Hollywood And The Trailer Conundrum

The final trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dropped yesterday, and I’m still angry about how much of the story it gave away.

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It’s not a new phenomena for feature film trailers to give away too much of the story, and in essence spoil their own plot threads. But yesterday the third and final trailer for Fallen Kingdom proved to be perhaps the most egregious example of a film studio giving away far too much since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually showed the final shot of the movie in a trailer.

There’s an obvious argument for why studios do this, at the end of the day they’re a business and their job and the role of the marketing department is to get people into the cinema. But that shouldn’t come at the cost of the cinematic experience you take part in once you’re there.

In part in can perhaps be associated with the Social media age we’re currently living in. People want information in small portions and they want it straight away in quick news cycles. So hiding away the main story thread and focusing on tone and themes isn’t perhaps the best way to approach a trailer aimed at a mainstream/general audience. Instead your trailer needs to focus on “moments”; key shots and plot points that grab the attention and make you want to see the film.

The final Fallen Kingdom is littered with said moments, some of which are highly infuriating spoilers, so I won’t go into detail here. But what I can do is note that there are at least 5 key moments, plot points or mysteries spoiled over the course of a 2 and a half minute long trailer.

So the question has to be asked, can marketing departments focus on themes and tone and still get those tickets sold? Quite frankly, the answer is a resounding yes and anyone from the film industry who argues otherwise is either complacent or incapable of producing a unique marketing campaign.

John Krasinski’s recent horror-hit A Quiet Place is testament to the wonders a good marketing campaign can do. It didn’t spoil key moments of the film, only ever alluding to them, and relied on the quality of the film premise itself to sell the tickets. That could have failed spectacularly, especially for a film that doesn’t have any prior name value, but to everyone’s surprise it opened up to similar numbers to that of Ready Player One.

What’s all the more frustrating is that Fallen Kingdom nearly had it nailed. Whilst the first trailer failed to capture the buzz that Universal likely wanted, and received pretty negative reactions, the second trailer was widely praised. Honing in on the horror tones of the film and providing only the most basic of story-points, the second trailer told us exactly what the film was going to be and teased enough moments to grab our attention, all the while maintaining the secrecy that hotly anticipated films should try and keep.

What’s more concerning on the Fallen Kingdom front is that apart from that second trailer the entire marketing campaign feels like a B-Movie you would find on the SyFy channel. Alongside the most recent trailer we were treated to the following poster and I can safely say that it’s one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time.

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So enjoy marketing campaigns the likes of which A Quiet Place managed to produce, applaud studios when they manage to scramble together a trailer that tells you everything you need to know and nothing more and criticise when they give you too much. Talk with your money if you have to. Because until movie-goers start to show that marketing still matters in this social media age the steep slope that trailers find themselves on is only going to get worse.

Where does the Jurassic franchise go from here?

Unless you’ve been living in some self-imposed exile then you’ll be well aware that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is only a couple of months away, with the final trailer hitting the interwebs later today. But once this trilogy has come and gone, where does the Jurassic franchise go?

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There’s likely far more riding on Fallen Kingdom than most fans realise. Whether you liked the final product of Jurassic World or not, the one thing that cannot be debated is the fact that it made an absolutely huge amount of money for Universal. But, it had the good fortune of being a beloved franchise returning in a big way after a significant period of absence. Similar in vein to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World was always going to make a large amount of money at the box office, especially given Chris Pratt’s meteoric rise into the main stream following Marvel’s smash-hit Guardians of the Galaxy.

Fallen Kingdom doesn’t have that “big comeback” luxury. Yes it will to some extent ride the coat-tails of Jurassic World’s success with the general movie-going audience, but for a much larger degree it will need to stand on its own two feet and a box office disappointment could significantly alter the future of the franchise.

All we know about the third and final installment of the franchise, for now let’s take a shot in the dark and call it Jurassic World: Extinction, is that it’s releasing June 11 2021. But come June 12 2021, is that it? Are we done with the franchise?

In my own opinion there are a number of routes that the franchise could take, and as previously mentioned I think a lot of it will depend on the success of Fallen Kingdom at the box office.

The first and most likely route in my opinion is that the franchise takes an extended leave of absence, at least on the film front. Whilst it’s possible that Extinction ties together every loose end and leaves the story with a finality to it, what’s more likely is that it ties together enough story threads that should it be the last ever movie we can say we’re satisfied, but with enough openness that stories can still be told in the future.

If this is the route they choose to take then I won’t be complaining. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and with the announcement of prequel novel The Evolution of Claire by Tess Sharpe Universal have already shown that they’re not averse to building this universe with extended canon.

