05/31/2012 06:24 EDT | Updated 07/31/2012 05:12 EDT

5 movie trailers that raise the bar

In our current era of online viral sensations, movie trailers have become an influential pop culture fixture. Eagerly awaited and immediately dissected by fans, they become some of the top-viewed videos online, influence how films are made and are even celebrated at their own awards ceremony tonight: the Golden Trailers.

CBC News offers up five examples that showcase top trends in trailer movie-making today. Which one do you think works best?


A key reason Christopher Nolan's trippy, mind-bending 2010 thriller continues to resonate is because of the distinctive sound design of its trailer, which was set to the ominous, unnerving and hair-raising musical work Mind Heist, whichfeatures a now-ubiquitous repeating horn blaring. Newer films, like the upcoming James Bond instalment Skyfall, follow in its moody footsteps.

The Social Network

Though the notion of a movie about Facebook was mocked early on, the trailer for David Fincher's The Social Network helped silence the criticism and whet the audience's appetite by being smart in how it teased the story and, ultimately, conveying the tone of the film without giving one single scene away.

The Five-Year Engagement

Firms tasked with making trailers typically work independently of the film's creative team and simply receive a glut of rough-cut footage early in the production process. Whether intentionally or not, the resulting trailers sometimes focus heavily on scenes and lines that are ultimately left on the cutting room floor, or are presented differently in the theatrical release. Trailers forThe Five-Year Engagement, The Dictator and Men in Black 3 are all recent examples.


For some blockbusters, total bombardment is the trailer strategy. Ridley Scott’s upcoming Alien prequel, Prometheus, for instance, not only has standard trailers, but also slick "in-world" mini-features, including a mock android advertisement starring Michael Fassbender and a fake TED conference speech set in the future. This type of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink type offensive was also seen with The Avengers, which offered multipletrailers as well as character-specific features as the premiere approached.

The Great Gatsby

With its lush, evocative look and key use of music, the trailer for the anticipated epic The Great Gatsby feels like a Baz Luhrmann film through and through. There's a reason for that: a host of trailer-making firms bid for the gig and the chosen team worked alongside the distinctive director as he shot the movie. This exclusive access to the creative process results in a trailer that matches Luhrmann's style perfectly.