The Guardian makes some interesting points in the this article about the seemingly ever-increasing trend of showing more and more of a movie’s major plot points in the ever-increasing number of trailers brought out prior to a movie’s release.
The article seems to dismiss this “tool of box-office hype” as being unpredictable by using Terminator Genisys as an example, but I’d argue that nothing could have saved that movie from being a total flop. A scientific study into the effects of trailer spoilers would be impossible to conduct. Whilst you could separate people into groups and show them different trailers and gauge reactions it wouldn’t take into account the interactions people have with their social groups. I can’t see a way for a double-blind test to mimic the real world in the run-up to a movie’s release.
The real reason for these plot spoilers is that the world is more connected now. Social media brings fans together in a way that was impossible before. In the past a trailer was aimed at the individual and the discussions that individual might have with a few friends.
Now a trailer is aimed at creating a buzz, anticipation and controversy in groups of many thousands of people on social media platforms. Plot spoilers for films like Alien Covenant are there exactly because they will create conversation, controversy and most of all, awareness of a movie in advance of its release.
How much spoiler is too much spoiler? It’s a fine line to draw, and I think occasionally movies do go over that line and give away more than they should, but don’t expect this trend to slow down any time soon.
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