Behind the Scenes of Movie Previews: The Art of Teasing Audiences

4 min

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When you settle into your cinema seat, popcorn in hand, and the lights dim, the anticipation builds. That moment before the main feature film starts, filled with the thrill of upcoming movie sneak peeks, is a cherished part of the theater-going experience. But how long does this pre-show reel typically last? This article unravels the mystery behind how long are movie previews.

The Enigma of Movie Previews

Before we delve into the duration, let’s first understand what movie previews are. Also known as trailers, they are brief promotional clips showcased before the main feature film. These previews offer glimpses into upcoming movies, introducing characters, showcasing exciting scenes, and setting the tone of the film. They serve a dual purpose – to generate anticipation among the audience and as a marketing tool for the studios.

Movie Previews: A Walkthrough

Let’s now delve into the duration of the movie previews. It’s important to note that a movie’s runtime does not include these previews. The advertised runtime usually refers to the duration of the main feature film itself. Now, you might ask, how long are movie previews? On average, they typically run for about one and a half to two and a half minutes. This time frame is meticulously crafted to captivate the audience’s attention and generate interest in the upcoming films.

The Significance of Movie Previews

Movie previews are a significant part of the cinematic experience. They serve multiple purposes that benefit both viewers and theaters. By offering a peek into the diverse range of upcoming films, previews help viewers make informed choices about the movies they wish to watch, thereby shaping their cinematic choices. Additionally, these trailers also generate additional revenue for theaters, as they create a window for increased concession sales during the preview screenings.

Unraveling the Movie Preview Duration

The duration of movie previews can vary between theaters, and even within theaters of the same company. While some theaters state an average of 20 minutes of pre-show material, the actual duration can range from 12 to 22 minutes or even more during peak movie seasons. Hence, determining the exact start time of a movie becomes challenging.

Calculating Movie End Time

To determine when your movie will end, consider the following formula:

  1. Take the movie’s start time
  2. Add approximately 20 minutes for previews
  3. Add the full runtime of the film

For instance, if your movie starts at 9:00 pm and has a 120-minute runtime, it will play from 9:20 pm (the opening frame after previews) until 11:20 pm (the final frame of the ending credits).

Variability in Previews and Ending Credits

The length of a movie trailer and ending credits can differ depending on multiple factors. Movies with elaborate stunts, graphics, and sound editing tend to have longer ending credits, often exceeding 10 minutes. Conversely, films with simpler production and smaller casts may have shorter ending credits, often lasting 5 minutes or less.

The Role of Movie Previews: Excitement, Advertising, and Planning

Beyond being a source of excitement and anticipation for moviegoers, movie previews play a crucial role in the film industry’s marketing efforts. Trailers offer the first glimpse into a film’s content, acting as a powerful advertising tool to attract audiences. On average, 15 to 20 minutes are allocated for trailers before the main feature film begins.

How Long are Movie Previews?

When you head to the theater to catch a movie, one of the highlights of the experience is undoubtedly watching the previews. These tantalizing glimpses into upcoming films can spark excitement and help you decide which movies to add to your must-watch list. But have you ever wondered how long are movie previews typically? These captivating trailers strike a balance between grabbing the viewers’ attention and offering a tantalizing taste of what’s to come.

A Brief Glimpse into the World of Movie Previews

Movie previews are an integral part of the cinematic experience, captivating audiences and shaping their movie choices. With a typical duration of around one and a half to two and a half minutes, these trailers provide a thrilling glimpse into the world of cinema.


In conclusion, we have unraveled some intriguing aspects of the movie theater experience. We now understand that movie runtimes do not include previews, allowing us to plan our movie outings more effectively. These captivating previews, typically lasting one and a half to two and a half minutes, serve as both entertainment and advertising tools. They generate excitement, entice viewers, and boost concession sales for theaters. Armed with this knowledge, we can approach our movie theater visits with a deeper appreciation for the intricacies at play. So, the next time you settle into a theater seat, embrace the magic of cinema and enjoy the enthralling journey that awaits. Happy movie-watching!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about how long movie previews are:

  • Can I find movie trailers online before they are shown in theaters? Yes, movie trailers are often released online and on television before their official theatrical release. This gives viewers an opportunity to watch and become interested in upcoming films prior to their theater debut
  • Are there cases where credits are used to pad a film’s runtime? Yes, there are instances where shorter films add extra minutes to their runtime by including longer credits. This practice helps create the perception of a longer film duration, especially for marketing purposes
  • Why do movie credits vary in length? Movie credits can vary in length depending on the complexity of the film’s production. Movies with elaborate stunts, graphics, and large casts tend to have longer credits, while smaller productions may have shorter credits
  • Can I leave as soon as the movie credits start rolling? Yes, you can leave as soon as the movie credits start rolling if you don’t wish to watch them. Typically, you can subtract a few minutes from the runtime to determine the approximate duration of the movie itself
  • Are there exceptions where a movie’s runtime includes the previews? In general, the upcoming film’s advertised runtime does not include the previews. However, there may be rare instances where specific theaters or films choose to include the previews in the overall runtime. This is not the norm, though
  • Are the lengths of movie previews consistent across different theaters? The length of movie previews can vary between theaters, even those of the same company. The duration of previews is at the discretion of each theater, and there is no standard length across all theaters
  • Are movie previews the same duration for all films? The duration of a movie trailer can vary. On average, they are around one and a half to two and a half minutes long, but during blockbuster seasons, the duration may be extended due to the larger number of upcoming high-profile films
  • Why are movie previews shown before the main feature? Movie previews serve as advertisements for the upcoming film and create anticipation among viewers. They also provide an opportunity for theaters to generate additional revenue from concession sales during the previews
  • Can I skip the movie previews if I arrive late? If you arrive late to a movie, you may miss some or all of the previews depending on how far into the screening they have progressed. However, it’s always a good idea to arrive on time to fully enjoy the movie-going experience
  • Does a movie run time always include credits? Yes, an upcoming movie’s runtime generally includes the ending credits. However, it’s important to note that the opening previews and advertisements are not included in the advertised runtime
  • Do movie theater runtimes include the trailers at the start? No, movie theater runtimes typically do not include the trailers (previews) shown at the start. The advertised runtime usually refers to the duration of the main feature film itself

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