I said we were going to do Dark City next but I guess I didn’t deliver what I advertised. But that’s oddly related to the film I am delivering. Raise your hands if you’ve ever gone to see something based off the trailer. I’m guilty of it myself; often dismissing a film because its trailer didn’t look good. But really, time has proved that trailers are quite frankly bullshit. The trailer only contains clips of the film, edited in a way to make it appealing. But editing is a powerful thing. There’s a whole subculture of YouTubers who edit trailers to make the movie look like a completely different genre; take The Shining as a family dramedy, Mrs Doubtfire as a horror movie, and Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince as a teen comedy. Real trailers pull this trick too. The most notorious examples:
*Bicentennial Man – a melancholy and sombre story about a robot questioning what it means to be human, marketed as another quirky Robin Williams comedy.
*Pan’s Labyrinth – a very dark and gothic fantasy film featuring lots of blood and scary imagery, marketed as a family-friendly fairy tale.
*Bridge To Terabithia – a preteen coming of age story where two children use their imaginations to create a fantasy world, marketed as a Narnia-type adventure where the fantasy stuff is real.
There’s a lot of reasons for this. The most glaring one is that the people who make the trailers are not the actual filmmakers – but rather the marketing department. Two films released last year – Trolls and the reboot of Ghostbusters – had the makers criticising the trailers for how badly they represented what they were supposed to be promoting. Essentially it comes from the marketing department trying to reach the widest demographic possible. As this film stars Vanessa Hudgens coming off the heels of her breakout role, they advertised it as this:
When it’s actually more like this: