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"WOLVERINES!" Or: How Many Trailers Are Too Many Trailers?

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by Matt Singer
March 27, 2013 1:56 PM
2 Comments
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"The Wolverine."
"The Wolverine."

In three days, Fox has released four different trailers for "The Wolverine." 

Four. In three days. That's more Wolverines than a "Red Dawn" remake.

It started on Monday, when director James Mangold tweeted what he called a "tweaser" -- 6 seconds of flash frames from the teaser to the full trailer -- on the new social media video app Vine. Yesterday, came the "trailer teaser" -- not to be confused with the teaser trailer, that's something else -- on MTV; 20 seconds of footage from the full 120 second trailer. And today there were two more trailers -- actual, full-length trailers this time -- one marked "domestic" and one marked "international." Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the domestic trailer (you can watch the international one at Movies.com):

If you follow any film news websites regularly, then this timeline is not news. Most, if not all, were likely posted on your preferred film site; most, if not all, in separate posts with separate commentary. And while I'm happy to watch any movie with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (as long as it's not "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" again), this feels, to me, like just a wee bit of overkill. Trailers to teasers for trailers? How many trailers are too many?

None of the journalists I spoke with today for this post could give me an answer to that question. The reason Fox releases four trailers in three days is because film sites will post four trailers in three days. And the reason film sites will post four trailers in three days is because readers will click on four trailer posts in three days. And generally, according to writers and editors at several prominent film sites, all these little glimpses -- 20 seconds of 2 minutes, 6 seconds of 20 seconds, 19 consecutive frames of 3.2 seconds -- do nothing to quell their readers' curiosity or enthusiasm.

"Any trailer post will be a hugely popular post," one film journalist for a well-known film blog told me. This particular writer didn't know the traffic stats on this series of "Wolverine" posts, but he said he'd be "surprised" if there was any dip in hits on the final, full trailer just because his site also posted the 6 second Vine. "It doesn't matter if we already posted a teaser for a teaser," he said. "If anything, it just whets the appetite." 

So trailer teasers and tweasers work -- although the editor of another film website said he had seen a dip in traffic in this specific case. "Traffic went down with each post," he told me. "But today the [full] trailer is doing very well again. So I think in this case there was definitely some fatigue before the actual trailer came around."

A few folks told me they questioned the decision to release so many trailers in such a short stretch of time, but in conversation after conversation, different writers and editors told me basically the same thing: we post them all because people read them all. Trailers bring in traffic, and traffic brings in advertisers (which means, in this case, that advertising brings in advertisers). There won't be such a thing as "too many trailers" until readers stop clicking on them. You might claim to be sick of trailers to teasers for trailers. But someone out there is -- or lots of someones out there are -- still reading and watching.

Are you sick of all these commercials? Or do you love getting two or three trailers for each big blockbuster that comes down the pipe? Leave us your take in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  • jcamachott | March 28, 2013 6:28 AMReply

    Some movies are so bad yet have trailers that are awesome. Case in point - Die Hard 5 which, if repeated for 2 hours, is better than the actual movie.

  • Jordan Hoffman | March 27, 2013 2:19 PMReply

    This kinda thing only really works for superhero or franchise films, which has an insatiable, illogical need to continually feed the obsession about these characters. Teasers to trailers are idiotic (especially when they are teasers to "teaser trailers," which I think this is - these are not the "full trailers" are they?) but I give the Fox team and Mangold some credit for using Vine for the "tweaser." It's a one-time gag and at least shows that they are aware of the absurdity of it all, and the need to pounce on the newest piece of tech.

    Still - all this does is undercut the impact of the actual trailer. I hate that there are different ones for different markets. If I ran the world, a tentpole movie would have one teaser trailer, one full trailer and, after opening weekend, maybe some kinda short ad highlighting an aspect of the film people are responding to (comedy in an action film, for example.)

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