Saturday, August 10, 2013


Full scenes in animated films as trailers? Yes, this is something that I believe should be done with more animated films...

A little history here...

In 1993, Walt Disney Feature Animation didn't have something ready for release for the movie theaters all around the world. Their King of the Jungle project, retitled The Lion King at this point, had run into major league story problems. As a result, they couldn't have it ready by its planned Thanksgiving 1993 release date. Disney animated films were now an annual holiday season event after the success of Oliver & Company in 1988 and they'd have one film ready every autumn... But The Lion King would break that trend and soon Disney animated films were big summer events.

Disney went about marketing this film in a very unique way... A trailer for the film wasn't even a trailer per se. In fact, it was the entire opening sequence of the film! Audiences saw "Circle of Life" unravel before them in the theaters. It certainly drummed up anticipation! Pocahontas' early trailer that debuted with the sorta-kinda re-release of The Lion King in fall 1994 was the full "Colors of the Wind" sequence.

Rarely do studios do this, and after the mid-1990s, it wasn't much of a thing anymore. Disney did this one more time in 1999 for Dinosaur, as the trailer attached to Toy Story 2 had that incredible opening sequence and then in 2001, Fox made a brilliant decision by showing moviegoers the first couple of minutes of Ice Age before the film hit theaters. That hilarious sequence with Scrat immediately got audiences to think, "Gotta see that!"

Some 11 years later, Disney pulled a Lion King on us when marketing Pixar's Brave last spring. A slightly shorter version of the archery tournament sequence was unspooled in early 2012 and boy did it amaze! Now I really wish that this was sort of a common once-in-a-while thing for Disney and Pixar, and maybe even DreamWorks.

To be honest, I'd like to see a first act sequence instead of a frenetic, messy trailer for Frozen or something from Pixar like The Good Dinosaur. Sequences that don't give away way too much (one of my biggest problems with Pixar's trailers), and ones that I'd actually take the time to watch over and over. It's just a great way to hype up your film and show audiences why they should see it, rather than pelting them with quick cuts of scenes and barrage of jokes and action scenes. That's what trailers for other animated films are supposed to do.

Earlier this year, I had suggested that Disney should make trailers that make it very clear who made the film since their upcoming films are computer animated. Frozen's teaser begins with "From the creators of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph", which is sort of a good start... But what happened to the trailers for Disney films that would show montages of the classics? Remember when the numbers were a big deal? Disney's 30th full-length animated motion picture event! Remember that lovely montage that was released on YouTube by Walt Disney Animation Studios when Tangled came out? That montage that showed all 50 of the classics? Why wasn't that part of a trailer for Tangled?

But all of that aside, Disney and Pixar (to some extent) would really differentiate their work from the rest with some trailers that had sequences. DreamWorks could do it too, given the quality of their films nowadays. How To Train Your Dragon 2's teaser might be a scene from the actual film, and if it is, bravo to DreamWorks and Fox. I think a sequence, a well-picked one, would really gear audiences up. It would make the film feel like an event, and that's what Disney Animation films need these days... That "event status". These films aren't "hits of the week", they are something more and the marketing needs to accentuate that...

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. I hate how nowadays' movie trailers are all about quick cuts and jokes. I even believe that some jokes are only created for the trailers, and they seem so unfitting and unnecessary when I see them in the actual movies. I'd rather see an epic sequence of the film, instead of jokes.