Movie trailers: too much of a good thing?

When you go see a movie, sitting through about 20 minutes of trailers before the movie is the norm, according to a May 30 article from NPR.

But in response to many moviegoers’ complaints about trailer lengths, the National Association of Theater Owners is calling for change, according to a May 28 article from The Hollywood Reporter.

Under the proposed restrictions, movie studios would have to limit their trailers to two minutes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Theater owners are unhappy with the delays from trailers and subsequent complaints from patrons, according to NPR.

Movie Theater

Movie Theater (Photo credit: roeyahram)

Movie studios currently follow voluntary MPAA guidelines which limit trailers to 2.5 minutes and allow one exception per year. (This year, Warner Bros.’ trailer for “Man of Steel” is three minutes long.)

Like the current regulations, the new guidelines would be voluntary. Individual theaters could choose whether to uphold the restrictions, and individual studios could choose whether to abide by them.

Some Hollywood studios argue against the guidelines, citing that they need 2.5 minutes to convey the movie’s story and intrigue, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

If NATO decides to endorse the restrictions, moviegoers may notice changes at theaters. Some theaters could potentially choose to show only shorter trailers, while others would continue to show longer ones. The ones with shorter trailers may choose to simply show more trailers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This could create a new form of competition for theaters. Some patrons may choose to go to theaters which show fewer trailers; others may choose the ones that show shorter trailers.

In general, trailers and movie theaters frustrate me. I cringe every time I play $7.50 to go to a night show, and then I feel cheated into watching so many long trailers, many of which don’t even show the film’s release date. And more often then not in the case of comedies and chick flicks, the trailers reveal the all the movie’s funniest jokes, and if I ever go to see that movie (which I rarely do), the element of surprise is gone.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to all movie trailers. They’ve become a quintessential part of the moviegoing experience as well as a very effective marketing tool. However, there can be too much of a good thing, and my primary reason for going to a theater is to watch a movie, not a bunch of drawn-out, melodramatic commercials.

In our capitalistic society, businesses should be able to compete. If a theater receives complaints about the wait before a movie, they should be allowed to take steps to take control what they show to deal with those complaints. If they make more money than other theaters for pleasing their customers, they deserve it.


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