As the film industry continues to evolve, so do its markets. Since 1995, the average movie ticket has gone from $4.35 to around $8.35. In 20 years, the price has nearly doubled, so you would think that movie quality would be improving, right? Wrong. The average attendance of movies is down, so they raise the price to compensate.
But why is movie attendance ever-decreasing? I believe it is because of how these movies are marketed. The average length of a preview, as regulated by the MPAA, is two minutes and 30 seconds. Studios are allowed to exceed this once a year, if they feel that it is necessary for the film. Studios are doing this for the wrong films. Also, the actors get interviewed almost constantly, revealing little bits of the film as they go along. Not to mention many studios have “featurettes” and sneak peaks of the film. They are ruining the surprise for the sake of profits.
Take the upcoming film "Avengers: Age of Ultron," for example. I am an absolute superhero fanatic, but the way this film is marketed only proves my point. This film already has a plethora of advertisements around the world, not to mention three trailers that are either close to or exceed the two minutes and 30 seconds limit. Now, within these trailers, they all share similar shots and scenes, but have their own unique ones as well. These, while only being a couple of seconds each, reveal a little more about the film.
Something particular that Marvel does with their films is that they release clips of the film as a promotion. Currently, they have 11 clips of the film revealed, each giving a little bit more away of the movie. Given, this is a Marvel film, and after the first Avengers, this film is on its way to break box office records, but at what cost? They ruin the integrity of the film by releasing all of these trailers and clips in an attempt to get more people in the seats.
Now, I’m just using this film as an example, because many other studios do this. What the studios don’t realize is that they are slowly killing films. They are too focused on making money and hyping everyone up, and companies are actually willing to compromise the integrity of the movie by releasing too much of it. They put more money into advertising and promotional stunts than they put thought into the movie itself. Blockbusters are becoming larger, while non-blockbusters are doing poorly because of this.
What needs to happen is that these studios need to understand that unless the movie is an undoubted masterpiece, the marketing must correlate to the film. You don’t make a film about grass growing and then release 15 trailers about it. Blockbusters are known to be blockbusters well in advance, so studios should not have to put the main focus on marketing. By releasing too much of the film, they ruin the anticipation that comes with going to the movies. Instead, people go to watch a linear version of the trailer and see what they already saw.