Scene it Before

Scene It Before

Research from the School of Art, Media and American Studies, discovers many fans are fed up with trailers that give away too much of a movie’s plot line.

Despite decades of industry research that indicates audiences are more likely to see a film the more they know about it in advance, more recent research indicates otherwise. Researchers, led by Dr Keith M. Johnston, found that many people are disappointed with a film after seeing the trailer.  Viewers are also regularly frustrated as a result of perceived spoilers, narrative reveals, deception and the revelation of plot outcomes.


Additionally, trailers create individual expectations that feature films are unable to deliver and are often considered better than the full film.

The key message to trailer producers is this: Audiences want to be excited and teased about forthcoming films, to be emotionally engaged without feeling pummelled by excessive narrative revelation.

The findings are part of an ongoing research project that explores audience attitudes and reactions to film trailers. 

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The Expert

Keith M Johnston

Senior Lecturer in Film and Television
School of Art, Media and American Studies

My current research focuses on film marketing, media technologies, film and television aesthetics, and genre.