Tag Archives: Trailers

Theater Owners Want Shorter Trailers; More Time for Car Commercials?

The Hollywood Reporter has put up some interesting news about the trailer presentations before movies at the cinema. The National Association of Theater Owners are trying to get a time cut of 30 seconds, dropping most trailers down to roughly 2 minutes. This proposal is meant to give exhibitors more control over the marketing of movies in their cinemas and to cut down on complaints from patrons who may think trailers are too long. It is also hoped that this move to shorter trailers could make the cinema a more attractive place to visit. Other plans include limiting movie promotion to just four months before the film’s release and all films must include their release date on promotional materials.

To help to see why this would be an issue we need to look at how the system works. How Stuff Works has an excellent article on how movie distribution works but here is the abridged version. Theatres lease films in two ways bidding and percentage. Now bidding is not used much anymore but essentially the theater pays a set fee to get the rights to play the film. This obviously has its pros and cons because if a film makes more at the box office than the cinema bid on it they make a profit. However if it gets little foot fall and does not make the amount they paid to show it then they are out-of-pocket. The second way is percentage. This is slightly more complicated but what happens is the theater and the distributor figure out the house allowance which will cover basic weekly expenses and then the percentage for the net box office and the percentage split for the gross box office is set. The distributor gets most of the money because they get the agreed open net box office or gross box office, whichever is higher. Look at this example from How Stuff Works to see how this works.

Consider this example. Theater A is negotiating with Distributor B over a new movie. The theater has figured that expenses are about $4,500 per week. The net percentage to go to the distributor is set at 95 percent for the first two weeks, 90 percent for week three and 85 percent for the final week. The gross percentage to go to the distributor is set at 70 percent for the first two weeks, 60 percent for week three and 50 percent for the final week.

You can see that during weeks one, two and three, the gross percentage is higher. The net percentage is higher for week four. So the distributor would take gross percentage on one through three then net for week four. The theater breaks even the first week, loses money the second and makes a profit on weeks three and four.

Here is a helpfull diagram from the same website about how the money is distributed.

movie-distribution-flow

This scheme has been waiting for studio’s input before going further, and obviously they are none too happy about it. Aside from the fact that their films will not be promoted as well (meaning the net money coming in could be lower, cutting the amount they could make) and less can be put in the trailers, there is also the chance that a trailer over this size would not be allowed to be played at the cinema. Exhibitors could also just put more of the shorter trailers on, getting more money from the studios that pay for this privilege. This is all in the planning stage at the moment and will be voluntary, but it would still cause a major headache for big budget studios if it goes ahead because upcoming films like the Man of Steel (which had a trailer that lasted for 3 minutes) would need a serious restructure. It would give the exhibitors slightly more power however in what they choose to show and they could in theory handpick trailers they want or come to a financial agreement to show longer trailers.

shorter trailers

Ignoring the studios for a minute, we need to think about whether this is actually a good thing for the patrons of the cinemas. Well the cutting down of trailers will mean the film will come on quicker. It can be up to 20 minutes before a feature film comes on due to the amount of trailers on show. Movie trailers have had a tendency to be very spoiler like, giving away far too much of the plot. The studios would have to think outside the box a bit to make sure their films had an impact in the short time they have available which is obviously a good thing, people can work better when put in a corner.

Trailers before movies have been around forever and have become an integral part of the cinematic experience. When VHS became popular they even copied this style, having trailers in front of all of their features. Of course you could always fast forward past these trailers, an option not available at the present time to cinema patrons. Still cinema users know there is going to be 20 minutes of trailers and most utilize it to use the rest room if they need, or return to the concessions stand. Reducing cinema trailers is taking something special away from the cinema experience. But I am a guy who got annoyed because they removed the Pearl and Dean tune from the start of UK movies so who knows if I speak for the public as a whole.

What would help are some original trailers on each cinema release. If you go to the theater a lot you end up seeing the same trailers on each movie. Making sure each film had a different set of trailers would help prevent the boredom from setting in. I find it interesting that there is no mention of adverts here which are the most annoying thing about the cinema experience. The same old car, drink, and holiday adverts are paraded in front of us and we can do nothing to stop them. I do not mind paying for trailers as they are related to the film, but paying for adverts that appear on the TV and which I have no interest in whatsoever is more of an insult than anything. We all understand however that the climbing prices of popcorn and candy are there to offset fees paid back to the studios and are the main source of revenue for the theater. The sad fact is that with out this most theaters would struggle to stay in business.

This may just drift off if the studios cause too much of a fuss but it will be interesting to see what effect this has on cinemas in the future.

