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Theater Chains And Movie Studios Might Go To War Over The Length Of Trailers

There are three reasons people tend to get pissed off while viewing movie trailers prior to screenings. Do you want to guess? I’ll give you a second to think about them. Alright, ready? First, they’re too damn long. Second, they give away way too much of the larger film’s plot, and third, they start showing up upwards of a year before the film is even scheduled to be released.

As a moviegoer, it’s frustrating to sit there and watch twenty minutes of in-depth plot descriptions for stuff you have no way of seeing for nine months, but luckily, it seems the movie fans of the world finally have a real ally: theater owners. They too are sick of having to bombard audiences with frustration; so, they’ve come up with some ground rules they would like Hollywood to abide by.

Here they are, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter and the National Association Of Theater Owners…

Trailers must be shorter than two minutes.

Trailers cannot be shown until 5 months before a release date.

Marketing materials cannot be displayed until 4 months before a release date.

Each studio can break the rules for 2 eagerly anticipated movies per year.

The theater owners are reportedly convinced studios won’t be able to give away entire plots if they only have two minutes for trailers, and they think the general public will be far more receptive to advertisements when the films are close enough to actually get properly excited about. On both of those counts, I think they’re right. An overwhelming majority of people will consider these steps in the right direction. Unfortunately, at this point, it’s unclear whether studios will abide by the "voluntary" rules.

Basically, theater chains are asking the studios to adjust their behavior immediately, and they’re saying, if you don’t, we’ll stop playing your trailers. If Hollywood throws up the middle finger, however, the theater chains would need to stand their ground and actually refuse to play the trailers, which would cost them money. You would like to think their backbones would be strong enough to do that, but you never know what might happen when it comes down to it.

Still, I think all of us, apart from the few random weirdos who like overly long trailers that outline a film blow-by-blow, should be very happy with this news. It’s nice to know our collective groans aren’t being brushed aside by everyone. It would be wonderful to live in a world where movies kept a little bit of mystery, and perhaps more importantly, it would be nice to live in a world where we could start the damn movie five minutes sooner.

Mack Rawden

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.