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Movie trailers should be teasers, not plot-revealing summaries

  • By Rod Pocowatchit
  • Published Sunday, June 2, 2013, at 8:55 a.m.

I love movie trailers, so much so that if I’m running late to a movie and it looks like I will miss them, I’ll skip seeing the movie altogether.

But, like anything else, trailers have evolved. And sometimes, I think, not for the better.

For example, studios think they have to reveal a film’s whole story in them. I find this maddening. If you’ve just told me the whole plot, why do I need to go see the movie? Trailers should be teasers, not summaries.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way, and it’s surprising to find out who does: theater owners.

The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week announced that the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO for short, which is kind of funny) is pushing for new rules that would determine how a film is marketed in theaters. The Reporter said theater owners “believe trailers are often too long and can give away too much of the plot,” citing that they often field complaints from theatergoers.

Another proposal from theater owners — and it’s a controversial one — is limiting a trailer’s duration to two minutes (21/2 minutes is now the norm, although there are exceptions — a recent trailer for “Man of Steel” was a whopping three minutes).

Apparently the studios are not happy about this. Of course, they use trailers as a primary outlet to raise awareness for their movies. And they say it just can’t be done in anything less than 21/2 minutes (30 seconds may not seem like a big deal, but it’s eternity in screen time).

The theater owners’ proposals don’t stop there. They also don’t want films to be marketed until four months before their release date. Now that will drastically change how movies are marketed.

Some could argue that showing trailers before films is out of date, since we can see a trailer at any time on the Internet. But that’s not the point. It’s all about the movie-going experience.

Maybe if they did shave 30 seconds off current trailers, it would keep them from giving away the movies’ endings.

Heroes’ deeds — OK, I am loosening my reins on the upcoming “The Lone Ranger” remake with Armie Hammer as the titular masked hero and Johnny Depp as his sidekick, the Comanche warrior Tonto.

Upon originally hearing of the casting I was very vocal about not liking it. I was disappointed that Depp would take the role, which seemed like ultimate “black face” casting to me, because I’ve always been a huge fan of Depp’s.

Then I saw the early publicity photos that were all over the Internet showing Depp in an utterly ridiculous feather hat costume that looked like he was wearing a dead crow on his head. I was outraged.

But then, my tribal leaders (I am Comanche) adopted Depp into our nation, and he showed up for an adoption ceremony. Much later, it was reported that he even attended our Comanche Holiday celebration in Lawton, Okla., cheerfully took pictures with attendees and jovially mingled with crowds. If he’s this interested in saturating himself in Comanche culture, then surely the movie will come out all right.

The film also gave many Native actors prominent roles, and that was another bonus for me.

Now, Depp, the film’s producers and backing studio Disney have organized a gala event for the film’s premiere on June 22 at Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif. It will be a splashy gala with the film’s stars in attendance (even the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver) — and anyone can attend, hoping to rub elbows with the stars. It won’t be cheap; tickets are $1,000 each. But — and this is phenomenal — proceeds benefit the American Indian College Fund.

Yes, it’s time for me to embrace “The Lone Ranger.” I may not like the movie (which I haven’t seen yet), but this all makes me greatly look forward to seeing it. If nothing else, I already greatly appreciate it.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to community.collegefund.org/theloneranger.

The film is set to open in theaters July 3.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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