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Tag: movie trailers

Why Does it Take 40 Minutes for the Movie to Start?

Are you also puzzled why you have to sit in your movie theater seat for so long before your flick actually begins? Is it to give you time to eat more popcorn?

Watching movie previews used to be a really fun part of going out to the films. Remember when there was even a surprise factor? Of course, today you can find all movie trailers online. So you’ve probably already seen every preview the movie theater is going to throw at you.

But these days, that’s not the half of it. There’s all of that bland Noovie programming with Maria Menounos that runs before the film is scheduled to begin. (It also drifts 5-7 minutes into what used to be the ‘coming soon’ zone.) And then, there are promos for TV shows. And for the final insult, there are all of the commercials.


Limiting my Exposure
I intentionally avoid most commercials, now that I can pay more for a commercial-less streaming experience at home. (The major exception is the commercial line up for the Super Bowl. It’s always fun grading the most expensive 30-second spots on TV.)

Yes, I pay more for our streaming subscriptions to minimize my family’s commercial exposure. I think it’s really worth it. Our twelve-year-old son has grown up consuming his media mostly without commercial interruption.

Sure, I still carry about a fair amount of parental guilt regarding how much screen time he consumes (a much more complex equation than when the debate was just over ‘TV’ time). But at least I can say that commercials don’t bathe his being nearly as much as my own experience growing up.

With this accomplishment, I am especially displeased that movie theaters have become a new Wild West for commercials.

I simply don’t want us to watch commercials before a movie.

I feel inundated, and it’s painful.

By the time we get to Nicole Kidman telling us what a great experience it’s going to be at the movie theater, I want to run away.

Talk about a terrible warm-up act.

A 3-Hour Tour?
No, the preshow isn’t all commercial content, but it bloats the entire block to an unwatchable length. Getting through it all feels like an endurance test.

When I went to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” with my son, I lost literally forty minutes of my life squirming in my movie theater seat waiting for the MCU to start.

That creates an almost 3-hour viewing experience. Who’s got 3 hours anymore? It’s too much time. Way too much.

Post-Pandemic Reality
I know this is not a new phenomenon, but it feels like it’s getting worse. That’s probably because I haven’t returned to an actual movie theater that many times since Covid closed them all down.

If movie theater owners want all of their customers back, punishing them with content they don’t want to watch is not an especially great plan.

I understand that the business model of movie distribution needs to work, but this is out of control.

How Long Will You Wait for your Entertainment?
Consuming commercials used to be the way people watched television for free. Then we were taught that we could pay for premium movie channels on cable. And that evolved to paying for commercial-free streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix. Sometimes, you can play less per month with ‘limited’ commercials. But for me…that pure experience without any commercial interruption is worth the extra few bucks a month.

So I pay for the programming I watch on TV, and it’s usually commercial free.

And that’s always been the business model for movies theaters. When movie ticket prices go up, you can grumble, but that’s how it works.

But then when you throw in obligatory commercials at the movie theater on top of that, it’s crossing the line.

Today, it’s hard enough to wait 5 seconds to click out of a YouTube spot before you get to watch your video. Waiting 40 minutes for your movie is ludicrous.

Times have changed. When we are offered the option to ‘skip the open’ on our favorite streaming shows, today’s movie-going experience feels entirely out of sync with reality.

Add Back 38 Minutes into your Life
Clearly, the solution is to show up at your movie theater seat about 38 minutes late (as long as you’ve got reserved seats.)

This just takes a little reset in how you schedule your time. Trying to miss the movie previews has now evolved to how to avoid the preshow entirely.

Movie theater owners need to redesign their customer experience and offer something more worthwhile during the preshow.

Or just simply play the movie. That would be quite the innovation.

New Movie Theater Business Model
Okay, here’s a scary question: Would I pay even more for my movie ticket to ensure I don’t have to watch any commercials?

I would.

If cinema 1 is playing the movie with commercials and a 40-minute preshow, and cinema 2 right next to it has the same movie that simply starts at the posted time, yes I would pay more for a ticket to cinema 2.

