The average American (if there is such a thing) is interrupted every 17 minutes. The battle for our attention has never been more epic. We are used to digesting bite-sized bits of content. I think it is interesting to consider these facts in the light of the movie business. Asking Americans to give up 1.5 to 2 hours of their time on a movie is an increasingly difficult proposition, hence the rise of the lower involvement TV drama. A recent Vanity Fair cover story confirmed the ascendance of TV over movies.
I have recently noticed a phenomenon that confirms this struggle and that is the simple fact that the length of a movie trailer seems to be increasing. A few weeks ago I saw a trailer for ‘Robot and Frank’ that infuriated me. In Hollywood’s desire to pull me in to spending 90 minutes with their content, they spent a whopping 2.5 minutes on a seductive trailer. But in that 2.5 minutes they mistakenly gave far too much away. I could forecast the ending before the movie began. Do not buy popcorn. Do not pass go. And the promoters of this movie are not alone. In my opinion, most movie trailers should now carry a spoiler alert.
Forgive me for the crude analogy, but I see a strange parallel with the ‘oldest profession’ in the world. The cheaper the hooker the more they have to display to lure a customer. Personally I wish more movies were like high-class escorts and were confident to show less and charge more.
By the way, ‘Robot and Frank’ is an awesome movie (Frank Langella is a absolute delight) and certainly did not need to shed its clothes to get me to open my wallet. Just don’t watch the trailer…