Movie marketing is so pervasive through social media, yet the movie trailer endures, continuing to be a key piece of marketing for a movie’s success. So, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) wants to reduce all of that; not by showing fewer trailers, but by cutting the length of them. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NATO wants to require all film trailers to be two minutes in length; a thirty second cut from average runtime of trailers today.
According to NATO, this will reduce customer complaints about spoilerific trailers or the sheer amount of them that can leave few surprises when the finished product is released (All the trailers used to promote “The Amazing Spiderman” last year amounted to showing 18% of the movie to audiences before it was released.)
NATO also wants to prevent trailers from being released any longer than four months before the release date, and that all trailers must have a release date attached to them. This seems to be questionable, mostly because trailers that come out over a year before the feature generally bear zero footage. The studios, of course, are not happy about this turn of events. While the move would be voluntary, studio heads fear theaters would have the power to utilize the guidelines to not show their product. In addition, the studios believe this will allow NATO to use that extra space to insert more trailers.
While I agree, I also think it could lead to another problem: more advertising for the theaters themselves. Depending on which theater chain is in your area, theaters like Cinemark promote their own events on top of the trailers and the “pre-show” entertainment, which generally consists of ads from local businesses. By cutting trailer length, would this allow theaters to place more of their own personal advertising ahead of the movies? Their belief that trailers provide too many spoilers can be argued as true, but there’s no way to determine that until the film has been released, and is shaving thirty seconds off a trailer really going to change that? If anything, theaters/studios should take a cue from France, who refuses to show trailers that contain any sequences from the end. This seems to be a quick fix for trailer editors, and not something that affects the theaters. There’s no date for an implementation of this rule, or if it will even be enforced; so keep an eye on that trailer runtime!