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Where are the trailers?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Sam Favate, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Blu-rays and DVDs seem to rarely, if ever, have trailers included on them anymore, and that's a damn shame. And why is that? Is it because the studios seem to be transitioning to the streaming model, where you wouldn't get the trailer anyway? Are they just lazy?

    I recently watched The Wolf of Wall Street on BD - one of last year's best and most critically acclaimed films, so you'd think the studio would want to at least include a trailer, but there was only a 17-minute puff piece on the film.

    I'm sure we all have a long list of titles from the past several years that don't include the trailer (and to be clear, I'm talking about the trailer to the film that's on the disc -- many have trailers for other, unrelated films), and I could cite many more examples. Lately, it seems only the major historical BDs and DVDs have trailers - box sets, or multi-disc sets of classic films.

    When the DVD format started, one of the greatest things about it was its archival nature. Trailers are a lot of fun for many reasons, not least of which is to see how the film was presented to audiences. In many cases, the trailer is the first communication that a movie has with its audience. Blu-rays, with their excess capacity, should easily have room for trailers of the film. I know in my house, we watch the trailer just before we watch the movie.

    I want the trailers back on the discs of the movies to which they belong! Bring 'em back!
     
  2. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    I love trailers as well and download them in HD if they're not archived on the Blu-ray. I think most studios have stopped including trailers on their new release BDs. Fox/MGM and the Sony Pictures Classics division of Sony may be the only studios that include trailers on their new releases with some regularity. I think the other studios will only include them if the filmmaker insists they're on there.
     
  3. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I'd bet that the song (I believe it's Kanye West) in that trailer would have cost them more money to license for video so that's probably why that one is MIA. The same for a Led Zeppelin song in the American Hustle trailer.

    That being said, what about all the other trailers that don't use music?
     
  4. Vic Pardo

    Vic Pardo Screenwriter

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    I'm less concerned about the trailers of more recent films, since they rarely offer much info anyway. Most current trailers don't even list the cast members. Next time you're in a theater take notes on how many of the trailers list even a single cast member. If it's a big star like Pitt or Depp, yes, that star will get listed, but rarely do you get a rundown of an ensemble cast. The one trailer I've seen all summer that actually lists several cast members prominently in the body of the trailer is for THE JUDGE, with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall.

    I love old Hollywood trailers because you get all kinds of information snippets that were deemed important back then, e.g., the literary source the film was based on ("From the Saturday Evening Post story by Borden Chase!"). As a child, I found trailers to be excellent instruments for learning about who was famous in Hollywood and why they were famous.

    One thing to be careful of, though, is your sensitivity to spoilers. Old trailers often gave away important pieces of action so that you'd learn ahead of time who, for instance, would get killed. I've learned not to watch the trailer until AFTER I see the film.
     
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  5. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    I've heard all sorts of rationalizations for why trailers have gone m.i.a.: no one cares about them; the music copyright issues prevent them from being used beyond DVD release; studios don't have them anymore, etc.

    Well, most of this (with very few exceptions) is probably bullshit.

    The studios now include trailers for other releases to promote them, but are largely ignoring them for use as archival supplements on their own video releases. This really is a shame. What these studios fail to get here is that the people purchasing catalog titles frequently have home theaters, and have showings in their venues for friends, and would love to be able to attach a "preview of the next attraction " trailer to their programs, which is simply fun as hell and makes for a much more theatrical experience. Even if you take that factor out of the equation, trailers are of historic importance. In and of themselves they are a singular art form branched off from feature film production, and have been produced by a completely different "director" and crew who must essentially re-edit an entire feature film down to 150 seconds or so, adding voice-over and/or graphics intended to promote something the audience has heretofore known little or nothing about. How do you use that short length of celluloid to lure millions of people into theaters? I mean, c'mon, that's the result of remarkable talent!

    Trailers have certainly evolved over the years, and have a history of their own. I consider the 30's-70's trailers as fun, instructive (they reflect their times) and collectable. The great text graphics that used to cross the screen with no need for a narrator are my favorites. These are small movies in and of themselves. For studios to drop these as supplemental features on the DVD and Blu-ray catalog titles seems negligent to me.

