What Jay-Z and Beyonce’s “Run” Tells Us about Movie Trailers

Have you seen Jay-Z and Beyonce’s “Run,” a 3-minute video created to promote their new concert tour? The video is a mock movie trailer – and it features a star-studded cast. I recommend watching it, it’s really cool.

I’m fascinated by movie trailers. They can be completely different than the actual movies they promote. Trailers often take different scenes from a movie and piece them together to fit a certain narrative that motivates people to head to the theater. Often, the scenes in a movie trailer don’t even occur in the same order they do in a movie. In some of the worst occasions, a trailer for a movie is almost completely different tonally than the movie itself. Anyone who ever saw  The Grey knows what I am talking about:

This trailer depicts an epic action movie, where Liam Neeson fights endless waves of wolves in order to survive. The movie itself is completely different. It’s about the will to live. There are scenes with wolves, but there aren’t many clashes with them. The climatic scene in the trailer shows Liam Neeson about to engage in hand-to-hand combat with a wolf. Spoiler alert – this scene never happens. It’s the last scene of the movie, and the fight is never actually shown.

Still, I’m fascinated by the little world a trailer creates for the movie. Every big time successful trailer usually follows the same formula:

  • Intense narration
  • Powerful music
  • Fast cuts from action scenes to spoken dialogue
  • Cue up the bass at the most opportune time

It just may not have the movie’s best interest at heart. It kind of reminds me of social media envy. People often view other people’s social media accounts and think their lives are great, when in reality they are only seeing the best part of those lives. Trailers give me movie envy, but that is what they are designed to do.

For fun, here’s a video of pretty much every summer blockbuster spliced together in to one epic trailer: