I want everyone to use their imaginations just for a little bit. You are 10 years old and it is 1989. You are driving with your mom and sister the 2 1/2 hours from Akron to Pittsburgh so you can visit your grandparents. The drive is pretty straightforward; It’s a four-lane highway. It’s completely flat, and along the way there is only one rest stop. This rest stop only has a picnic table, a vending machine, and some restrooms. You take this route to Pittsburgh almost your entire life, occasionally traveling on back roads to change things up a bit. It takes a little longer, but different scenery and being off the highway on occasion is a good thing.
Now it’s 2015, and you decide to make that same journey to visit your grandparents. Things. Have. Changed. That one rest stop has grown from one vending machine into a mini mall of fast food restaurants, arcades, gas stations, and even running trails. You could probably take a vacation there if you wanted (PRO-TIP: NEVER plan a vacation around a rest stop along the highway, even if it DOES have the original TMNT arcade game). Three miles down the same highway, there is ANOTHER rest stop, and another three miles from that. The four-lane highway is now EIGHT lanes, so the amount of people both on the road and at these rest stops have doubled. With all these new distractions, this quick 2 1/2 hour drive has now turned into a 4-5 hour “adventure.”
“Hey Donnie, cute story. One Question: WHY?” I am glad you asked, imaginary guy in my head I have named Derek. The scene I described above is a metaphor for how the saturation of movie trailers has grown over the years. Let’s break it down.
I saw that trailer in December of the previous year when it premiered on Entertainment Tonight. Between then and the 6 months before the movie’s June 23rd premiere, I had the “easy, quiet trip to the grandparents.” I didn’t see any other trailer. The only exception would be the “quick restroom break at the rest area” in the form of a random TV commercial. My imagination had to fill my head with any other anticipation. That was a character I KNEW. I can only dream what went through the minds of kids in the late ’70s when they first laid eyes on THIS:
In 2015, things are different. Let’s look at the biggest movie out right now, Age of Ultron. If we go into the “rest stop” today, instead of that vending machine (one trailer), we have a multitude of choices, such as this:
Or if you are not in the mood for that, you can choose this:
Wait, here’s another one:
And that’s just at this one rest stop. You head down the road to the next one, and you can get an exclusive clip following an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Head down to the the one down even further, and waiting for you is a clip exclusively from Marvel.com. The choices and possibilities seem almost infinite, it can make a person go:
It can even get to the point where you have had the entire movie play out in your head before you even see the IMAX logo start playing when you hit the theater.
The question to ask yourself is “Is this a bad thing? Is this saturation of pre-movie content ruining movies for the audience?” The answer is…no.
To be honest, it actually gives us in the audience more power than ever before. Rather than just having a “vending machine” of media to choose from, I have an entire food court. Rather than having just the one trailer to gauge my initial reactions to a film, I can actually CUSTOMIZE how I want to go into a movie. I can stop at every rest stop along the way and consume everything, or I can choose to take that back road and be completely surprised when my movie starts.
Our job here at Nerdist isn’t to ruin anything for you, movie or otherwise. It’s our job to help you cultivate your experiences. If a new Jurassic World trailer is released, of course we are going to post it on our site. It’s up to you to decide to click that link, or take a back road and enjoy an episode of Because Science instead. We are the builders of one of these massive food courts, and it’s your choice to decide where to eat.
So What Say You? Do you still feel it’s too much? Do you agree that more choice is good? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.