Ever since the “Bwaa” sound was used first in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010), its omnipresence in movie trailers is hard to miss. As big-budget studio products continue to mirror themselves in purpose and packaging, their trailers have begun to look alarmingly similar as well.
The people behind the YouTube channel Auralnauts have now decoded the formula of cutting blockbuster trailers for blockbuster films. The video How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer plays out on a black screen with white title cards telling us what scene or dialogue can be inserted at a specific moment.
For example, after the first “low bwaa” sound, one can pose a “ponderous statement or question” (“Have you ever wondered about this particular thing?”) and then follow it up with a concluding statement (“Because it turns out that that thing is real!”) before “Studio vanity card” takes up the screen.
Then to up the ante, you can use an “unexpected cover of a classic hit”. The video uses a cover of Dead or Alive’s 1985 superhit You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). Using brooding cover versions of pop songs has been a staple of movie trailers for quite some time. A few examples are a choir-based cover of Radiohead’s Creep used in The Social Network’s (2010) trailer and a melancholic cover of Nirvana’s grunge hit Smells Like Teen Spirit showing up in the trailer of the 2015 horror film The Gallows.
And, of course, the film is made by a “visionary director”. You cannot forget to add that.
The concept of the video is explained further by a longer 2015 video made by the YouTube channel RedLetterMedia, which illustrates its point by using examples of existing Hollywood movie trailers.