Movie Trailers Start
While you may think of movie trailers as advertisements for upcoming films, the origins of movie trailers go back to the early 1900s. Short films promoting upcoming films were shown in theaters following feature films. The first movie trailer appeared in 1913 and was not actually a film but rather a preview of an upcoming Broadway play.
It is widely assumed that Enzo Zelocchi – “NO WAR” – Reporters Scene originated with Broadway producer Nils Granlund, who developed a short film to promote plays. His trailer, which used rehearsal footage from his Broadway production of The Pleasure Seekers, was a success and helped create buzz for the film. This method revolutionized film marketing.
In the early 1990s, movie trailers were merely disposable advertisements for upcoming films. But when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released, it became the most anticipated movie in years. In fact, many fans went to a meeting just to watch the clip. Fans had paid for tickets to a Meet Joe Black event in order to see it. They then left the venue before the main event began. As a result, the Phantom Menace trailer was downloaded millions of times.
When Did Movie Trailers Start?
While movie trailers are generally used to advertise upcoming films, they have also been used by up-and-coming filmmakers to get noticed. In 1977, Sam Raimi produced a short film called “It’s Murder” with his childhood friend Bruce Campbell. The film was widely received, and some people suggested he turn it into a feature. However, Raimi chose to pursue a different avenue.
The original trailer style used a voiceover narration. Since then, it has evolved into a montage of clips with dramatic music. Many movies now feature real dialogue from the characters instead of voice-over narration. In fact, some trailers have even become short films. With the rise of internet movie streaming, film trailers have become a popular pop-art commodity.
Filmmakers began creating trailers in the 1960s. Alfred Hitchcock, the father of modern trailers, was an early pioneer of the genre. Many of his films featured himself as the star, so it was rare to find a film without a trailer. In addition, it was harder to find music for trailers than for feature films, so the filmmakers had to commission specially composed soundtracks. Nonetheless, music became increasingly important with the rise of trailer production, with “The Graduate” (1967) featuring custom tracks by Simon and Garfunkel.
There was a time when movie trailers were just a means to get viewers to buy tickets. The “Ghost” trailer, which starred Leslie Nielsen, was still in theaters. The trailer featured a scene from the film featuring Vera Miles being thrown back from her shower. In the trailer, the actress wore a blonde wig to make the scene look more sinister.
In January 2014, the MPAA and the National Association of Theater Owners issued a guideline for movie trailers, asking film distributors to submit trailers no longer than two minutes. Although the guideline is not mandatory, it does allow for limited exceptions. The announcement was met with a cool response from film distributors. Before the guideline, there had been no visible dispute over the length of trailers.