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A group of movie theater owners thinks so, and wants studios to follow a new set of what they deem "voluntary guidelines" that dictate how long promotional clips should be, and how long before a film's release those clips can run.
Among the guidelines devised by the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO, for short) is the stipulation that movie trailers be no longer than two minutes -- 30 seconds shorter than what is currently the norm. Also on NATO's new list is a rule that trailers cannot run for films more than five months from release, and promotional materials such as posters cannot be displayed in theaters more than four months from a film's release.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the guidelines were devised "in an effort to give exhibitors more control over how Hollywood movies are marketed inside of their cinemas. Theater owners, who feel the brunt of complaints from the public, believe trailers are often too long and can give away too much of the plot."
THR calculates that the majority of American movie theaters play seven or eight trailers before every film, in addition to running advertisements, resulting in lag times of around 20 minutes from a film's purported start time to when the movie actually begins to play. But the magazine also notes that studios have long disputed NATO's claims that trailers are too long, adding that studios rely on those clips for the majority of their marketing. And though they are deemed voluntary, some studios worry that theaters simply won't run their films if they disobey the new guidelines.
The new guidelines -- which also include two annual exemptions per new rule per studio -- go into effect for films opening on or after October 1. We'll see just how many studios comply.