No matter how awesome or terrible a movie may be, one thing will always remain true – we f*cking love when brand new trailers come out. There’s no greater evidence of this than the fact that studios now release as many as five different trailers for their films to help get word of mouth going on the Tweeters and Cat Tubes, not to mention all of the different clips that we’re offered as well. We love trailers because they’re basically two-minute sales pitches to help us decide which movies we’ll help become blockbusters and which will be added to a list that will eventually become my Pulitzer-nominated Worst Movies feature.
The movie trailer concept turned 100 years old in November, as it marked the anniversary of Nils Granlund’s debut of a trailer for a musical entitled The Pleasure Seekers, but it wasn’t until 1914 that Granlund would actually introduce a movie trailer for a Charlie Chaplin film. Either way, thanks to his efforts, 100 years later we celebrate these stupid, short clips more than the actual movies the majority of the time.
“That is never the intent, but I guess it happens,” says Bill Neil, a trailer editor whose 20-year career includes recent promos for The Wolf of Wall Street and The Conjuring. “I see trailers as little movies, so quality will vary. Some are going to be better than others. Some will become classics.” (Via USA Today)
Of course, some of us actually see trailers as an important part of the art of storytelling, because nobody wants to see a trailer that ruins the entire movie for us.
“Movies are a key part of our media DNA,” says Jon Vlassopulos, founder of Trailerpop, whose app uses more than 20,000 trailers. Coming attractions, he says, “highlight the best parts of a movie.”
Or spoils them, says film historian Leonard Maltin.
“A trailer, when it’s done well, is truly memorable,” he says. “It’s thoughtful and has the pizzazz of the director. Unfortunately, so many of them today give away the whole movie.”
Interestingly, because studios recognize just how much the public loves a good trailer, YouTube has conquered Apple and Yahoo! in recent years as the go-to site for trailer premieres. According to The Wrap, YouTube’s trailer views increased 100 percent between 2011 and 2012, during a time when those other sites were kings of the mountain. Even Yahoo! has transferred its exclusive trailers to YouTube, making them more accessible to everyone.
History lessons and statistics aside, there’s really no better way to honor the art of movie trailers than by ranking the greatest of all-time. Here are the 10 greatest movie trailers ever been made, according to my very scientific team of researchers.
(Banner via Shutterstock)