Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Red Letter Media distills the formula for blockbuster trailers

Blockbusters have rarely been as satisfying as they have in recent years, at least not for a few decades. And part of the anticipation of these mega films is built by the movie trailers that precede them. These trailers have become their own event, with special dates set aside for when they will premiere, or even a leak of one because people are so eager to get their hands on it. But what is it that gets so many people so jazzed about the next big tentpole film? And is it possible that a formula has crept into the art of the movie trailer that all blockbusters follow to varying degrees?

These are the questions that Red Letter Media seeks to answer with its latest video, “All Trailers Are The Same!!!” The group that so expertly picked apart the Star Wars prequels now turns its eyes towards the motifs that seem to populate all blockbuster trailers. There are recurring shots, uses of music and silence, quippy one liners, and certain dramatic tropes that are established in the many trailers they’ve culled to put into this edit. Why does the sudden drop of sound and then blast of action always seem dramatic in even the most beloved of trailers when it’s been used so often? And will there ever be an end to the Hans Zimmer (or maybe Mike Zarin)-influenced “BWAAAAMS?” These are important questions.

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