The Musical Deception of Movie Trailers
  • THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2013

  • Posted by: Stephen Cardone

Isn't it just the worst when a film trailer has everybody so hyped to see the movie and then it turns out to be seriously disappointing? Far too often, that's exactly how the film industry works these days: Make an amazing trailer that generates a ton of buzz, get everyone to the will call, and then cash out before spectators start catching on that it's crap. The movies are becoming more and more about branding and image rather than making something that's somewhat watchable. It's a maddening procedure that keeps repeating itself because people are having a harder and harder time determining what's supposed to be good. Predictably, as indie and alternative music has become more and more attractive to the general public, it has grown to play a chief role in the branding of movie trailers. Here are five trailers containing great tunes that got us really excited for movies that turned out to flop.

The Movie: Where The Wild Things Are
The Song: "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire
The Verdict: This is one of the first moments, where following a viewing of the trailer, people stopped what they were doing, and immediately searched for "Where The Wild Things Are trailer song." In fact, it is entirely possible that this movie is more famous for the trailer than the *ahem* expanded version that made it into theaters. The song was instrumental in creating the collective interest in the movie, and it was mutually beneficial to Arcade Fire. The publicity they received as a result helped catapult sales and reception for the eventual release of The Suburbs. Who do you think won out here? Nobody seems to remember anything about the movie, besides the fact that it was based on Maurice Sendak's famous children's book. Arcade Fire won a Grammy for best album. I fell asleep in the theater. I rest my case.



The Movie: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
The Song: "Very Loud" by Shout Out Louds
The Verdict: This belongs to a contingency of movies made in the late 2000s that were essentially romantic comedies made specifically for hipsters. Everything from the soundtrack, to the cutesy movie poster, pointed towards the fact that this movie was aimed at the "young and educated in the arts" demographic that seems to be growing into a larger target for advertisers these days. In a sense, Shout Out Louds were the perfect candidate for a movie such as this with their professionally crafted pop perfection. Unfortunately, they were sorely misused. Point blank, this movie is every awkward middle schoolboy's dream, probably not what Shout Out Louds had in mind when they made this amazing song.



The Movie: Warm Bodies
The Song: "October" by Broken Bells
The Verdict: Another hipster romantic comedy with an indie song in the trailer. I haven't seen this movie yet because #1 I'm not in the seventh grade anymore and #2 it's a "zombie romance", which now seems to be replacing the vampire as the "cool and weird" teen cultural staple. It's also one of those movies where you know exactly how it will end before you even see it. This shit was practically designed as a first date movie for artsy hometown kids who have not yet discovered the wonders of high school. Broken Bells deserves better than this. Snarksnarksnark.



The Movie: The Lorax
The Song: "Light and Day" by The Polyphonic Spree
The Verdict: Damn, is it possible to imagine something more uplifting than this: The Polyphonic Spree's epic anthem of joy and happiness in a trailer for an animated adaptation for Dr. Seuss' famous book The Lorax? Too bad the movie was panned by critics for bastardizing the original material and was accused of "indoctrinating children" by some commentators. Not exactly the warm and fuzzy feeling people were hoping for, to say the least.

Watch The Polyphonic Spree Live at Hype Hotel




The Movie: Watchmen
The Song: "The End is the Beginning" by Smashing Pumpkins
The Verdict: This trailer was the moment where people stopped laughing off the ridiculous look of the Watchmen movie, started to take it seriously, and nerds everywhere collectively gasped for air. It looked beautiful, it sounded beautiful, and it was gloriously ambiguous. Then, Watchmen mania took over. The graphic novel started flying of shelves at Barnes and Noble and Entertainment Weekly wondered if there was anyone who wasn't going to see the movie. On opening night, millions of people lost over two hours of their lives that they can never get back, all thanks to a Smashing Pumpkins song that was perfectly suited for the imagery of the movie. Little did anyone know the song was never to appear in the film, not even once. All the while, die hard fans complained over a changed ending. Thanks again, Zack Snyder.

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