Eras of the Movie Trailer: Part 4

“I always like teaser trailers because they don’t give too much away, you know? They give just a flavor of what the thing is. ”
-Oscar Isaacs

My Closing Thoughts on the movie trailer era are ones of solemnity and pondering. I’ve always held true that Hollywood doesn’t define culture, culture defines Hollywood. If you want a 65 second, condensed version of what the people want to see, then all you need to do is look up the latest movie trailer. In those seconds, you’ll see the values of the society that lives in it, the heart stopping action, or the laugh out comedy that the audience is willing to pay there hard earned money to see.

The Eras perfectly encapsulated what the people wanted to see. After the talkies hit there stride, audiences wanted to see there favorite stars from the silents come on, and strut there stuff. Gene Kelly, Charlie Chaplin, Lillian Gish all thrived in this era as the big letters showed there names across the screen. It was an era of stardom, and the stars ruled the trailers.

The Voice Over era marked off the action, the prosperity and the cheesiness of the era. 80s and 90s America enjoyed an era of peace. The Cold War had ended, and in the decade before 9/11, the entertainment industry was enjoying a booming economy, blockbusters, and the Disney Renaissance. People were willing to listen to these resonant voices tell them what there movies were going to be about because there was time for it. Time to enjoy it, and time to savor it.

After the tragedy of 9/11, A frustrating war in Iraq, and the financial crisis of 2007-08, American audiences suddenly fell out of favor with the voice over artist. Don Lafontaine’s death in 2008 was a huge blow to the industry, and many voice over talents transitioned to the more stable world of national TV and internet promos. Letters and narrators were replaced by gritty cinematography, booming scores, and faded texts and letters.

The movie trailer industry is always changing, and even trailers for TV Series are becoming events in themselves. The trailers are coveted just as much as the movie itself. It will continue to change just along with us.

See ya in the movies!




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