This afternoon we became excited because we heard some rumblings about a trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. How exciting, we thought to ourselves. Might we get a peak at Katniss and Peeta's victory tour? At new characters Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason? At the arena for the Quarter Quell? Then a teaser for a teaser broke our hearts.
The thing, you see, that various entertainment outlets giddily reported was not really a new look at Catching Fire. It was a teaser for a teaser as Entertainment Weekly put it. So what does that mean? Well, other than being totally infuriating, it means that you get under ten seconds of footage which tells you something you already knew. (It tells you that Katniss and Peeta won the last Hunger Games. If that's a spoiler, you weren't going to watch the first movie anyway.) It then tells you to watch the MTV Movie Awards for a "teaser trailer first look." You can see for yourself here.
We are big Hunger Games fans over here at the Atlantic Wire, but this is just darn tortuous and yet more evidence of the frustrating way studios are rolling out trailers for their films. Last week brought us the insufferable launch of footage from The Wolverine. First we got a teaser on Vine that was labeled a "tweaser"—God help us—then we got 20 seconds worth of footage, then, finally, we got not one but two full trailers. This needs to stop, but of course it won't. This is movie marketing for a viral age, and these glimpses of highly anticipated films accomplish exactly what the studios intend. The teasers, as short as they might be, create a buzz, spawn blog posts, and get publicity for the film. Just look at the spike in discussion about The Wolverine last week:
Mini-trailers for that film, in fact, probably rolled out too quickly, seeing how buzz has subsided.
There are ways to use the power of the Internet in movie marketing that don't make us want to rip all of our hair out. The fake college website that Pixar created for their Monsters University is one example. It makes us want to see the film, but it's also creative, clever, and let's face it, just darn adorable. Not so adorable but perhaps equally as cool, is the Pan Pacific Defense Corps site advertising Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. Catching Fire is clearly going to attempt a similar strategy in addition to teasing us with teases for teaser since they did so for the first film. For this second go-around The website "The Hunger Games Explorer" is set to launch and character portraits can be found at the "Capitol Couture" blog. It's all in good fun, but it still doesn't excuse the scourge that is the teaser for the teaser.
Why do we have such venom for this particular brand of advertisement? Well, not only is it annoying, we find it actually insulting. As movie fans we choose to buy into the hype when it comes to big blockbusters. Waiting for films is annoying, and trailers—even if they don't represent the movie 100 percent accurately—can tide us over, and sometimes delight us with more than we were expecting. With the perpetuation of these teasers for teasers for trailers we are so often teased and let down we feel betrayed. Studios are preying on our fandom. They are the Lucy to our Charlie Brown: holding out the football for us to kick and then swiping it away at the last moment.
We will most certainly tune in to see what the MTV Movie Awards have to offer by way of Hunger Games footage. But we'll go begrudgingly, and we aren't expecting much. Just look what the last Hunger Games movie gave us at the VMAs.