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Honest Trailers hits 100

How a snarky YouTube lark became a sensation

Screen Junkies' video series Honest Trailers, which pokes fun at blockbusters — sometimes lovingly, sometimes not so lovingly — has hit its 100th episode with the Honest Trailer for "Fifty Shades of Grey." To celebrate the occasion, we went behind the scenes with Honest Trailers creator Andy Signore to find out the secret to their online success.

Where it all started:
"'Phantom Menace' was being released in Imax 3-D, and I remember the disappointment in that movie. Everyone was so hyped, and the trailer sort of tricked everybody," Signore explains. "So we did that on a lark as a one-off. It did pretty well, got some serious pick-up, and then I was like, 'Let's try it again.' And everyone else went, 'Are you sure? It was kind of a one-note thing.' And then we did 'Twilight,' 'Transformers' and 'Titanic,' and those hit even harder. After those and then 'Avatar' we realized we had something seriously connecting with the audience."

It takes time before a movie can get an Honest Trailer:
"We have to wait until the movie is out digitally for us to play with it," Signore says. "We've often said, 'Couldn't we do a trailer of a movie that just has a trailer?' But you don't have the honest footage because the trailer is always giving you the cool parts, and most of our Honest Trailers are built around the boring parts or the parts that they don't really want you to see."

You can play with the format:
"We have a formula, don't get me wrong, but we'll try and step away from it as often when we can," Signore says. "We don't have to do the same thing week after week, we can try new things. Like our 'Boyhood' Honest Trailer — whether it was successful or not as far as views, it was just fun to take a break and do a different format. When we can push ourselves and find sort of the different format changes, I think it helps us stay sane and keeps the brand fresh."

RELATED: Check out the 'Boyhood' Honest Trailer

Sometimes studios come asking for it:
"We've had a few [studios approach us]. None of them have ever really come to fruition because for one they realized, 'Oh wait, I don't know if we want to actually do it,'" Signore says with a laugh. "And then some actors have been in touch about doing one of their classic movies, but then they don't want to incur the wrath of that sort of thing, so we've yet to really crack the code of the studio or actor-endorsed thing."

Sometimes the filmmakers aren't too pleased:
"Chris Miller was sort of in the middle. When he saw the 'Lego Movie' one, he tweeted, 'I don't really agree with this, but I laughed,'" Signore says. "Zack Stentz, who wrote 'Thor' and 'First Class' and is writing 'Power Rangers,' he tweeted out, 'If anyone shares these insufferable Honest Trailers with me again, I will unfollow you.' We replied to him and apologized and ended up turning him around, and he came into the studio and has become a fan."

Without further ado, here is the 100th episode of Honest Trailers:

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick

 

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