Theater owners revisit guidelines for movie trailers


Shorter movie trailers might be coming soon to a theater near you -- or not.

A dust-up between the major Hollywood studios and theater owners over the length and timing of movie trailers appears to be quieting down, at least for now.

The board of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners met Monday to consider some of the objections studios have raised to proposed guidelines the trade group recently crafted calling for shortening movie trailers from 2 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes.


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Theater owners maintain that current trailers are too long and that some are ineffective because they run too far in advance of when the movies they are teasing are scheduled to debut.

In the proposed guidelines recently circulated to the six major studios, the theater owners group also proposed a four-month limit on how far out studios could show a trailer before the film it touts debuts. Some trailers come out as early as six months ahead of the theatrical release.

However, several studios have balked at the notion that a theater trade association would set guidelines on how they promote their movies. Studios particularly objected to the four-month limit on when trailers could be shown.

Tensions between theater owners and studios are already rising over so-called pay for play for movie trailers. Some studio executives have privately grumbled about the fact that major theater chains are charging them to play trailers.The nation’s largest cinema chain, Regal Entertainment Group, recently cut the number of trailers that studios can run with their own movies for free from two to one.

Mindful of those concerns, the theater owners board asked a committee on Monday to draft revised guidelines aimed at addressing some of the objections, including allowing some exceptions to the four-month limit. Whether studios will still agree to shorter trailers remains unclear.
“The point here is to maximize and make more efficient use of the limited time and space movie theaters have to market movies,’’ said one theater industry executive.


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