Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2008 by Peter Sciretta
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has decided to lift their long-running ban of movie trailers during the Academy Award telecast. But there is a catch: Each movie studio will be allowed to run just one spot (30 or 60 seconds), and that spot must be an Oscar exclusive. Sounds like a good plan to boost ratings.
I think everyone will agree that the Oscars has become increasingly artsy/indie over the last two decades (hey, remember when Raiders of the Lost Ark won 4 Academy Awards?), which probably put off a lot of mainstream filmgoers. The ratings have been in decline. I’m not a sports fan, yet I watch the Superbowl each and every year just to see the new movie trailers and sometimes funny television commercials. Making the show a destination for event-level trailer premieres seems like a great idea. But don’t expect the commercial breaks to be loaded with film trailers as the Academy has limited only one film ad per commercial break.
I think everyone is expecting the studios to promote their upcoming big tentpole films like Angels & Demons, Terminator: Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe and others. But who is to say they won’t choose Award-focused films in an attempt to capture the largely college educated upper-middle class viewers that the Oscars normally attract. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Film Advertising has been banned since the first Oscar telecast in 1953 to avoid accusations that studio money influenced the outcome of the awards. To play things safe, the Academy won’t allow any films that are up for an award, or even sequels or prequels to films in contention. Only films that open in the last week of April and beyond will be allowed.