People can’t see a movie in most theaters right now, but some may feel inclined to stay away anyway – not just because of COVID-19, but because they feel the trailer is giving away the whole show.
For one thing, not only do they often give the game away, but they also tell little white lies with footage not actually in the movies.
Trailers are made before the movie is done
Trailers have frequently not been truly reflective of the movie they’re selling for decades. This goes all the way back to the trailer for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It featured no footage from the movie itself, but showed the famed director giving a tour of the Bates Motel and the creepy old house.
At the end of the trailer, Hitchcock pulls back a shower curtain to reveal not Janet Leigh, but the actress who played her sister.
This was because Hitchcock was concealing the fact that Leigh, the biggest star in the movie, died before it was half over. However, the basic truth remains that trailers are usually cut before the movies are finished. That means the trailers will feature music from other movies, or that they will have scenes that ultimately get cut.
In more recent years, trailers have been including footage that isn’t in the movie at all, and is only made specifically for the trailer. An example of this is Twister, where its trailer had a shot of debris flying right into the camera.
That isn’t revealing of the plot, but four years later, director Robert Zemeckis had to answer criticisms that a trailer for his movie Cast Away revealed that Tom Hanks made it off the island. Now Marvel is taking trailer shenanigans to a whole other level.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ trailers gave away too much, fans say
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A Reddit thread asked fans what Marvel trailers should not have included. For example. Some people said that as popular as Hulk’s appearance in Thor Ragnarok was, they wished that could have been kept a surprise until audiences saw it in theaters.
It’s the age-old question: How much is too much to give away? A trailer should make people want to see the movie, not make people feel like they have seen the movie.
Some thought Homecoming went too far in that regard. One person said, “Just the entire plot of Homecoming.” Another said, “Ever since the Homecoming trailers, I only watch the first trailer of MCU movies now.” And a third person said, “Tony taking Peter’s suit back.”
One person even said Spider-Man’s appearance in Civil War should have been kept under wraps. One fan thought this was Sony’s doing, not Disney/Marvel’s, since Sony controls the Spider-Man marketing.
“Thing is that Sony is known to give as much as they can in their trailers, and since Sony is in charge of the marketing for the MCU Spider-Man films, you can expect they’ll give away a lot, with the non-Spidey MCU films you are safe as Marvel doesn’t try to give everything away.”
Marvel trailers don’t tell the whole truth
Whether the Spider-Man excess is Sony’s failure or Marvel’s, Marvel has been catching flak for not being truthful in their trailers. Homecoming was actually an example of this. That trailer showed an action shot of Iron Man and Spider-Man flying toward the camera. It wasn’t in the movie, but it was an example of the Twister effect – putting a button on the trailer to entice fans.
While that shot wasn’t in the movie, it was at least representative of the film. In the trailers for Avengers; Infinity War, the Hulk was seen charging into battle with the other heroes. Except in the actual movie, it wasn’t the Hulk. It was Banner using the Hulkbuster armor because Banner struggled to transform into the Hulk. After years of trying and failing to control the Hulk, Banner couldn’t get him to come out when he wanted him.
This misdirection certainly didn’t hurt Infinity’s War’s box office, but back then, Marvel could count on the cushion of familiarity. Now that the studio is making movies based on less well-known heroes like the Eternals and Shang-Chi, it may be wiser to truly tease rather than to misdirect.