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.

UK Investment Into Film Industry Breaks Records

Investment into the UK hub of film and TV production has accelerated to £1.9 billion in 2017.

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Following the production of films such as Solo: A Star Wars StoryJurassic World: Fallen KingdomDumboFantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldTomb Raider and Ready Player One the UK inward investment on feature films has risen 12% from the previous year.

The latest figures were released by the British Film Institute on Wednesday and also show a rise in cinema admissions, reaching 171 million (A 3.7% increase on 2016).

Offering comment on the figures Digital and Creative Industries Minister Margot James said:

“From Star Wars to The Crown, the UK is a creative powerhouse for developing many award-winning films and shows enjoyed by millions globally. We have world-class studios, a talented workforce and highly competitive tax reliefs, and these fantastic stats show investment in our screen industries is booming.”

Amanda Nevill CBE, CEO of the BFI, comments:

“Once again, film and high-end TV surpass expectation, and records are broken, with a staggering almost £3bn spent on film and high-end TV production in the UK. Film and TV is a consistently growing industry, and doing so at speed – collectively up 11% from last year – outstripping most other sectors. Productions such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Paddington 2 and Game of Thrones deliver new employment opportunities for everyone, with every conceivable skill required, from special effects designers to costumiers, accountants and drivers. What’s more it creates the most potent export to showcase the UK and our innate creativity and is a powerful and timely reminder of the UK as a major global player.”

The figures depict a very positive trend for the UK’s film and TV industry, and one that is likely to continue throughout the coming years as the Government looks to solidify the sector which is proving both profitable and world-leading.