Culture

Theater owners demand shorter trailers, less smartphone distractions

After you get your popcorn, Raisinettes and finally find your seat, there is not telling how long it will be until you will actually start watching the movie you just paid for. This is something that theater owners want to change, and they are doing so by making a formal request to movie studios.
 
A recent meeting of theater owners in Los Angeles, under the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO, but not that NATO) want to issue a few new voluntary guidelines for movie studios to use going forward. The purpose of this is to standardize any in-theater marketing, whether that be trailers for upcoming films, flyers, promotions or other marketing materials used in theaters here in North America.
 
Under the new guidelines, trailers will have a two minutes limit. There is a stipulation would allow studios two exceptions a year for a film to have a three-minute trailer. This would be for their big summer and holiday blockbusters, any the other films would get the two-minute treatment.
 
Another change comes in the sense of advertisements, this would stop movies from advertising any film that isn’t releasing within the next 150 days. This means no trailers, posters, promotions or other marketing, but again there will be a two film exception to the rule per studio.
 
That takes care of the trailers, but the theaters are also going against the use of smartphones while patrons are waiting. According to the fine print, the new “Trailer Standards,” are dictated by NATO as such, “No direct response prompts (QR codes, text-to, sound recognition, etc.) other than URLS are to be placed in/on the trailer, as they encourage mobile phone use during the show.”
 
This is a big step backwards for studios, who have been trying to use the “pre-movie time” to get viewers to take part in social-media and to get onto websites while they are stuck in seats waiting for the movie to start. This is something that the theaters (and many people sitting around the phone-users) would like to stop all together, or at least limit before it gets out of control.
 
It’s a two-way street for the studios and the theater owners, marketing for one group could help the other in the end. At the same time the theater has to worry about pleasing the customer before the film starts, the studio doesn’t.