50 Movie Trailers That Changed Entertainment Marketing

Our committee of curators digs into some of the industry's most iconic work

For those who get to the movie theater extra early, so as not to miss the coming attractions, we have a treat for you today that might be better than the biggest bucket of buttered popcorn.

We're thrilled to publish the second of two lists that help celebrate the incredible legacy and artistry of entertainment marketing in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Key Art Awards (the origin program of Clio Entertainment). 

The list of 50 iconic movie posters was published last spring. And now, we're pleased to present a companion list of 50 iconic movie trailers—as compiled by five of the industry's greatest practitioners of the form.

Of course, you can find many lists of best movie trailers online, but how many are authored by the pros themselves? By those who have spent long hours in the edit bay finessing the perfect sound effect, or sat with a filmmaker as they've watched a trailer for the first time? Not many. We're thrilled to give these legends in the field a chance to share pieces that inspired their own remarkable careers, and prompted them to dive deep into the special artistry that is trailer making.

We are tremendously grateful for their selections and insights. Below, meet the list's curators. Or you can jump straight to the list itself.


The Committee

Meet the curators of the list and learn how they approached this project: 

Lauri Brown

SVP, Creative Advertising
Universal Pictures

About Lauri: When I was a kid, my Saturday babysitter was often a movie theater. I absolutely loved movies. What I never imagined was having a career in marketing them. I was on an entirely different career path when, through a summer job in college, I got my foot in the door and never looked back. I started out as a finisher, worked at Aspect (Ratio), edited for a very brief time, started producing, and then became a creative director at BLT: A/V and Ignition. I joined Universal Marketing in 2018, bringing my passion for movies along with decades of creative advertising experience. Throughout my career, I have always strived to produce creative that is engaging, effective and hopefully memorable. And I'm humbled and amazed at the good fortune that has given me the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate people in this little cottage industry of ours. And yes, on Saturdays, I'll probably be at the movies.

Thoughts on the list: I am a firm believer that trailers are an art form. They require creative skill and imagination. And like all art, they are also subjective. For a few of these pieces, there was definite consensus on how iconic or trendsetting they were, and still are. And it's been fascinating to rediscover teasers and trailers from decades ago and seeing certain techniques are still used today! But this list is in no way definitive. There may be discussions (or arguments) about what may be art for art's sake, and what is an effective marketing tool. I think creative truly shines when it can be both, and my hope is that this list inspires everyone as much as it inspires me.

Among the trailers Lauri has worked on: Inception, Sully, Bridesmaids


Benedict Coulter

President / Partner
Statement Advertising

About Benedict: I started as a runner at Kaleidoscope Films and worked my way up. I quickly developed a passion for cutting trailers. I was blessed with great mentors who championed my career. My biggest break came when I was hired by Steven Spielberg and worked on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for a year in his apartment. My career totally changed course after that. I absolutely love editing. I had no idea I was any good at it, but apparently others did! It has given me a career and a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Thoughts on the list: It was so hard to narrow the list to 50, since so many amazing pieces were produced through the years. There are so many more I would add to the list! It was fascinating to dig around and see the evolution of trailers and how some simply stood out with the genius of their originality. My choices came down to how I remember those trailers impacting me, and how intrigued and impressed I was with how they were crafted. I hope my comments will give some insight as to why I chose the trailers I did.

Among the trailers Benedict has worked on: Purple Rain, Jurassic Park, Beverly Hills Cop


Lisa Feldman

Co-President / Creative Director
Aspect

About Lisa: I began my career, like so many in our industry, at Aspect—and 26 years later, I'm still here! I started on the business/finance side and knew immediately that I had to get to the creative side and worked hard (as everyone does) to get there. Thankfully, there's been no shortage of extremely talented people at Aspect to learn from over the years. I'm grateful for all who were so generous with their time and talent to help me learn what makes great marketing. That same generosity of spirit is part of what makes our community so awesome to be a part of.

Thoughts on the list: The process of compiling this list reminded me why I still love this industry after all these years. It's still exciting to see, and be inspired by, the amazing talent in our industry. Once I got over being intimidated to speak among all this amazing talent, it was fun to not only revisit these great trailers but also to be reminded of where we've been as an industry. This list can never encompass all the great work out there—but it really helps to shine a light on how we've evolved over time. We just keep getting smarter and more skilled as an industry, and it's clear that we build upon each other's talents as the thread of inspiration continues to be carried forward. I can't wait to see what's next.

Among the trailers Lisa has worked on: Citizen Kane [digital HD version], Disney Signature Collection, Indiana Jones Collection


Seth Gaven

Founder / President
AV Squad

About Seth: I have been fortunate to participate at almost every level of our business. Editor, writer, producer, creative director, studio executive and agency owner. None of which would've been possible without interest and nurturing by some of the industry's finest artists. To name a few: Tony Seiniger, Bob Farina/Chris Arnold and the original Cimarron team, Smitty—the man who helped me sharpen my trailer skills—and Anthony Goldshmidt, who taught me what art as advertising was all about.

Thoughts on the list: I've always been a movie junkie. For me, it's pure emotion. Every movie a great trip, and trailers are the ultimate high. It's one of the reasons editing has always my passion and my focus. It's also been my greatest challenge, in whatever area of the marketing business I worked, to compartmentalize my emotional response to this art and put it into perspective with the commerce side of what we do. In the end, I believe my choices represent the best in the marriage of art and commerce. Fierce creative force joined with sharp advertising instinct. And the beauty of art is that while I hope readers agree, I know they can pick a different 50 that mean the same to them.