    I despise the trends that trailers took beginning 10-20 years ago: the deep, ominous, ridiculously melodramatic intonations of Don LaFontaine and his ilk that had me trying to plug my ears, then the (still current) editing technique of dozens of fade-outs, fade-ins within two and a half minutes. These newer trailers lack character and and all look (and sound) alike and bore me to tears, yet someday they will also be an important part of movie promotional history.

    The point is, trailers are a significant part of the total film experience. Studios have lost track of that. Niche companies like Twilight Time and Criterion and Shout!, even Kino, have made every effort to add these sublime slices of movie history to their releases, and I applaud them. The majors have pretty much decided that there's no point to including them. I think: as trailers were generally included with DVD's as a matter of course, their omission on the more recent Blu-rays is an act of laziness and ignorance, pure and simple.
     
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  6. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    I'm disappointed by the lack of trailers as well. It's especially disappointing as companies like Mill Creek, Echo Bridge and TGG rerelease these titles in either single or multi-film packs and strip them of the trailers they had. I like looking at movie marketing, and it's a shame that the trailers are almost always excluded nowadays, with the exceptions of Fox, Sony Pictures Classics, Lions Gate and the independent companies (Phase 4, IFC and Kino Lorber, for example).

    Of course, Disney was famous for not including trailers on most of their DVDs from 2002 onwards. Whether it was Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, or their ownership at the time of Miramax and Dimension, the chances of seeing the trailer on the DVD were very, very slim. The classic Disney animated movie DVDs had the trailers (with the exception of "The Lion King"), but it was more than a decade between "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" and "Frozen", both of which had the trailers on the DVDs. All the Disney titles in-between didn't...Even on the Blu-Rays, they're rare, unless we're talking Pixar.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    Thank goodness for the boutique labels. Hopefully, companies like Disney and Universal will one day be more lenient with licensing to boutique labels, instead of pawning their titles off on discount bundling labels.
     
  7. Cine_Capsulas

    Cine_Capsulas Second Unit

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    Not only trailers for theatrical releases/other BD releases, but especially trailers for the film in question itself. It used to be so common back when I began collecting DVDs... :(
     
  8. ROclockCK

    ROclockCK Screenwriter

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    For golden and silver era movies, with spotty behind-the-scenes material to begin with, and too little of that surviving, sometimes the trailers, which had a long lead time before release, included snippets of scenes that were eventually excised from the final cut and discarded. So there's also an historical value to preserving and presenting that material, whenever possible.

    Not to forget alternate language versions, like this trailer for La Mousson:



    Equally interesting from an historical perspective was how often the studios promoted new releases with excerpts from the scores of previous hits*.

    * Like the example above, even the North American trailers for The Rains of Ranchipur (scored by Hugo Friedhofer) used the main theme from Garden of Evil (scored by Bernard Herrmann). And that practice persists...during the early years of the 21st century I eventually lost count how many trailers were underscored by Clint Mansell's 'Summer' theme from Requiem for a Dream...even showing up during the climax of One Hour Photo, which was otherwise scored by different composers.
     
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I even heard that in a commercial for an episode of the TV show Lost. The best part was reading someone complain that they were using the music from The Lord Of The Rings trailer in the commercial.
     
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  10. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    They are moving away from including trailers for the films on the discs for those same films because they have to pay to include them. They aren't bring used as promotional items as originally intended, but rather as bonus features at that point, and there is some union rule that requires payment for that reason. They can include trailers for other films because, in that case, the trailers are being used as promotional material.At least that is how it was explained to me.
     
  11. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    That at least makes a little sense, but then I have to wonder, are the niche companies actually paying extra to include these on their discs? Does Twilight Time pay $$ for these inclusions for their every release? Does Kino (hard to believe)? Seems as though, since they have much more limited budgets than the studios, including trailers for a price would not be such a common practice.
     
  12. Scott Burke

    Scott Burke Supporting Actor

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    Trailers are the only extra I really care about. While I might watch the "extra" material they put on these Blu-rays (which amount to EPK junk) once or twice. I always watch the trailer when I watch the movie. I'm very disappointed with the lack of trailer inclusion as well.
     
  13. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure of the SAG/AFTRA union rules and such, but perhaps the age of the film has something to do with whether compensation for the use of trailers is required.
     

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