A trailer is a short film used to promote a movie. It is usually shown prior to a feature film in a theater or cinema. Trailers can also be made for television, video games, or theatrical events/concerts. Most trailers are accompanied by music or other audio, and many of them include sound effects and dialogue. Some modern trailers are presented in Dolby Digital or other multichannel sound formats.

Most trailers are designed to give the audience a glimpse of what to expect from the movie. The trailer is a key aspect of the marketing campaign for the film, and is often released several months before its release date. This allows the film to build up a buzz and increase its chance of success at the box office.

In addition to containing preview footage, the trailer often includes a cast rundown and the studio production logos. The cast rundown is a list of the major actors and actresses appearing in the movie. This is often the same cast listing that appears on posters and print publicity materials. The trailer’s closing credits typically contain a list of the principal crew members.

Movie studios rely heavily on trailers to draw in audiences. As a result, they put considerable time and effort into their creation. Some trailers are even edited with special effects in order to create a sense of action or suspense. These effects can include a sudden strobe or fast edit that creates the illusion of movement and action.

As the film industry has evolved, trailers have become an increasingly important part of a movie’s marketing campaign. The Internet has opened up new avenues for promotion, including trailer countdowns and online teasers. Additionally, YouTube has become the sandbox for editors who can play with trailers and create their own unique versions of them.

When it comes to creating a great trailer, sometimes less is more. American Sniper, for example, focuses on one of the film’s biggest set pieces and teases the audience with jaw-dropping camera movements. The editing is sharp and in-sync with the beat, and the use of Queen’s iconic song makes for a goosebump-inducing trailer.

Other times a more complex trailer can work wonders. The first four minutes of The Lion King, for instance, essentially show the film’s opening sequence – and they do it to perfection. It introduces all of the main characters and lays down the film’s central themes of family, life, and tradition. It’s a testament to the power of this film that it still works so well today.

More recently, films like Blood Simple and Evil Dead have challenged the traditional trailer model by presenting potential viewers with a glimpse of what they will see in the finished movie. These films invert the typical trailer mission, which is to present an artfully-presented collage of what the movie will look like. This inversion has been heavily influential on contemporary filmmakers.