Trailer trouble at the cinema

Well, here's good news: the National Association of Theatre Owners is going to start restricting movie trailers to no more than two minutes each.

They also want trailers to show for no more than 150 days before its release date — which I don't care so much about.

Here's the thing, though: While the length of trailers can certainly be an annoyance, it's only the tip of the gripes where trailers are concerned.

Let's kvetch first about content. It's not so much the sexual content that troubles me but the extreme violence. The old ultra-violence, you might say. The explosions and sound of gunfire are cranked to high volume. The scenes of chases and brutality cut and jump with crazed strobe-light rhythms. It's assaultive.

I guess if we are seeing an R-rated movie, we can expect an R-rated preview. But it seems that more and more coming attractions for PG-13 releases tend to be loud and lethal, too.

Let's complain now about something I think most people can agree upon: previews show way too much info about a movie's storyline. Someone who edits trailers says it's because research shows that the more moviegoers know about a film, the more likely they are to see it. I realize distributors want to do what will make the most money — but I'm not one of those moviegoers.

So there's lots still to improve where trailers are concerned. But the National Association of Theater Owners guideline change is a start. Trailers will be about 30 seconds shorter, on average.

There is, however, a little loophole. Each distributor gets two exemptions each year on both the length and in-advance-of-opening fronts.

Ah, well. Baby steps.

What do you think of trailers? Have they become too much?

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