Man of Steel – We Have Two Teaser Trailers

Finally, we get the Man of Steel teaser trailer, and it’s surprisingly poetic for a big action film. The teaser trailers have been given with two versions – one with the narrator being Russell Crowe, who plays Superman’s Kryptonian father ‘Jor-El’. The other one featuring Kevin Costner, who plays ‘Jonathan Kent’. Both trailers will play at the The Dark Knight Rises showings at the cinema, not at the same time though. When I went to see The Dark Knight Rises it showed the Russell Crowe teaser, which I was happy about because its my favorite.

Russell Crowe Version

Kevin Costner Version

What did you think of the teaser? My thoughts are that it was very sweet and down to earth, it looked and felt like it was done similar to Gladiator in the style and realism to the scenes (might have just been Russell Crowe’s Voice over), but never the less very beautiful and touching for superman film trailer. Now they don’t really give you much to off in this trailer so you can’t really get much of a feel for what it’s going to be like. My view is that with Zack Snyder directing and Christopher Nolan producing, we will get a film that is going to be completely different in the way it feels and looks compared to any other ‘Superman’ film before it. Hopefully they can make a ‘Superman’ film that is more relatable to this era than the last.

New Trailer For “Starship Troopers: Invasion”

Starship Troopers has always been a polarizing franchise. The original Heinlein novel split readers down to whether or not it was pro or anti-fascism, or even a pro or anti-war novel. Even the titular 1997 adaptation saw its fair share of criticism for being mindless, overly gory and disrespectful of its source material, and alternatively being a cleverly made satire of fascism and militaristic jingoism disguised as a brainless action movie. (This years Battleship accomplishes the same feat, despite its source material being a damned board game.) Over the years however, Starship Troopers has developed into its own franchise, with it’s own set of sequels, albeit terrible ones. It was only a matter of time until someone decided to try to reclaim the franchise, and bring it back from straight to DVD hell in one way or another, and surprisingly, it has, this time in CGI form.

Wow. CGI Denise Richards looks different. Better? You decide.

That’s right, the film is being made entirely in CGI animation, by anime director Shinji Aramaki, who is known for his designs for mechs and powered exoskeletons for many anime series. This should ring a bell for fans of the novel, as the mechanized suits played a substantial role in the novel, and were unseen in the original film. However, the trailer indicates that it seems to directly pick it’s continuity from the first film, ignores it’s awful sequels, and furthers the direction of the original characters story, rather than reinterpreting and/or re-imagining a new adaptation of the book entirely.

It’s like a feature length videogame cutscene you can’t play!

The trailer shows Johnny Rico, who is now a battle hardened, eyepatch wearin’ , scarred roughneck, ready to rumble and barking out orders. We also see brief clips of soldiers attacking the bugs, ships flying, and a glimpse of the powered suits that the novel featured. The actual plot of the film takes place 10 years after the events of the Starship Troopers, and we see that Carl Jenkins, originally played by Neil Patrick Harris, has taken the Starship John A. Warden on a secret mission, and of course, ends up going missing. This leads to Rico sending off the Troopers on a rescue mission, where they’ll surely uncover new, horrifying and awesome bugs to kill. Also returning, is the character of Carmen, who was previously played by Denise Richards, and is now going to be joining Rico on the rescue mission, and possibly rekindling whatever broken romance she had with Rico from the first film.

How could you not love that face?

Some might think CGi is a strange direction to take for a sequel, but it’s not without precedent, as there was a mostly forgotten, and short lived CGI television series, called Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, that skewed much closer in tone to the novel, than the film itself. However, this film seems to preserve the satirical spirit of the original film, with Troopers spouting out famous one liners, “C’mon you apes! You wanna live forever!”,  and even keeping the famously propagandistic  line, “Would you like to know more?”.

Behold! Paranormally gifted Col. Carl Jenkins! Previously played by Neil Patrick Harris! HAIL!

WIll they survive? Will they stop the bug menace once and for all? Will they make an entertaining and watchable film? It remains to be seen, as no hard release date has yet been confirmed, just a “Summer 2012”.  We’ll inform you as soon as there is more info, because we’re all sure that you Would Like To Know More!

Gamers Gotta Get: Street Fighter X Tekken

Ever since Street Fighter X Tekken was announced last year, fans have been chomping at the bit for it. 2 out of 3 of the biggest fighting games out there, Mortal Kombat being the third, combining to bring us some seriously kick-ass action. I’m excited, Japan is excited, and you should be too. But as always, you don’t need to take my word for it. I bring evidence to the table.

First take a look at the cinematic trailer, which is pretty epic:

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