If I had to put money down on what I thought would happen, I’d say that Extinction will end in a fashion that doesn’t directly set up any plots, but leaves the world in a state whereby something could always be worked out in the future. Universal would then take a back seat and steer away from the movies, but focus on both extended canon novels, games (and possibly a Netflix/Amazon TV show?) as well as giving Jurassic Park at Universal Studios a complete overhaul into Jurassic World. The latter part might not be popular among fans of the franchise, but it’s fitting and probably the right thing to do in the long run in order to keep the franchise’s presence at the park relevant and modern.

This method would allow the franchise to take a breather, whilst keeping it relevant. Then in 5-10 years time they can return and start fresh with a new trilogy, taking the story in whatever direction they see fit. The key here would be not to rush anything, it’s the best route to take if this franchise wants to have a long-term future. We just have to hope that Universal could say no to the money of more films.

Of course there’s always the possibility that they carry on making feature films. Universal is at the end of the day a business and the best way for them to make money is to milk this franchise dry. Spin-off films, sequels and prequels could all be possibilities if that’s what the executives wanted.

Let’s just hope we live in the brightest timeline and not the darkest.

What do you think the future holds for the Jurassic franchise? Would you like to see a new trilogy start right after the Jurassic World trilogy finishes, or would you prefer a break in order for the franchise to come back feeling refreshed? Also let us know if you’re excited about The Evolution of Claire, it’s very likely that it’s a test run for extended canon content, so if you want more novels in the future make sure you go out and buy yourself a copy.

And as always, be sure to follow us on Twitter @WeAreNiche

John Krasinski to work with “A Quiet Place” team for “Life on Mars”

In an exclusive report the Hollywood Reporter have learned that director of the critically acclaimed A Quiet PlaceJohn Krasinski, is set to form a reunion with the same team behind his feature film directorial debut.

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Krasinski will be reteaming with the producers of A Quiet Place – Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller – to work on Life on Mars. Based on the short story by Cecil Castellucci titled We Have Always Lived on Mars the story follows “a woman who is among a handful of descendants of a Martian colony long-abandoned by Earth following a cataclysm. The woman one day finds she can breathe the air on Mars, upending her world and that of her fellow colonists”.

Paramount, who distributed A Quiet Place, are in negotiations to once again pick up Krasinski’s project.

 

Review: Love, Simon

Director: Greg Berlanti
Writers: Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker
Starring: Nick Robinson

I am a straight white dude and this film still managed to leave me emotionally compromised.

Thanks to the magical world of Cineworld Unlimited membership last night I got the chance to see Love, Simon nearly a whole month before its release in UK cinemas. If I’m being brutally honest I was at first disappointed. With big blockbuster releases such as Ready Player One and Pacific Rim: Uprising right around the corner I went into the secret screening with the hope that it’d be one of them. But in hindsight I’m glad that this was the film we got to watch, not just because I enjoyed it, but because I may otherwise not have gone to see the film and I would have been missing out.

Love, Simon was pitched to me as a romantic comedy that deals with a young man struggling with the concept of coming out as gay. But it was so much more than that. At times the film often strays into the territory of “teen drama”, but these are moments that it almost certainly earns over the course of its 1hour 49 minute runtime and it never feels cheesy or cliche when doing so. The film packs a real emotional weight and significance that most other rom-coms do not, and the credit for that goes down to a dream team of director, writers and actors. Nick Robinson (Simon) wasn’t blowing anyone out of the water with his performance in the 2015 box office juggernaut Jurassic World, but he certainly pulls it off here. His journey that the film takes you on invests you so much that it had the audience weeping and literally cheering, a feat that is certainly not easy to achieve.

But what makes it so easy for this film to reel in its audience is because it is so relatable and believable. All the characters came across as real people, and really strong performances from Jennifer Garner (Emily), Josh Duhamel (Jack), Katherine Langford (Leah) and Alexandra Shipp (Abby) all help to not only prop up Nick Robinson’s performance, but enhance it. Together they create a cast of characters that feel like they are all related or best friends in real life and that is something that so many films fail at.

There is also the obvious larger connotations that this film comes with which need to be addressed. The LGBT community is drastically under-represented in Hollywood, and whilst things are improving, on the whole it’s still not great. So it was not only refreshing, to see a movie centred around the struggles of a young gay man, but it was important for us a society. This film, without treading into hyperbole, could be an inspiration for thousands of people who are going through the very same struggles that Simon did, and whilst many people in the real world aren’t fortunate enough to have the support system in place that Simon did, this is at least a great leap in the right direction.

That isn’t to say that the film is perfect though. There are some aspects of the story direction that I didn’t agree with, but I will refrain from going into detail so as to avoid spoilers, and some of the side characters could have done with a tad more development. But these aren’t groundbreaking issues by any stretch of the imagination.

If you get the chance you should definitely go and see this film, it is well worth your time and following on from Black Panther it is likely to have similar connotations for our society and that is something you should want to be a part of.

Final score: 8/10 Porgs.