There’s something very annoying that’s been happening for the last couple of years regarding highly-anticipated trailers and how they’re released. People on the Internet seem to be stuck in a 90’s mindset when a major trailer was only released in theaters, and you had to buy a ticket to a specific movie to see it.
People have memories of buying tickets for Meet Joe Black and then leaving after seeing the trailer for The Phantom Menace, and that practice continued into the mid-2000s where you had to go to a theater to catch the latest trailer for a big movie. That’s because the Internet wasn’t the marketing juggernaut it is now.
In 2016 (and actually the last several years), studios will release their big trailers online (or some other way) before they ever get to the theater.
Just look at The Force Awakens. The very first teaser in November of 2014 was released online (and they even went old-fashioned via Apple’s trailer site) before it went out to theaters. The second teaser in April 2015 premiered at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim before going online. To see that one in theaters you had to pay for a 3D ticket to Avengers: Age of Ultron…but everyone had seen it online long before then. Finally the full trailer was shown on Monday Night Football immediately before hitting YouTube.
All of those Star Wars trailers were released in other ways prior to the theater.
Which brings us to Rogue One. For the last few months people on the Internet have been proclaiming that the trailer would premiere with Captain America: Civil War. While it’s very likely that if we get a trailer for Rogue One you will be able to see it in theaters with Civil War, the trailer will be put online in some big event that will dominate social media before Civil War even hits theaters.
That’s because by releasing a trailer online, and promoting the release, you’re guaranteed to get more eyes on that trailer than if you made people go to a theater to see it. Back in the film days, many major trailers used to be “attached” to the print of the movie that the studio wanted it to be. These days, everything is digital and a lot of times a theater will mess up the trailer selection.
So every time you see someone online claiming that the Rogue One trailer will be with Civil War, just roll your eyes. You’ll probably be able to see the trailer when you go see Civil War, but you’ll probably have already watched it on a loop via YouTube before you even go to the theater.