Movie trailers now show a teaser before they start -- and the people who make them hate it

Deepwater horizon summit entertainment finalSummit Entertainment‘Deepwater Horizon.’

Some of the biggest new trailers to hit the internet begin with a six- to seven-second tease of what you’re about to watch before it begins.

From Tom Hanks trying to save the world in “Inferno” to Ben Affleck as an assassin in “The Accountant,” these short trailers-within-the-trailers have been popping up.

YouTube commenters have caught it. One asked of the “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” trailer, “Why the hell is there a trailer for the trailer you’re about to see?” And about “Inferno” one wrote, “First I watched an ad, then I watched trailer for the trailer then I finally watched the trailer.”

Two weeks ago, the senior vice president of communications at CBS Films, Grey Munford, provided some insight on the new trend when he tweeted after the
 “Hell or High Water” trailer went online.

So basically, studios have found that to get us to stop scrolling through our feeds, they need to tease the tease.

The latest example arrived Thursday when the trailer for the Mark Wahlberg movie “Deepwater Horizon,” about the worst oil spill in US history in 2010, went live. If you saw it on social media, you got the six-second tease before it played, showing huge explosions and its stars (if you go to the trailer on YouTube, however, it’s normal).

Movie trailer veteran Mark Woollen made the “Deepwater” clip through his boutique trailer house Mark Woollen & Associates. When Business Insider talked to Woollen Thursday, he didn’t hold back his thoughts about the teaser-before-the-trailer trend. He’s not into it.

“I guess there’s some data somewhere that supports it,” Woollen said. “But it feels like a form of self-cannibalism myself.”

Woollen said that trailer houses are not responsible for the teasers of the trailers. Instead, they’re often put together at the last second by the studios before they send them out into the world.

“You spend months going through the process of making a trailer, which is trial and error and different voices involved and research and all of that, and then the week before the trailer comes out it’s like, ‘Oh, we should take five of the best shots and put it before the whole thing,'” Woollen told Business Insider.

Woollen has become the go-to trailer guy in Hollywood for some of the biggest names in the business, including David Fincher, Spike Jonze, and the Coen brothers. He did the trailer for “The Revenant” and most recently his company handled “The Lobster” and “Swiss Army Man.” He says that others who work on trailers have similar views about the teasers.

Woollen admits he isn’t fully in the conversation about why studios have decided to start this. But he thinks a big reason is that, after you’ve viewed three seconds of a video playing on Facebook or Twitter, it counts as a view. So the teaser doesn’t just grab attention — it actually pushes up a key performance metric for a film.

“At the end of the day, is it about getting numbers or making an impression and really creating real interest?” Woollen asked.

“We’re taking something that a director had been working on for sometimes years and we’re making that first introduction, so to have this vomit of stuff before the actual trailer happens, it’s something that I’m not a fan of,” he continued. “There are always different trends and tropes. I don’t know when this one will pass, but maybe with enough pushback it will.” 

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