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Trailer for the trailer: Hollywood's hottest new trend

April 10, 2012 |  6:39 am

It started in December with Ridley Scott's "Prometheus." It continued this winter with "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2" and "Total Recall." Now it's being used for "Looper," an original science fiction film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt that, unlike the prior three films, doesn't come with a well-known brand name.

It's the "trailer for the trailer" phenomenom. Or when the trailer in question is a one-minute "teaser" trailer, a "teaser for a teaser."

At a time when trailers are watched more online than in theaters and the one- to three-minute clips are endlessly scrutinized and can be watched tens of millions of times if they go viral, studios will do whatever they can to draw attention. The latest trick is to use short clips that hype the pending debut of a trailer in order to generate attention and turn the trailer debut into a major event, not unlike the day when a movie itself actually hits theaters.

The "trailer for a trailer" tool -- is it a gimmick? Is it a fad? -- is the latest evidence that trailers have become much more important to Hollywood in the digital age. For more on the rapidly changing business of making and selilng trailers, see the story in today's Times. And to watch the top 10 trailers so far in 2012, as ranked by online views based on data from Visible Measures, see below.

Top trailers of 2012: 1. “The Avengers,” 126.1 million views; 2. “The Hunger Games,” 84.4 million; 3. “The Dark Knight Rises,” 68 million; 4. “The Hobbit: Part 1,” 57 million; 5. “Chronicle,” 51.7 million; 6. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” 50.2 million; 7. “Prometheus,” 45.9 million; 8. “Battleship,” 44.2 million; 9. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2,” 39.8 million; 10. “John Carter,” 39.6 million.


Movie trailers have become main event

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-- Ben Fritz