And if that’s been the plan all along, then I have to tip my hat to some really smart marketers who are playing the long game.

For now, I’ll just try to be that guy who shows up a half-hour late.

Why Movies are Ignoring Old Boundaries of Storytelling

Upcoming films are betting that the legacy of iconic characters will successfully transport to new stories and even into the next chapter of a different movie franchise.

I stumbled upon the teaser trailer of Pixar’s upcoming “Lightyear” quite by accident last week. I didn’t know the 2022 animated flick was in production. So when I watched the spot on YouTube, my experience was similar to how we viewed movie trailers in the old days.

And I was delighted.

I especially enjoyed the opening sequence of the spaceship launch. It was visceral. Pixar’s animators keep upping their game.

But my immediate interest in the movie was based on more than a great trailer. That’s because “Lightyear” is connected to an existing franchise. (This flick is apparently the origin story of Buzz Lightyear who the “Toy Story” character is based on.)

But this hero is someone else. So this movie is really a blank slate as storytelling goes.


A Prequel or Sequel?
Yes, you’ve got immediate brand recognition. But as a ‘prequel’ of sorts, the writers are not limited by the audience’s knowledge of a character’s future (something like what J.J. Abrams did by creating “Star Trek’s” Kelvin timeline).

But whether a movie is a prequel or sequel, there should always be a good reason to excite the audience beyond familiarity.

And a good movie trailer is usually the way to do that.

The Matrix Resurrections
I enjoyed “The Matrix” trilogy, but you can’t really say the last one ended on an especially happy note. Not that movies must always have a happy ending, but I usually appreciate it when they do. And if you’re committing your time to multiple sequels, I feel it really stinks if the ending is a bummer.

Almost 18 years have passed, and now they’re making a fourth and seemingly rewriting history.

I did know that “The Matrix Resurrections” is due in December, and I was eager to catch the first trailer. It did not disappoint, though it didn’t offer anything dramatically new.

I think the key draw is bringing Neo and Trinity back together. The trailer teases the opportunity to rewrite their tragic story. Or perhaps, tell it again, but differently.

How to Bend the Past to Fit with the Present
The idea of rewriting history in established movie storylines is definitely in vogue now. Both the MCU and DC’s “The Flash” are exploring the ‘multiverse.’ As a storytelling device, you can redo a story infinitely in different, but parallel universes, as the Disney+ series “What If?” demonstrates.

Or we can use the multiverse as a unifying theme to incorporate every iteration of a movie franchise ever made with different actors. Then you can cement it all into one accepted multiverse movie canon.


Upcoming examples are Michael Keaton’s Batman from 1989 and 1992 showing up in next year’s “The Flash” and Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spider-Man reportedly coexisting with Tom Holland in the upcoming “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Really clever.

Plus, it taps into our sense of nostalgia for these earlier movie franchises. I think “Lightyear” and “The Matrix Resurrections” also appeal to the same feeling.

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and I think it’s plenty enough to get you into a movie theater (or in front of your TV and pay channel).

Back to the Future
If this all this sounds like Hollywood is focused on reaching way back to help jump start its future, it sure seems that way.

  • “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” in a few weeks
  • “Top Gun: Maverick” in 2022
  • The next Indiana Jones movie in 2023

And if the writers also want to stretch reality and break a few laws of this universe to bring a few iconic movie heroes back into the fold, I’m game.

First give me a good trailer with characters I want to root for. Then surprise me with a new multiverse twist.

That’s a recipe for success.

What The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Star Trek: Discovery Have in Common

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

As both media properties switch distribution platforms, it’s clear that change is coming. Properly communicating some of those details ahead of schedule is always critical. Otherwise, you’ve got worried fans writing posts like this…

I just watched “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” trailer online. It’s based on the cartoon TV series about five young ninja warriors and their sensei who battle evil forces.

LEGO movies are seemingly starting to churn out faster than your kid can build a 500-block LEGO fortress. First there was “The LEGO Movie,” which I thought was a super fun family flick. Now, “The LEGO Batman Movie” has just been released to solid reviews, and “Ninjago” comes to theaters in September.

