10 Movie Industry Secrets You Didn't Know

Hollywood at its sneakiest and cheekiest.

Knives Out Jamie Lee Curtis

Even the seemingly simplest Hollywood movie production is an enormously complex undertaking, requiring the co-operation of dozens of different departments and disciplines, all eager to get their job done and maybe, just maybe, have a quality product at the end of it.

And though set leaks are more common than ever nowadays thanks to everybody having a portable camera in their pocket, it's still fair to say that film productions are largely private, behind-closed-doors affairs, the particulars of which are withheld from the average paying customer.

More to the point, in some cases it's in the interest of the studio and even filmmakers and actors themselves to keep certainly aspects of the business hush-hush, for fear of exposing a valuable trade secret or harming their own value.

And then there are little-said facets of filmmaking which, while hardly lurid or troubling, are simply so taken for granted by those in the industry that the general public never really hears about them.

Whatever the reason, these 10 movie industry secrets are sure to surprise and fascinate, from insidious business tactics to little-known tricks of the trade...

10. Trailers Spoil Everything On Purpose

Knives Out Jamie Lee Curtis
Warner Bros.

One of the most common complaints about movie marketing is that trailers have an annoying tendency to spoil way too much of the experience before audiences are actually sat down in the cinema watching it for themselves.

To many, it's baffling that studios would want to give away epic money shots and crucial third-act footage to potential customers for free, but in actual fact, this is an entirely deliberate, calculated decision on their part.

Director Robert Zemeckis, whose films Cast Away and What Lies Beneath were both criticised for more-or-less giving the entire movie away in trailers, confirmed in an interview that market research constantly reiterates that casual audiences - who account for the majority of ticket sales - like to know exactly the film they're getting. He said:

"We know from studying the marketing of movies, people really want to know exactly every thing that they are going to see before they go see the movie. It's just one of those things. To me, being a movie lover and film student and a film scholar and a director, I don't. What I relate it to is McDonald's. The reason McDonald's is a tremendous success is that you don't have any surprises. You know exactly what it is going to taste like. Everybody knows the menu."

As much as savvy film lovers might groan every time a new trailer clearly shows footage from the last 10 minutes of an anticipated upcoming movie, the studios aren't doing it for stupidity: it's a wholly cynical, thought-out move to get more butts in seats on opening weekend.

In this post: 
Knives Out
First Posted On: 

Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.