You aren't the only one who's sick of sitting through a lengthy display of movie trailers before a film: theater owners are now pushing studios to make trailers shorter too. According to Deadline, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) released a new set of voluntary marketing guidelines today that recommend trailers run no longer than two minutes — 30 seconds shorter than what most currently run. Studios will likely be unhappy with the recommendation though, as it could significantly cut into one of their major marketing streams.
The guidelines apply to films released from October 1st onward
The new guidelines also hope to stop viewers from pulling out their phones in the theater. Deadline reports that NATO's new guidelines recommend against prompting viewers to respond to a trailer by visiting a website or entering some type of code. The guidelines go into effect for all movies advertised for a release on October 1st or later. You may not start seeing those films' trailers until closer to their premiere though, as NATO now wants to see in-theater marketing limited to within 120 days of a movie's release, instead of 150 as it has been.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the guidelines come after months of discussion between NATO and film studios. Theater owners are apparently unhappy with the length of trailers — with many reportedly believing that they reveal too much of the film — and with the number of trailers shown before each picture — an issue that's drawn complaints from viewers. While shorter trailers could help to mitigate those problems, it could also allow theaters to run more trailers and potentially bring in more advertising revenue, rather than using the opportunity to please viewers.
The guidelines are voluntary though, and it's unclear how much impact they'll immediately have. With its large size, NATO could certainly pressure studios into following some of the recommendations, though — the question is whether it will use its weight and risk a clash with studios to do so, or just hope that the studios listen.