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.


Why are we laughing?

The man who helped three women escape from their captor’s home in Cleveland Monday has already found Internet fame. In under 48 hours, Charles Ramsey has been gif’d, autotuned and made the subject of countless tweets, NPR’s Code Switch reported yesterday.

While many of the tweets and postings identify Ramsey as a hero, many more poke fun at his interview with WEWSTV. One of his final statements is the most common subject of the jokes. When describing the moment he freed Amanda Berry, he said, “Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway.”

I understand what the internet finds funny about Ramsey. He was quirky and candid, and at the time of the interview he looked like he might have just woken up from a nap. But that down-to-earth comment signals a deeper truth in the situation that the internet might be overlooking.

According to a report from the Business Insider and cited by NPR, Cleveland is one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. So Ramsey undoubtedly found it bizarre to have such an encounter with a young white woman, since he lives in an environment where the two races rarely mingle, let alone trust one another with their lives. And that fact isn’t so funny.

Similar internet “stars” that have come to light recently reveal similar social truths, NPR’s Code Switch reports today. We still snicker at Antoine Dodson, who advised the World Wide Web to hide its family members two years ago. His candid interview hints that he was not unused to or shocked about violent crime in his neighborhood in the projects.

Today’s Code Switch made spurred me to examine my own reactions to these internet fads. Where does their fame come from? Why do we laugh and “songify” these people’s stories? Is it because we’re uncomfortable? Because we’re glad we’re not in their shoes? Because we’re seeing new stereotypes constructed before our eyes? Because their stories are so unfamiliar to us?

I admit that I, too, am guilty of laughing in these situations, and I admit that I don’t know why. Ramsey, Dodson and others confront what could become life-changing events in the face of adversity, and responding with carelessness is far from appropriate.

When the next songified, meme-ified internet sensation turns up, I hope I (as well as the rest of the Web) take a step outside of myself to consider the humanity present in these stories. We all like to laugh, and there’s nothing wrong with laughing, but sometimes we need to see beyond the humor to discover the soul of the situation.

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