World gates is an iconic image, an homage to the original film that instantly evokes memories of how we felt the first time we experienced Isla Nublar. But director Colin Trevorrow has said on Twitter that “The gate will be practical. Real wood, concrete and steel. That shot was specifically made for the trailer. The film will be different”.
When you know that trailers are made in such a way you start to question, will that lightsaber look any less ridiculous when the film finally gets released? One can only hope.