For movie audiences some of the most memorable movies are those that through their narrative reveal some unforeseen turn of events that make us reconsider the nature of the movie we have watched. A perfect example of this would be M. Night Shyamalan's 1999 supernatural thriller The Sixth Sense. In our first viewing of this movie we, the audience, believe we are watching a movie in which a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) is meeting regulary with a reknowned child psychiatrist, portrayed by Bruce Willis, regarding the isolatry effects being caused by his alleged ability to see 'dead people', until it is revealed in the movies key moment that the psychiatrist himself is one of these 'dead people'. Such revelations are considered, and rightfully so, as spoilers by movie fans and critics and some fans will go to great lengths to avoid such 'sensitive information' before watching a movie.
Usually such lengths only require a short absence from internet comment and discussions boards and the avoidance of pretentious 'trolls' both in ones digital and real life, but lately it seems that Hollywood are more inclined to maximise their profits than to protect the narrative integrity of their product, with many trailers for recent movies openly revealing key surprise plot elements in their trailers.
The latest trailer for Paramount Pictures' 10 Cloverfield Lane is the latest victim of this rising trend of spoilerific trailers, needlessly revealing the previously 'unforeseen' threat that exists 'outside'. Why a studio would directly, or indirectly through a third party marketing company, allow such revealing content to be released in the trailers for their movies is quite frankly puzzling.
Even more worrying is the increasing number of movie trailers that are not just content with revealing spoiler footage, but through the intensity of their video marketing campaigns show a high percentage of the movies content, usually in order, leaving very little unseen footage for those that actually watch the movie. 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and last years Terminator Genisys were both guilty of this, with eventually viewings of the movie feeling like a recollection of moments seen in the trailers, a collection of appealing but empty greatest hits.
Thankfully not all movies have fallen victim to this worrying trend of baring all in their trailers, with last Christmas uber hit The Force Awakens managing to keep most of its secrets hidden from audiences, which is no doubt reflected in the movies warm reception by critics and fans and its massive box office takings. Movie studios and marketing companies need to remember that, as in horror movies, less is more. Rather than revealing all of a movies biggest moments movie trailers should generate interest by asking questions not showing the answers. These questions will fuel the desire of movie fans to watch the movie in the theater; revealing the answers will only result in audiences waiting for the home release, while negatively impacting the enjoyment of the movie for audiences and ultimately impacting the movies box office takings.