After reading Huw Roberts’ review of Brokeback to the Future, strange thoughts of the film’s purpose and appeal lingered in my mind. Being that the short trailer itself represented an extension of the preverbal “life of “ the films beyond their theatrical release I became fascinated by the possibilities such experimental spoofs have to offer. It comes as no surprise that one of the briefs in response to Huw’s review admits that an imagined feature-length version of Brokeback to the Future would be an interesting watch.
The trailer toys with genre expectations and form. It is perfectly reasonable to consider that if the trailer were designed as such when Back to the Future originally came out that the appeal of the film would not be half as broad. It might even still be the same film. But expectations are all about getting what you want out of a film.
In an industry where pilots and the filming of individual scenes determine whether or not a production continues, it seems necessary to consider the trailer (even as spoof) a legitimate means for attracting theatrical consumers. Today’s marketing is highly targeted to consumers in a particular niche. With tangible (i.e. theater, DVD) and intangible (i.e. YouTube) venues for showcasing films it is increasingly possible and affordable for successful projects to spawn newer projects which are in some way related. Supporting this notion buys into the methodology of successful television series which stem new seasons, characters, and even more challenging situations for the show’s protagonist.
In the film Tropic Thunder it seems there is this kind of curious experimentation with spoof trailers. Without explicitly mentioning that the preview trailers at the beginning of the film are indeed a part of the film itself, viewers are at first blindly fascinated with the prospect of seeing some of these preposterous trailers on the big screen as features. The titles include anything ranging from Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown to The Fatties: Fart 2. What’s most noteworthy is that some of these so-called "faux-trailers" are alluded to in the movie itself as the film portrays the lives of its characters who happen to be actors in these movies.
Don’t be surprised if this kind of ahead-of-time, conglomerate style of marketing for future projects becomes more common. It seems that it is increasingly impossible to sell an individual product without selling manifestations of the film’s inside jokes for future projects.