Why We Are Obsessed With Cinema Trailers

The reasons we would never dream of missing one…

30/05/2017 14:34 BST | Updated 31/05/2017 08:41 BST

The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is not love. It’s not peace. It’s not even 42. It is cinema. Pure and simple. A temple shared by all races, religions and genders where we worship the greatest art form in the history of life on Earth: films.

There’s so much more, though, to the cinema experience than simply seeing a movie. We’re rather partial to trailers, too. They are our favourite reason for getting to the cinema long before the movie plays.

Trailers are the promise of a great film to come. A three-minute taste of a large, delicious stew still bubbling in the kitchen. Trailers are hope. The anticipation of an event destined to make us to roar with continuous laughter, crowd our brains with provocative new thoughts or flood our hearts with a flood of feelings.

A good movie delivers a great night out. An epic movie can change your life. At their best, trailers capture that marvellous, magical potential, distilling a movie’s heart and soul, delivering a brilliant, bite-size chunk into our eager, beaming faces. They give us a reason to return to our favourite movie theatres with our friends and loved ones. What could be better than that?


The thrill of seeing a trailer for a film you had no idea was even being made. We love that. Suddenly, more than anything, you must see that movie!

How about when you finally get a peek at a film you’ve been waiting for, maybe for years? When your patience is rewarded with a look at a world you’d long imagined but never seen? Or when a familiar character, like an old friend, walks into focus for the first time? The music swells, and along with it, your heart.

Let’s not forget the fun of comparing trailers to the finished product. Often released before the movie’s even finished shooting, a strong teaser might include multiple shots and lines of dialogue that don’t even make it into the final film. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, once we’ve seen both the trailer and the feature it’s promoting, we rather enjoy spotting the differences between the two. 

Walking that fine, precarious line between giving enough away to stimulate interest in an imminent movie, and revealing so much that the film’s robbed of its mystery, a good trailer is a tease, not a main event. It’s a quick cut flurry of quotable quips and striking images. A hint of atmosphere, mood, action and plot.

The more ambiguous a trailer is, the more deeply we’re intrigued. We don’t need to understand it. We don’t really want to. Drunk with anticipation is the emotional state we wish to be left in. Also, shaken and stirred. Dizzy and excited. Curious and eager for more. Like a travel brochure, only rather more animated, a great trailer offers a glimpse at a world that we subsequently cannot wait to visit.

The best trailers are like short films in their own right. Though their primary function is, of course, to get you to go see a film, that doesn’t mean they can’t be artful and entertaining. Beautiful and strange. Like some finely edited micro epic with a mammoth budget and shining Hollywood stars.

Glorious blends of art and marketing wrapped up in hope and fun and emotion, trailers are three minutes of heaven and they make us divinely happy.


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