It was after watching the last trailer for Prometheus that I came to the opinion that Hollywood is ruining my movie-going experience. The trailer itself was jaw-dropping, to be sure, but it was something else, too: a total spoiler. I feel like I now know the film’s entire plot. Not only that, but I’ve seen almost all the cool stuff I was looking forward to seeing on the big screen. I’ll still see the movie, but it won’t be with the same degree of wide-eyed wonder, and that’s all due to the trailer. I wasn’t ready to go all the way, Hollywood.
It’s not just the trailers, either. There are “exclusive” set pics plastered across every digital surface of the Internet, along with quotes, quotes and more quotes from everyone involved in the product, from actors and directors to the studio’s scruffy push-broom toting night janitor. I’m the recipient of seedy solicitations of peepshow sneak peeks like some kind of drunk rube tourist lost in a redlight district. It’s not just Prometheus, either: It’s every big “event” movie.
Spoiler alert: You can’t escape the spoilers.
Here’s the thing, Hollywood: I’m not against movie trailers. In fact, I love them. I get to the movie theater extra early so I can find a nice quiet corner away from the cell-phone chatterboxes and talk-at-the-screen dufuses and watch the trailers in peace. I love the build-up of excitement waiting for a big movie as much as anyone. It’s like counting down the days to Christmas. Unfortunately, watching trailers these days is the equivalent of passing your gifts through an X-Ray machine before you open them. (Surprise! You’ve got socks again!)
I don’t know when the studios decided to start making trailers the Cliff Notes version of the movies, but I am pretty sure that we share at least some part of the blame. We can’t wait for anything anymore. We want it now; yesterday if at all possible. Collectively, we’ve got the patience of a seagull on espresso. We’ve got antsies in our pantsies and we wants to dancies. Hollywood knows it has to grab our dwindling attention spans and do it quick. Giving us as much of the movie as possible in a minute is a gamble they’re willing to take.
Each of us has to decide where the balance lies between needing to know everything about a film and wanting to experience the unfamiliar as part of the movie-going process, and then we need to let Hollywood know. As for me, I’m done with spoilers. I’m willing to wait.