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Annoying Things That Are In Every Movie Trailer

Trailers are the backbone of a movie's marketing campaign. They're designed specifically to get people out to the theater—and if they aren't made right, they can drive audiences away. Interviews, reviews, and word-of-mouth can only go so far; the rest is up to the marketing team. But if you've started to feel like every new movie trailer is essentially the same, you're not alone—and these are some of the increasingly annoying reasons why.

Highlight actors who have small roles

Usually, when a studio nabs a big-name actor, they promote that person as much as possible. It's a smart strategy...as long as the star in question is actually a major part of the movie in question. If they aren't, that hype can backfire.

For instance, Gareth Edwards' Godzilla heavily promoted Bryan Cranston's role, so much so that people assumed he was one of the main characters. That wasn't necessarily true. Sure, he had a prominent role in the beginning, but then he was suddenly killed off. It left a number of filmgoers feeling cheated—and Cranston seems to agree with them.

"[My] character dying at that time was a mistake. I knew it when I read it. When I read it, I said, 'Oh, page 50 this character who was the emotional core at the center, that was guiding the audience in the story up to that point he dies?' What a waste," Cranston told Nerdist. "They kind of dealt with it poorly, that's my only criticism of it because I think it was a fun movie, it was a very successful movie. I told them that even if I wasn't doing this role, that character shouldn't die at that point. It's just bad narrative, but they were too far down the road."

Have scenes that don't end up in the final cut

When people to go to the movies, they expect to see the film that was marketed to them through the various trailers, posters, and TV spots. When they find out some of the scenes they were looking forward to are missing, they're annoyed—and rightly so. Unfortunately, the trend of putting scenes in trailers that don't make the final cut only seems to be growing.

Take Suicide Squad, for example. After highlighting the Joker in the trailers and marketing campaign, the studio ended up cutting most of the character's scenes. Jared Leto, who played the character, claimed he filmed enough scenes for an entire movie. People who felt cheated even went so far as to sue Warner Bros. for false advertisement.

Suicide Squad is far from the only movie to do this. Lucasfilm and Gareth Edwards took things to a new level with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when they removed an entire sequence from the final cut. The movie's marketing materials—from the trailers to the posters—all featured glimpses from these scenes, all of them later left on the cutting room floor. Ben Mendelsohn, who played Director Krennic, believes the missing footage would provide audiences with an entirely different version of the film.

Reveal too much

With the advent of social media, it's only getting easier to be spoiled when it comes to new shows and movies. If you don't immediately watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, or catch a movie the weekend it arrives, chances are you'll find out about big plot twists before you have a chance to see them for yourself. What's worse than being spoiled through social media, though, is seeing the movie's biggest twist, or perhaps a key plot point, revealed in one of the trailers. We've gotten so used to seeing trailers reveal every plot point that it's actually a relief when a trailer retains a bit of mystery.

One recent example is the second trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which the final villain of the story, Doomsday, suddenly appears. Despite the movie being titled Batman v Superman, we see both superheroes put aside their differences and fight together—alongside Wonder Woman, no less. The year prior, Terminator Genisys revealed its biggest twist—that John Connor was, in fact, a terminator—in the movie's second trailer. One way to combat such spoilers, while also building interest for the movie, is doing what David Fincher did with Gone Girl: reveal specific bits and pieces of the plot, which may seem like a lot, while also preserving the big twist. It keeps the audience guessing.

Constant fading to black

One of the most common tropes in all of film editing is the fade to black, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Look at the latest trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League: there are numerous cuts and fades, and while some indicate a transition between scenes, there's one instance in which the fades just highlight each Justice League member individually.

Superhero movies aren't the only ones guilty of overusing this editing technique. Other blockbuster films do it, too, and while the fade to black can be annoying at times, it truly irritates audiences is when it's used to extend the length of a trailer without providing additional scenes. We're looking at you J.J. Abrams, with all your Star Wars: The Force Awakens teasers.

The same deep sound effects

We all know the foghorn-like sound effect ("BRAAAM") that echoes through trailers for films such as Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Transformers: The Last Knight, and so on. While studios have altered the sound over the years, the trend started to take off with the colloquially-named "Inception horn" in 2010. It was a sound Nolan and Hans Zimmer, who composed the Inception soundtrack, came up with by experimenting with various equipment. Interestingly, the year after Inception's release, Vulture put together a list of movie trailers that used the Inception horn in 2011, which included Super 8, Battle: Los Angeles, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

At first, it may be flattering to have a sound you created by used extensively throughout the industry. But Zimmer has expressed disgust with the out-of-control fad he unintentionally started, telling Vulture: "Oh, it's horrible! This is a perfect example of where it all goes wrong. That music became the blueprint for all action movies, really. And if you get too many imitations, even I get confused!"

