Earlier this year the National Association of Theatre Owners entered discussions with studios over the trailers being used to promote upcoming releases. Cinema operators were requesting that the trailers be shorter and not give away so much of the plot. On the other hand, some movie news websites have taken matters into their own hands in an effort to have trailers accurately represent the films they are meant to advertise.
Not sure how we missed this, but for more than year now the good folks at Screen Junkies have been producing a series of trailers spoofing past and present releases. Honest Trailers, as they have been dubbed, rely heavily on the old quote about many a truth being told in jest. The purpose of each trailer, some of which run more than five minutes, is to provide viewers with what a movie is actually all about through the use of ironic, biting satire. For instance, in their latest trailer for “World War Z” they introduce the film as follows:
In a world where zombies have already infected every facet of pop culture comes… another zombie movie. But this time it has Brad Pitt. Get ready for the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel that’s got everything you loved about the title… and nothing else.
The voice over in the trailer describes Brad Pitt’s character in the movie as:
…your average everyday super attractive, scarf-wearing, Spanish-speaking, airplane-piloting, sharp-shooting, skull-bashing, armor-crafting, arm-chopping, prisoner-interrogating, surgery-doing, slow-motion-vision-having, antidote-making, eagle-eyed stay-at-home dad.
This kind of humor seems to mesh well with the snarky tone of Screen Junkies, a movie and television website geared toward a male audience. It seems as if studios haven’t gone after the group for using footage from each of the movies they’ve lampooned, though this might be due to fair use. That’s probably a good thing since each of the revised trailers Screen Junkies has posted to YouTube has been viewed millions of times. At the time of writing their trailer for “World War Z” has more than 2.8 million views and its only been up for a week. It should also be noted the Screen Junkies YouTube channel has over 800,000 subscribers.
If anything, these trailers are helping market the very films they are spoofing, or at least they could be. What would really be a great idea is for a studio to co-opt the staff at Screen Junkies responsible for these videos and have them produce an official trailer as a part of the the marketing campaign for a movie that hasn’t been released yet.