Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games trailer is a strong example of confident marketing, and a textbook-study on how to sell the goods without spoiling the whole movie.

This is exactly how to cut a full-length trailer.  You establish the core plot of the story, you establish the main character and why we should be invested in their fate, you offer a few details of the mythology, and then you fade to black.  Obviously,  having not read the books, I can't say for certain, but this 2.5 minute trailer seems entirely made up of first and second act material (if not even less than that, depending on when the main competition begins).  And while there has been fun 'fear' from fans of the series that it would be sold as a Twilight clone, this Lionsgate trailer is explicitly about the circumstances in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself hunting other kids in the woods.  Yes we get a few dialogue patches from one would-be male love interest (at this point purely platonic) and a long close-up of the other, but whatever romantic inclinations exist in the narrative is being saved for the next trailer.  What you do get is a sense of scale and some truly gorgeous 2.35:1 cinematography, a realistic and atmospheric dystopian future that feels right at home in classic 1970s sci-fi parables , brief but important appearances by Elizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland, and a showing of pure confidence in both the product being sold and the manner in which to sell it.  This one drops on March 23rd, 2012.  As always we'll see, but I'm highly impressed.

Scott Mendelson   


wh said...

yes scott you are right about 1st and 2nd act. the very last scene of the trailer is the very 1st scene of the 3rd act - when the games begin. the most meaty and gripping part of the book wasn't really shown at all, which is awesome... (also might be because effects aren't done yet?)

Jose Cordova said...

Looks like Gary Ross and Lionsgate are doing this one right. As a fan of the series I can confirm that most of what we see is from the early chapters of the book. The tone seems spot on and the cast looks great so far. Definitely looking forward to this.

corysims said...

Hell of a trailer. Definitely NOT Twilight. Tonally, it's so spot on. The obvious question is the final act of the film. How far will they take it, considering the source material and the commercial nature that Lionsgate wants from this series....?

Brett N said...

"Master class" does not mean anything done by a master, it does not mean a masterful performance of something, it does not mean anything well-done that others can learn from.

A "master class" is basically just a lesson (usually music, but could also include other disciplines such as painting or drama) that is open to an audience, in which a student (often a beginner) performs a piece of music for the teacher, who gives instruction on how to perform it better. The teacher does not perform the piece -- magnificently or otherwise -- for the enjoyment or edification of the audience, the teacher talks. The student plays. The student may actually be a pretty poor performer, it doesn't really matter. The only difference between a master class and a regular music lesson is that other people are invited to a master class, whereas most music lessons are private.

I have no earthly idea how a movie trailer can be a "master class." Maybe if we're watching a film student editor try to cut a trailer, it might make sense.

Just sayin!

Scott Mendelson said...

I've heard/read that phrase being used as I have used it, but admit guilt to not looking it up beforehand. For the sake of accuracy, the headline has been slightly altered.


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