Yes, there are even awards for movie trailers

Sometimes, all you need to see is a movie’s trailer – it’s often better than the film itself.
Trailers are a $90 million-a-year industry in Hollywood, with their own production crews, their own release dates and now even their own awards show: The Golden Trailers, which will be handed out on March 13 in Los Angeles, hosted by comedian Dennis Miller.
“Trailers are my favorite part of going to the movies,” says Evelyn Brady, a former advertising executive who started the Golden Trailers four years ago.
“But the editors who work on these never get any credit. I wanted to shine the spotlight on them.”
So give it up for the artists who snip and clip movies into memorable sound bites.
Remember the “Sweet Home Alabama” trailer – and Reese Witherspoon’s great line, “Oh, you have a baby . . . in a bar?”
“I remember people rolling in the aisles at that,” says People magazine senior editor Jess Cagle, one of this year’s Golden Trailers judges.
” ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ was only a sort-of-funny movie, but the trailer was hilarious. And that can open a movie big.”
Golden Trailer awards are divided into groups such as best action, best foreign, best drama and even trashiest.
Snob appeal gets no weight here: hence a film like “Bringing Down the House” gets a nod alongside “About Schmidt” for the best comedy trailer – as does the yet-to-be-released “Daddy Day Care,” which doesn’t exactly sound like Oscar material.
There’s even an award saluting good trailers for not-so-good films. Nominees for the Golden Fleece trophy include “Final Destination 2,” “The Hot Chick” and “Rollerball,” widely considered one of the year’s worst movies.
“There is so much riding on these,” Brady says. “Studios are frantic to get them right.”
Studios may commission as many as 16 different previews for a big blockbuster and spend as much as $600,000 on each of them.
Often, trailers are tailored to the audience that will see it – “one with fast cuts for the kids, another with romantic, gushy cuts for the women, and yet another with action cuts for the guys,” Brady says.
“Gosford Park” is a good example: A sneak peek for female moviegoers played up the romance.
But to sell the film to teens and college students, quick-cut previews focused on Ryan Phillippe and a Rolls-Royce pulling up to the mansion – the car was even artificially sped up in the trailer, just for the MTV crowd.
Occasionally, promos will include footage that doesn’t appear in the film.
The trailer for “Unfaithful,” for instance, featured a scene in which a detective warned Richard Gere not to look to deeply into Diane Lane’s affair.
“I want to know the truth!” Gere shouts. Not in the movie.
In “The Royal Tenenbaums” trailer, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character wins a Pulitzer Prize. What Pulitzer?
Studios also test previews to death – and they’ve found that more is better when it comes to customer satisfaction.
“Test audiences often like trailers that tell the whole story, but that doesn’t mean they want to see the movie,” Brady says. “The best trailer whets the appetite.”
Just as a winning trailer can help make a movie – a crummy one can kill it.
“Say you’ve got a trailer for a horror film, and the audience laughs at it,” Brady says. “That’s definitely a bad sign.”