A trailer is a type of vehicle designed to be pulled by a car, truck or other traction engine for the purpose of hauling freight or cargo. There are a variety of different trailer types, including recreational, flatbed and utility trailers. Trailers are also used in the transport of oversized loads such as oil rig modules, bridge sections and buildings. A trailer is usually equipped with a fifth wheel coupling or other towing device, and it may be powered by diesel or electrically.
A film trailer is a short promotional clip or montage that contains clips from a feature film, movie or documentary. Often, the trailer will highlight certain aspects of the movie that are considered to be its strongest elements. For example, a trailer for a sci-fi film might feature scenes from a space ship landing or a dramatic close-up of the lead character’s face. The trailer may contain a voice-over that sets the tone and provides context for the film’s storyline.
Historically, movie studios have produced trailers to advertise their films prior to their theatrical release. The earliest trailers were created in 1913 when Nils Granlund, the advertising manager for Marcus Loew theaters, spliced together rehearsal footage of the Broadway play The Pleasure Seekers into a mini promotional montage that trailed after movies at his theaters. Later, Herman Robbins established the National Screen Service, a company that theaters and studios could use to create trailers and other film promotion material.
In addition to promoting upcoming feature films, trailers have also been used to promote television shows, video games, books and theatrical events/concerts. There are dozens of companies that specialize in the creation of film trailers, and they work from rushes or dailies while the film itself is being edited at the studio. This has occasionally resulted in the inclusion of footage that is not in the final film, or the editing of shots to make them more interesting.
The emergence of the Internet as a major advertising and distribution platform for movies has made the creation and sharing of movie trailers easier than ever. YouTube has become a new sandbox for editors, who can create interesting recuts of existing trailers and even produce whole new ones from scratch. This has led to some fascinating examples of reworkings of classic film trailers, such as turning Mary Poppins into a horror movie or The Shining into a feel-good comedy.
While the creation of a film trailer is a complex process, it has become a key element in the marketing and promotion of most contemporary feature films. The success of a film’s box office performance is usually determined by the popularity and critical acclaim of its trailer, as well as the number and frequency with which it is viewed online and on television. Trailers are sometimes criticized for giving a misleading representation of the movie they are promoting; for example, some film trailers have mistakenly given the impression that a celebrity who has a small part in a film is one of its main stars.