Trailers actually TRAILED the movies do you believe it, you could experience them AFTER you see the movie!!! Featuring famed Cindy Sherman, Jackson Pollack, John Singer Sargent and his scandalous Madame X!! Come read it. It will shatter your foundations.
THE REAL THING
From time immemorial trailers have always accompanied movies. Initially movies were just nickelodeons of scenes involving mundane accounts of daily life like the 50 second silent film Arrival of a Train(1895) containing footage of a train approaching a train station. As the cinemas evolved into more story driven affairs there was a need to keep the audience coming back. This incentivized the practice of leaving movies at a cliff hanger(common even nowadays), after which the next feature was teased in form of a small clip which came to be known as trailers. As the name suggests they trailed the feature film making use of any film space left in the final reel.
This practice of using trailers as advertisements got traction and soon it was picked up by main stream movie industry. Nowadays any release in the entertainment industry(be it movies, TV series, games) is always accompanied with a definite marketing strategy involving multiple previews, teasers and trailers. Contrarily trailers now don’t trail the film but are added at the beginning of the film, so that they get maximum exposure.
Trailers in a way, end up being pro consumer helping one to be informed. Just like reviews they help to give the audience a good idea of the structure, plot and cast of the movie.
While there is no doubt that trailers are a great marketing technique to lure the masses into theaters, they seem to me, an unnecessary endeavor artistically. Taking a closer look at what a trailer is composed of, one observes it is just an amalgamation of scenes and pieces of the feature film arbitrarily edited and shown out of context with the sole purpose of selling it to the masses. In many cases the best scenes are added to the trailer thereby ridding the audience of surprise. While this itself is a bad practice many trailers also end up revealing or making obvious the whole plot(intentionally or accidentally) of the feature film. For one wanting to be pleasantly surprised by a movie this is detrimental.
The studios see how a well done trailer can positively sway populations to watch their movie, this encourages them to every now and then put out trailers that belie the true quality of the real product(here a film). Though this is a practice more rampant in the gaming industry we see a fair share of it in the movie buisiness too.
Trailers also contribute to introducing preconceptions into minds of people which shapes the way one reacts to a movie. Having such preconceptions often misleads the audience and even stops one from experienceing the true vision of the director.
In other art forms like painting, photography and music many have independently come to a similar conclusion. Jackson Pollock, the famous abstract artist, decided to rid the audience off any figurative view of his art and stopped naming his art but rather started numbering them. He felt that by not naming his paintings he could strip them off any preordained subject matter or preconceived ideas. Similarly artists such as John Singer Sargent titled his infamous painting Madame ** (later renamed as Madame x) wanting to cleanse the painting off of any subjectivity. Moving to photography we have Cindy Sherman who has made a whole collection of self portraits named the Untitled Stills, to have a similar effect on her portraits.
The problem of having premeditated ideas is that it ends up restricting the way one can analyze the subject matter and misleads one more often than steer in the proper direction. While watching trailers is no sin, why one would want to be misguided by such devices of advertisement and not experience the original vision of the director is beyond me. Treating life like a box of chocolates and surprising yourself every once in a while is more exciting. So stop watching trailers start watching MOVIES.