If you like these LEGO movies, (or your kids do) this should all be great news, right? My six-year-old son loves to watch the Ninjago TV series, and I can’t even imagine how excited he’ll get when I reveal there’s a movie version coming out.

But I’m not sure I’m going to tell him.
Well not yet.

And why not?
Well, I’ve identified a little problem in the trailer…

This is Not My Son’s Ninjago Universe
The voices of the animated characters in the movie are voiced by different actors than in the series.

While this might appear to be a subtle change, I’m not so sure I like it.
Plus, the animation design aligns a closer to the LEGO movie universe. Again, not in huge ways, but it’s noticeable.

Now, it’s not the first time a TV series has been changed or ‘upgraded’ as it morphs into a big-time movie. Often there’s a bunch of years between the two… So change is inevitable. But we’re talking about a current cartoon series about to release its seventh season.
(“Hands of Time”)

Shouldn’t the Ninjago transition to movies be a little more seamless?
(And speaking of the seventh season, my boy is extremely eager to know when it’s being released. Any ideas out there?)

Now I get that the producers of the LEGO movies want to create a product that’s distinct from and ‘better’ than its TV counterparts. (Otherwise, why would you choose to spend some serious money to schlep your family to the cinemaplex when you can stream it all for ‘free’ on your iPad.
(With a Netflix subscription)

I get why you’d sign up some big time talent like Jackie Chan to play Sensei Wu to help the marketing team sell more tickets.

“Jackie Chan?! COOL! Let’s go….”

But they’ve messed with my son’s Ninjago universe.

This is ‘another’ Ninjago.
…An alternate reality Ninjago.
…A ‘Kelvin’ Ninjago.

The Needs of the Many
Truthfully, I’m not sure that my son will really care about any of this.
But obviously I do…

Yeah… I think this actually may be more about me.
I‘m not a big fan of gratuitously messing with a formula that already works…

Which is why I’m still concerned with what’s happening with the new “Star Trek: Discovery” series.

Even from the distance as a “once and always Trekie,” I acknowledge that the Star Trek formula needs to continue to evolve as the original blueprints eventually ran out of steam with “Star Trek: Enterprise.”

Yes, the new movie series took some big-time chances to mix things up a bit. But J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise in a fresh way with its “Kelvin’ alternate timeline, while also respecting the original ‘Prime’ timeline.

“Discovery” is apparently not connected to the new movies in any way.
It reportedly takes place in the pre-Kirk ‘Prime’ timeline.
(Ten years before the original five-year mission.)

Have you got that?
…Because I don’t.

The timeline split off on the day of Kirk’s birth.

So this assumes the original timeline still exists somewhere… intact.

Hailing Frequencies Are Open
The problem is I still have no sense or feeling about this new Trek.
And it’s launching in May.

Sure there’s casting announcements and some vague plot elements.
(Young Sarek will be a part of the story.)

But the whole kit and kaboodle still feels like a black hole to me.
The marketing machine has given us almost nothing to get us excited about.

What I need is a decent trailer to settle me down a bit…
(And something more than concept animation…)

Maybe a few photos with the actors in uniform. Something!
Come on guys!

I know all about “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” and that’s not coming out until September!

Settle Down, Barrett
It seems clear “Star Trek: Discovery” is going to be somewhat ‘disruptive.’
But I’m a little worried, because it continues to be so quiet.
Like something’s wrong.

The new “In Production” teaser makes me feel slightly better…

But it still doesn’t give much up.
Except a promise to maintain the tradition…

Birthday Wish
Change is inevitable… Whether we’re talking about animated Spinjitzu masters moving to the big screen or some version of the two Federation universes moving back to the small screen.

As a father of a kid and as a kid at heart, all I ask is to simply respect the ‘elemental powers’ that have made both franchises successful.

From there you can’t go wrong…
And your fans will continue to feel like it’s their birthday every time they tune in…

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