I recognize that in the grand scheme of things this isn’t on the scale of ending world hunger or the next Presidential election, but I’m going to talk about it anyway: Please stop giving away your entire film in the trailer.
I recently went to see “Terminator Genisys,” knowing the big secret of the film. Why? The trailer pretty much told me everything. It told me who was a Terminator. It told me that (spoilers, since the film has been out for weeks) Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 was raising Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). It robbed me of the discovery that was the main focus of the film. Heck, “Terminator Salvation” did the same thing. Whether or not the film was a hit or a miss (I’ll leave that up to you), it totally failed because the experience was tainted by the lack of surprise.
Remember “Cast Away”? The trailer told us that Tom Hanks’ character was on the island for four years. I watched the film, knowing the entire time that, no matter what happened, he was going to be OK. As great a performance as Hanks gave, it was marred by the lack of surprise. It lowered the stakes. Frankly, it ruined the film for me. (FYI, large comic book movie studios, telling us your entire slate until 2020 kind of takes the stakes away as well. Ultron isn’t a big threat if we know he’s not part of the next film.)
Romantic comedies are notorious for this. Luckily I can’t stand them. Oh, does the boy meet the girl, lose the girl and then get the girl? Oh, is that how they get back together? Yeah, don’t need to see this in the theater. I just watched the CliffsNotes version.
The whole point of seeing a film is to watch a story unfold. If you’re a comedy full of cameos, don’t show every single one of them to me. Did you love “Zombieland” any less because you didn’t know about the cameo? No! It made it even better. Remember the big secret in “The Sixth Sense”? Did you see that in the trailer? Nope. You know that new “Star Wars” movie? No matter how many cool shots we’ve seen, we still know very little. I’m pretty sure people are still going to go see it.
Please, just stop. Leave a little mystery. At least until opening weekend.