As people whose jobs often involve the watching, contemplation of, and even occasional toleration of a truly unhealthy number of movie trailers, we here at The A.V. Club are well-attuned to developing trends in the world of movie marketing. Few have been more ubiquitous in recent years, though, than the “Cover of a pop song played at a different tempo from the original” trope, a setup that has become goddamn inescapable over the last decade or so, from Avengers movies to Steven Spielberg blockbusters to the fucking Tomb Raider movie of all things. Keeping Hollywood’s entire supply of sad, tinkly piano players employed year in and year out, it’s a cheap way to impart a mixture of recognition and melancholy to a promo for a film that’s otherwise pure popcorn, and, of course, it’s all Mark Zuckerberg’s fault.
Well, okay: Only indirectly, with a new New Yorker piece this week tracking the trend backwards, and ultimately laying it at the feet of David Fincher’s Zuckerberg biopic The Social Network. More specifically, on the film’s trailer, put together by teaser vet Mark Woollen (whose other credits include the Coens’ A Serious Man, a firm candidate for one of the greatest trailers of all time), and featuring a haunting cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” performed by Belgian girls’ choir Scala and Kolacny Brothers. Watching the trailer in 2019, it’s depressingly mesmerizing: The song really is a perfect fit for the lonely, anxious tone of Fincher’s film, while in the background, you can already hear a million less talented editors salivating at the chance to rip it off.
Now, can we please also figure out who first decided that every trailer now has to start with a three-second teaser of everything that happens in the trailer? Justice must be served!