A dissection of movie trailers

Feb 20, 2013

Shan Carter, Amanda Cox, and Mike Bostock for The New York Times, analyzed movie trailers for five best picture nominees. The horizontal axis represents time elapsed during a trailer, and the vertical axis represents when that clip occurred during the movie. The above is for Silver Linings Playbook:

“Silver Linings Playbook” follows the standard model for trailers, according to Bill Woolery, a trailer specialist in Los Angeles who once worked on trailers for movies like “The Usual Suspects” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” While introducing the movie’s story and its characters, the trailer largely follows the order of the film itself.

Because the order of the trailer is pretty much the order of the movie, you see a straight line with a downward slope most of the way. On the other hand, the Lincoln trailer jumps around showing a zig-zag pattern.

In addition to the charts, the healthy dose of annotation provides interesting tidbits on the reasoning behind pace and scene choice.

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