Unhooking movie trailers

Jesse Eisenberg in the trailer for “Now You See Me.”
Summit Entertainment
Jesse Eisenberg in the trailer for “Now You See Me.”

A controversy is brewing in movieland, and this time it has nothing to do with historical accuracy or too much violence. Partisans are up in arms not over the content of the next blockbuster, but over the length of the trailer promoting it.

According to a recent story in the Hollywood Reporter, the National Association of Theater Owners is complaining that trailers are too long and give away too much detail, and it’s pushing the industry to shorten the maximum length of previews to two minutes — 30 seconds less than the current standard. The studios, for their part, are bristling at the suggestion that their trailers — a critical marketing tool — need to be trimmed.

Happily, neither side has the authority to impose its will on the other. When it comes to the Big Screen, who would want to? Like virtually everything else about the movies, the Great Trailer Debate inspires passionate views on all sides. Some moviegoers find trailers an irritant they would just as soon be done with; others love previews and enjoy seeing six or seven before the main feature begins. Let the market decide: An industry that caters to every taste from musical Westerns to bro comedies can surely find ways to satisfy consumers who dote on trailers, without alienating those who disdain them.