Trailers before films

I like to watch film trailers. They usually serve the intended purpose, which is to tell me whether I want to see the film or not.

What I do not understand is when I borrow a DVD of a film and they show the trailer of the very same film before the film begins. What is the point? Presumably film makers make trailers to persuade people to watch the film. Surely if I have gone to the trouble of borrowing the film, inserted it into the player, and sat back in my chair, it is pretty clear that I have committed myself to watching it. I don’t need any more persuading.

This practice is especially senseless with modern trailers that seem to practically give away the entire plot. If you see it a long time before the actual film, you likely forget all but a few moments and so no harm is done. But watching a trailer just before seeing the film is bound to ruin the experience.

Just last weekend, it was even worse. I sat down to watch the film The Man Who Would be King (1975) and not only did they start with the trailer, they even had a “The making of…” type documentary before the film, with interviews with the stars and director discussing the characters and script, showing how the scenes were set up, and so on. I like such documentaries in general but only after I have seen a film. Seeing it before would ruin the suspension of belief needed to enjoy films.

I of course immediately skip past the trailer and documentaries as I am sure almost everyone else must be doing. So why do some film companies do this? Does anyone have any ideas as to what could be the reasoning behind such a practice?


  1. says

    Alright Doc, I’ve got a little theory. Don’t under estimate how much ego directors and film editors and everyone else in that industry have. I think it’s just a big “look at me fest.” Look at my handy work. Look what I did. Like you, I like “the making of” stuff, but let me see the story first! Sorry for the mini rant but that’s pretty much my style. Check me out over at Chris Carter dot net when you get a chance. Normally I talk about law of attraction stuff but I’ve been known to go off the rails a few times. By the way, don’t you hate when there’s a scene in the trailers that doesn’t show up in the movie at all?!!!! Aargh!

  2. says

    I agree, I have always wondered the same thing!!! It is ridicoulous to advertise a film on the DVD of the film!!!! Surely advertising is to hope for a sale! You are already a sale!

  3. says

    ‘The making of’ sections on DVD’s should be at the end what is the point in having them on the trailers! non! exept to ruin it for the viewer!

  4. says


    I see your point about the egos of the people making the film but I don’t think they have anything to do with the DVDs. I think these DVDs are produced by marketing people in the studios and distribution companies..

  5. Jared A says

    The Disney DVD release of Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (excellent movie!) had a similarly egregious example where you select “play feature” on the DVD menu and it immediately starts into “The making of..”. It’s not just that it starts immediately with rather important scenes from the movie -- it’s that it completely ruins the mood. I’m sure this idiocy comes from those producing the DVD trying to prove that they earned their bread (afterall, what good is a DVD that only has the movie!), but it almost seems malicious, mocking.

  6. Tim says

    I agree with Chris’ “look at me first” theory. Also, like everything else, DVD production costs money. It is cheaper (less time intensive) to create a DVD that plays one item after another than to pay someone to take the time to make a menu and submenus. I’ve had the same experience as Manu with several older movies I’ve watched recently. My sense is that the companies who convert these old movies to DVD simply want to get them to market as cheaply as possible.

  7. says

    That is ridiculous.

    I can’t believe I have never run into a film like this, which doesn’t make sense to me.

    I don’t understand the point of showing the preview of the movie you are planning to watch… usually previews are there for advertising reasons.

  8. says

    I agree with Thomas I have never come across a film like this either! I enjoy watching trailers to see what I can get out of the video store next.I would be a bit miffed if the film I had already chosen was on the trailers!!!

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