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The Importance of Movie Previews

Movie Previews

Overshadowed by the lot, valued by the few.

For movies, the starting time is usually about 20 minutes after the time listed due to previews. An eight o’clock movie slot really means people have time to show up late if tickets are still available. But, if people decide to arrive when the movie actually starts, they miss out on an important part of the moviegoing experience: the previews. In a time in which movies are coming out left and right, the importance of previews is underrated by many.

Even with both a technical and personal significance of previews, many people overlook them and even talk during the short clips. Only a minute or two of time to make an impact, previews provide important services on many levels. Ultimately, the importance of previews is found on both a technical and personal level that I’ll address below. 

movie previews

image via Springfield New Sun

Significance of Previews in Marketing

In the grand scheme of the purpose behind previews, marketing the product is the goal. Whether people watch TV or come across a billboard, advertising happens across a multitude of platforms. With all the hard work that goes into the full-length film, driving people to see it is critical for success. Even though they are used to get people to the movies, they help viewers get an understanding of what it’s all about.

For the first 20 minutes, people enjoy previews before a movie begins. Typically, previews are of the same genre or style as the moving that is playing in the theater (or they’re from the studio that is distributing the film you came to see). So if it’s a scary movie, all the previews are likely to be of other scary movies to come down the road.

movie previews

image via YouTube

Overall, this strategy is smart for gaining the attraction of individuals that are already investing in the same kind of movie. But, there are many breaking points when it comes to advertising and the trailers themselves. Problems such as the point between being under or over-advertised or having not enough or too much information arise. As an industry, directors and editors know the importance of a preview and the impressions it can make.  

Another aspect to think about is accuracy. When delivering moviegoers a short insight into what a movie is about, there is also a sense of duty to accurately portray the film. If people go see a film and leave thinking, “This is not what I expected,” it could be good or bad. Some might find the film to be even better than what they expected. But, others may feel duped because the trailers were misleading or minimal.

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For example, a movie preview that rides the line of accurate and misleading is Sweeney Todd. The trailer explains the plot well, but completely overshadows the fact the it’s a musical! Now, it is based of a Broadway show, but if people aren’t familiar with its origins, then the first time someone starts singing probably brought confusion.

Personal Importance of Previews

For any avid moviegoer, a trip the theater is something to always look forward to, including the previews. Unfortunately, some people feel like previews are a time to look at their phones or chat. Others see it as an opportunity to ask one question: “What am I going to see next?”

As a movie lover, scoping out your next movie is a continuous project. Any day, there may be a trailer that catches the eye in passing, but the name might not stick. Mentally, people take notes for posters or trailers that stick out, but those can fade. So, the importance of previews makes it imperative to get there on time to see them all. 

At the movies, the previews are like a mini movie themselves. So, people become entranced by different worlds and heartbreaking moments. But, at the core of it, they provide the answer of what to see next or what to add to the list of movies one plans to see. Since similar movies are showcased beforehand, it’s guaranteed that people will see something they like.

Since not everyone has the same mindset, it can be difficult to enjoy the previews. The people who don’t understand only see them as a hindrance that prolongs theater time, but you know the value of previews!

So, what are you going to see next?

movie previews

image via YouTube


Thank you for reading! What are you thoughts on movie previews? Comment down below!

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Erin Winans

Hello! I'm a recent James Madison Alumni and my ultimate dream job is to become a film critic which is why I'm grateful for becoming part of the MovieBabble team!

5 Responses

  1. 18cinemalane says:

    Totally agree with your points about the importance of movie previews! Two other examples of misleading trailers I can add to this discussion are Bridge to Terabithia and March of the Penguins. Based on their trailers, both films were depicted as being more light-hearted than they really were. Also, on the subject of appropriately themed previews before a particular film, I once heard about a trailer for a horror film that accidentally appeared before a family-friendly film. When it comes to which previews appear before which movie, I wonder if the theaters themselves have a say in those decisions?

    • Erin says:

      I never thought about whether or not theaters themselves have a say in those types of decisions. That’s something I have to look into. I wonder if they’re given a list of trailers of appropriate or compatible movies to play before hand and they can pick and choose. Or they have to play particular ones.

  2. I love seeing previews in the cinemas!

  3. Seeing the previews is an important part of my movie-going experience. They’ve often shaped my decisions about seeing a movie or not. I hate missing them (rarely do).

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