Think back to the last time you went to the movie theater. Are you the type of person who gets there early to get a good seat and check out all the upcoming previews? Or are you the sort who shows up on a whim and catches whatever happens to be playing at the time you arrive? Whichever sort you are, it seems that your moviegoing schedule may be about to change if national theater chains react to a new poll.
As THR reports, a poll conducted by Morning Consult and The Hollywood Reporter shows that nearly 60% of theater patrons would prefer fewer trailers to play in front of the feature film. 59% said that 1-3 trailers were preferable, with 21% preferring 4-6. That’s well under the normal pre-screening content projected onto the big screen from national theater chains like AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark Theatres, which average between 5 and 8 previews before rolling on the main motion picture. Could that change in light of this new poll?
Maybe, maybe not. On one hand, the 15-to-20-minute pre-show content covers some necessary legalities like safety protocols in the event of an emergency but on the other hand, this screen real estate also offers upside on the revenue side of things: Ads for concessions, future film screenings and special events, and third-party vendors. Then come the trailers themselves which are obviously ads for future films and, ideally for theaters, future ticket sales. So even as movie theaters battle behind the scenes with streaming services providing in-home ease and comfort, they’re not likely going to cut their own feet out from under them anytime soon just to make a slight majority of moviegoers incrementally happier. But factor in increasingly long runtimes for movies themselves and trailers that can not only run up to or over two minutes in length but also give away all three acts of the movie they’re advertising (looking at you, Black Christmas), and it gets easier and easier to just stay home and watch the latest release on your supersized TV screen instead.
Moviegoers, what say you? What’s the ideal number of trailers screened before getting to see the feature film you paid for?