Theater owners want shorter, later movie trailers

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By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Ever sat through a lengthy movie trailer and felt you now had no need to see the movie it advertises? Or watched a trailer and felt eager to see the promised film, only to learn it won't be out for another year?

You're not the only one to notice. The National Association of Theatre Owners, a trade organization representing more than 31,000 movie screens, wants future trailers to be shorter and to come out closer to the release date of the film they're advertising.

The group issued new guidelines Monday urging trailers to be limited to two minutes and not to be released more than 150 days prior to a film's release date. 

The guidelines are voluntary, and would apply to films released in the U.S. and Canada on or before Oct. 1. 

"Two exemptions per distributor per year will be allowed for both trailer length and marketing lead time," the statement read. "These guidelines will evolve in response to technological innovations, marketing and advertising trends, competition in the marketplace, and consumer demands."

Previous voluntary guidelines set trailer length at two and a half minutes, with one yearly exception.

The 2013 Superman reboot "Man of Steel" would've broken both parts of the guidelines. The first trailer for the June 2013 release came out in December 2012 and was three minutes long.

But the trailer for "The Great Gatsby" would've been even more egregious under the new guidelines. The first trailer for the Leonardo DiCaprio film came out in May 2012, the film hit theaters in May 2013 — though it was originally scheduled for Christmas 2012 — and pushed two and a half minutes.

And Disney's much-hyped "Maleficent," starring Angelina Jolie as the "Sleeping Beauty" villain, would have qualified on length (its first trailer, which includes Jolie's daughter Vivienne, is just a minute and a half long), but not on release date. It came out in mid-November, more than half a year before its planned May 30 release.