The video above is from the Auralnauts YouTube channel, and it’s meant to be more humorous than scathing, but it does a great job of explaining why so many trailers for franchise films and huge-budget tentpoles tend to look and feel the same.
There’s a rhythm to the way trailers are edited these days, and there’s certainly a template to how they sound. We’ve even seen the rise of the trailer for the trailer in a way that makes the ad for an ad part of the ad itself.
It all sounds silly, but when so many people see trailers as pre-roll ads on YouTube it makes sense to try to keep people from clicking through by getting their attention in the five seconds they’re guaranteed to be watching.
The other issue, or opportunity if you have a lot of name recognition, is that the trailers themselves have become an event. It’s not like most of the audience has to be convinced to see the new Star Wars movie, it’s more about making the trailers their own content that inspires posts on sites like this one. People anticipate new trailers, and they’re given their own release dates. Many studios now release teasers for trailers, which is a way of getting you hyped to see a commercial for a movie you’ve likely already decided you’re going to watch.
It can feel a bit exhausting, but this new ecosystem of buzz helps explain why trailers can now feel a bit on the self-important side. They’re no longer just selling a movie, they’re selling you on your continued interest in a series of movies, and that kind of heavy lifting takes every bit of emotional manipulation that editors can slam into these things.
The structure lampooned in the above video seems to be working for the moment, so don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.