In this one off editorial special, I explore the world of unique movie trailers. Film studios like to gain awareness of their latest films and occasionally specially shot trailers would show in theatres before principle photography was even complete on the film being advertised!
Today, specially shot trailers seems to be a thing of the past. Usually a poster for the film is released followed by a six second vine teasing the release of a thirty second clip advertising the date of the first ninety second trailer!
The equivalent of a unique trailer these days is more in common with the viral internet video but I’m going to concentrate on trailers shown in movie theatres with unique footage. I won’t mention any trailers that simply reveal the starring actors and the film’s title or logo.
So without further ado…
2014 saw the passing of the great comedic actor Robin Williams. One of his lesser regarded films is ‘Toys’ which I remember rather fondly. Toys had a great teaser which simply let Robin Williams do what he does best, improvised comedy.
A slightly alternate version is also on YouTube.
2. Terminator 2 : Judgement Day
One of the most flashiest teaser trailers I remember from my youth is the advance promotion for ‘Terminator 2’. Stan Winston and his special effects workshop created a great sequence where we witness a T-800 being constructed and finally being covered in human flesh. The teaser ends with a shot of who else but, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Trivia: Arnold filmed this on a day off from principle photography on ‘Kindergarten Cop’.
3. Wayne’s World
Wayne’s World is another favourite of mine and I used to scour YouTube looking for a special trailer that apparently was only ever shown once preceding the theatrical showing of ‘The Addams Family’. This was due to reasons which will become quite obvious. Apparently this was filmed on the graveyard set for the ‘Addams Family’.
4. The Addams Family
Speaking of The Addams Family. Note how Lurch doesn’t look quite right. Maybe this is early make-up or even a Christopher Llyod stand-in.
5. Back To The Future
Another one of my all time favourite films, Back To The Future. This trailer only hints at the main plot of the film and teases the time machine without actually giving anything away apart from the fact its a car.
This trailer was remade shot for shot in 2010 with Michael J. Fox to advertise Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary which was to be celebrated at the Spike Scream awards that year. You can watch that here.
6. Anchorman 2
A recent release that was highly anticipated. Production filmed a special trailer in the first weeks of production which aired in cinemas shortly after Will Ferrell appeared in character as Ron Burgandy on the US television talk show, Conan.
7. Fight Club
The film Fight Club caused problems with 20th Century Fox as they had no idea on how to market the film and ended up promoting the presence of Brad Pitt and the fighting between men much to the annoyance of director David Fincher.
Fincher created his own trailers but 20th Century Fox didn’t want to use them.
The following video showcases two public service announcement videos that were screened in US cinemas that gave out authentic advice with that little Tyler Durden twist.
In 1998 Roland Emmerich, the director behind big summer blockbusters as Independence Day and Stargate bought his vision of Godzilla to the screen in a big budget extravaganza. I remember awaiting for this scene to appear upon my first watching of the film and discovering it wasn’t there. This whole sequence was created just for advertsing purposes.
9. Jurassic Park
Speaking of large monsters, the original Jurassic Park had its own special teaser trailer hinting as what was yet to come.
After years of being stuck in legal limbo, Sony Pictures finally acquired the rights for Spider-Man. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire the film was a huge success.
Again, this scene was shot specially for the trailer and despite rumours was never intended for the final cut of the movie. After the events of September 11th, 2001, Sony asked all cinema owners to return all copies of the Spider-Man trailer and posters out of respect as they heavily featured the Twin Towers in their marketing campaign.
11. The Comedian
The Comedian was a film about making a living as a stand up comic starring Jerry Seinfield. The trailer I thought was superb and it stars Hal Douglas brilliantly parodying himself. Hal was the voice of movie trailers in the 80’s and 90’s. The lines he uses in this trailer are typical of what you would have heard him say in trailers of years gone by. Hal passed away in 2010.
Trainspotting based on the book by Irvine Walsh and directed by Danny Boyle whose previous film was Shallow Grave. The film revolves around a group of Scottish friends who all have various addictions, be it alcohol or serious drugs. This teaser only hints at the final film and creates intrigue for the viewer.
Before Marvel films formed their own studio they sold the rights to other companies with very mixed results. In 2003 Ang Lee directed Hulk for Universal Pictures and starring Eric Bana. The film wasn’t so great but this trailer certainly got your attention.
14. Star Trek
J.J. Abrams had already gained success with his first directed movie, Mission: Impossible III, as well as his television work including Alias and Lost. Shortly after, Paramount gave him the chance to effectively reboot the Star Trek franchise.
This brilliant teaser cleverly uses a mix of audio to remind us of man’s quest to reach space and the visuals of the newly redesigned starship Enterprise being constructed on Earth.
Sometimes Michael Bay can get a film right and the first Transformers film in my opinion is still the best of the (currently) four films. Here is the teaser trailer for that film and incidentally the footage of the Transformer grabbing the camera did find its way into the final film.
16. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
It was the late nineties and Star Wars fans everywhere were eagerly awaiting the first film of a new prequel trilogy. New Line Cinema used this to their advantage.
17. Alien 3
This is a little bit of a cheat as this trailer goes against my rules stated at the very beginning since there is no specially shot live action film footage here except for the special effects footage created just for this trailer. I’m including this in my list as it was put out to advertise a very different form of Alien 3 that was never produced.
The tag line, “On Earth, everyone can hear you scream!”
That concludes my list for now. Are there any that I’ve missed? Is this a lost art form? What’s your favourite movie trailer? Why not let us know either on Facebook, Twitter (@UKFilmNerd) or use the comments box below.