Crafting a good trailer is tough, but it’s also important. You need to sell your movie to audiences, but you want to do so in a way that gives an accurate gauge of what they’ll see in the movie. If you sell, say, an action-thriller about a getaway driver and audiences instead get an artful, somber film like Drive, some folks aren’t gonna be happy. But as moviegoing habits change, and as we move closer and closer towards a 12-month-a-year blockbuster season, studios are working harder than ever to convince people they need to see their movie in the theater.
As such, I’ve noticed a trend surface in recent trailers that does a great job of getting audiences hyped: rhythmic trailers. These are trailers in which digetic sound—i.e. noises, sound effects, and movements happening inside the movie—are synced up with trailer music to create a more aurally enticing experience. It’s fun! It’s much more intriguing than, say, building tension with some Hans Zimmer ripoff music that leads to “BRAAHMM” over your big “trailer shots,” or using a sad cover of a pop song.
While these “rhythmic trailers” aren’t exactly brand new, the recent trend seems to have started with Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing’s brilliant first trailer for Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, seen below.
As you can see, the trailer has a rhythm to it, with the action, characters, and cuts moving in sync with the music. It entices the viewer and gives a sense of the tone of the piece, while keeping the plot’s twists and turns under tight wraps.
When it came to marketing Warner Bros.’ Kong: Skull Island, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts revealed that he asked the marketing team to make a Kong trailer in the vein of that Handmaiden trailer.
The result was the final, and best, trailer for Kong: Skull Island:
And just this past week we got a new one, with Warner Bros.’ new Justice League trailer. This one’s a little less reliant on rhythm, but it’s clearly still there and it’s hard not to imagine Warner Bros. was influenced by the positive reception they received for the Skull Island trailer.