Misleading the audience

To market a film to a general audience, studios run the risk of mischaracterizing the flick altogether. One of the most famous incidences of this happening is with Gábor Csupó's Bridge to Terabithia. The studio promoted what seemed like a family-friendly fantasy adventure, filled with love and laughter—but Bridge to Terabithia is grounded in reality, and focused on friendship and loss. Moviegoers criticized the film's producer, David Paterson, for misleading audiences, but he contended that he needed to promote a 90-minute film in 15 seconds, and reach a wide-ranging audience at the same time.

Also guilty: Suicide Squad. People were expecting a DC Comics version of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is why so many critics elected to compare the two in their reviews. Instead, what audiences got was something else entirely. Yes, there were rock songs, humorous moments, and a motley crew of degenerates (in Suicide Squad's case, they were explicitly villains), but the movies are fundamentally different. And if you really want to see the difference between a movie trailer and the film itself, check out Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Good luck.

An action montage with a profound narration

Just as much of the action occurs in the final act of a movie, the bulk of the action in a trailer tends to also come in the last few moments. It's common to feature a montage of action, comedy, or drama toward the end of the trailer, sometimes even building up to deafening silence which leads into other trailer tropes. In and of itself, this isn't that bad, since it does provide audiences with the most pertinent information. It's what goes with it can be annoying: voiceovers that try really hard to sound profound.

This dialogue, usually delivered by a character close to the protagonist, are no longer as poignant as studios would like to believe. It's been done far too many times, and it's run its course. Don't know what we're talking about? Take a look at the trailer for Iron Man 3, in which the Mandarin asks Tony Stark if he wants "an empty life or a meaningful death," set to a montage of Tony's life-threatening superhero antics.

Another example is the trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, when Spock's father tells him, "You are capable of deciding your own destiny. The question is, which path will you choose?" Of course, the line could be taken in many ways, one of which references Spock's decision to join Starfleet. Whether it's the villain antagonizing the hero, or the protagonist doubting his or herself, there's always some form of narration playing over a montage.

Music that doesn't fit the movie

Music plays an integral role in a movie's success. In some cases, a movie's soundtrack can outshine the story itself—and the same goes for trailers. Using the right music in a trailer is essential, and harder than it might look. Take Warcraft, for example; Universal used a dubstep track to promote a fantasy film, something director Duncan Jones thought was ridiculous. Aside from choosing the wrong genre of music for a trailer, movie studios tend to recycle tracks from the same playlist, such as Immediate Music's "Battle for the Soul of the Universe" set to end-of-the-world events.

As if that wasn't enough, for some reason, Hollywood has a fascination with using Kanye West songs in their trailers. It's been going on for years, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop anytime soon. A recent example is the first trailer for Justin Kurzel's Assassin's Creed, which used the West track "I Am a God." It may have seemed cool from a marketing standpoint, but fans of the video game franchise felt using the game's original soundtrack would have been better. And the Ubisoft-based movie isn't the only flick guilty of using a Kanye song. Over the past few years, The Night Before, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Girl on the Train, and many others have done it.

Slow down music for dramatic effect (or play cover songs)

We've already established that music plays a significant role in not only a film, but the film's marketing. And while choosing the proper song to use in a trailer is a big deal, it's not the only way a studio can go wrong. Another modern cliché is slowing down music, either an original song or cover of an older hit, for dramatic effect. It does work: slow music can set the stage for tragedy, tension, and spectacle. That being said, it's a tactic that's often overused.

One of the more recent examples is the trailer for Brad Peyton's San Andreas, in which Sia's cover of the Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'" played in the background. In the first trailer for Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron, instead of using a traditional, exciting score, Marvel altered the classic song "I've Got No Strings" from Disney's Pinocchio. Many trailers over the past few years have fallen victim to this trope; sometimes it works, but it can also be a major annoyance.

Extra scenes after the title card

Moviegoers have become obsessed with the post-credits scenes popularized (but not invented by) the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The thing is, movie trailers have been doing something similar for years. After going through all the previously mentioned tropes, movie trailers will end with the title card. But before they show the release date, trailers will have one extra scene to give audiences—either an extra joke for a comedy movie, an extra scare for a horror movie, or an extra tease for a superhero movie. It's become commonplace over the years, so much that even indie movies are guilty of it.

A recent trailer for Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight serves up all the clichés, including an extra joke at the end. After the title card, Mark Wahlberg's character tells Grimlock, a Dinobot who's just chewed up and spit out a police cruiser, to go back in his hole and think about what he just did. In a trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, the last few moments tease Charles Xavier losing his hair, completing his transformation into Professor X. Another trailer teased Wolverine's cameo. These are only a few examples from a slew of trailers guilty of post-title card scenes.