Among the trailers Seth has worked on: Terminator 2, Home Alone, Independence Day


Michelle Jackino

Principal / Executive Creative Director
Open Road Entertainment

About Michelle: My first gig was as a college intern in the promo department of USA Network learning the craft of copywriting. In the years since, I have worked in key positions on both sides of the table—agency and client. Some fun titles I have had include: head of audio visual for The Cimarron Group; SVP, creative advertising at Warner Brothers Pictures; and now principal/executive creative director at Open Road Entertainment. The winner of numerous ad awards including Clios, working along various talented teams, I have contributed greatly to AV campaigns for films such as The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, Judas and the Black Messiah and many others.

Thoughts on the list: In some nerdy twist of fate, I think I was meant to create trailers with my editorial partners in crime. The history of editing is very much linked to the "seamstresses of film"—aka, female cutters who worked within the old-school studio system. My mom was, in fact, a seamstress. My dad had been a big-band musician and drilled the American songbook into my brain from a young age. It's an honor to do what you love and to work with music and movies. Bravo to everyone who contributed to the trailers on this list and those—so many more—that may not be on here. I hope whoever watches these feels inspired to do what they love, no matter where their career takes them.

Among the trailers Michelle has worked on: American Beauty, The Wolf of Wall Street, Judas and the Black Messiah


50 Movie Trailers That Changed Entertainment Marketing

Below is the list, in alphabetical order. Click on any title to see the trailer, or scroll down to see them all.

Alien
American Beauty
American Sniper
Baby Driver
Battle: Los Angeles
A Clockwork Orange
Dennis the Menace
Do the Right Thing
Dr. Strangelove
Dumb and Dumber
For the Boys
Garden State
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Gone in Sixty Seconds
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Inception
Independence Day
IT
Jarhead
Jaws
JFK
Joker
Lilo & Stitch
Little Children
Mad Max: Fury Road
Man of Steel
Marty
The Matrix
Milk
Moonlight
Pineapple Express
Psycho
Pulp Fiction
Puss in Boots
Raging Bull
The Shining
Shut Up and Dribble
The Social Network
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Suicide Squad
Superbad
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Top Gun
Toys
Twister
Where the Wild Things Are
The Wolf of Wall Street
8 Mile
10 Cloverfield Lane
300


Alien

20th Century Fox, 1979
R. Greenberg Associates

Alien (1979)

This is always on everyone's list. I remember seeing this trailer as a film-school student and going into "I have to see this movie" mode. The combination of editorial, graphics, copy and sound editing was groundbreaking and set the stage (years early) for what would be our current era of trailers without narration. Coming off Star Wars and Close Encounters in the previous years, the Alien trailer promised an outer space story darker and more terrifying than anything previously seen. —Seth Gaven

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American Beauty

DreamWorks Pictures, 1999
Copywriter: David Sameth
Producer: Michelle Jackino 
Editors: Phil Terrance, Alan Toomayan

American Beauty (1999)

When a film is so different, sometimes you have to throw out the so-called rules. This poetic prelude, forcing us to LOOK CLOSER at the characters, set the tone and there you have it! —Michelle Jackino

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American Sniper

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014
Editor: Tony Kubek 
Producers: Craig Platt and Katie Hundere 

American Sniper (2014)

Living in a scene, allowing you to connect with a character's story, is well executed in this piece. It puts you right in the tense drama of the moment, while visually adding in the emotion of the story arc. The sound design of simple heartbeats and a rise may be an "old-school" approach, but it's a technique artfully done in this teaser. —Lauri Brown

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Baby Driver

Sony Pictures, 2017
Trailer Park 
Editor: Christian Capello-Colon
Creative Director: Matt Brubaker 

Baby Driver (2017)

When every element of a trailer is working seamlessly, it's like the perfect heist. You don't even realize how perfectly it all comes together until it's already carrying you away. It's impossible to ignore. Even the integrated graphics become a part of the fun. "TeKillYa" is a propulsive, one-of-a-kind piece that taps into the spirit and style of the film while also being one hell of a ride by itself. —Lisa Feldman

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Battle: Los Angeles

Sony Pictures, 2011
Wild Card Creative Group
Editor: Nick Temple

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

What is so creative about this trailer is that it conveys the whole story emotionally without one line of dialogue. It weaves hardware and humanity brilliantly. You know exactly what is happening.The Johan Johansson song sets the tone beautifully, and the added score builds the intensity to a powerful crescendo. —Benedict Coulter

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A Clockwork Orange

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1971

A Clockwork Orange (1975)

This jarringly provocative piece from 50 years ago (yes, 50) was ahead of its time. It captivates the viewer with rapid-fire flutter cuts of text and imagery. The visuals are paired with a Beethoven symphony, telling you exactly what this film is, all without using a word of dialogue. —Lauri Brown

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Dennis the Menace

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1993
Intralink Film Graphic Design

Dennis the Menace (1993)

One of the last big "special shoot" teasers, this inventive piece takes a simple slingshot and illustrates how "menacing" a kid can be as the slung marble ricochets off everything in sight, including the Warner logo. A great combo of practical effects and animation, this piece was created for client Joel Wayne at Warner Bros. by Anthony Goldschmidt and Intralink, who were known for these kinds of concept teasers. —Seth Gaven

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Do the Right Thing

Universal Pictures, 1989
Poetic Justice 
Editors: Dan Swietlik and Michael Bartoli
Producer: Jeremy Sauter

Do the Right Thing (1989)

At a time when a lot of narrative support would be used to convey story, this creative broke out of those confines. Explosively! With little dialogue, it gets to the point quickly, conveys tone clearly, and effectively uses powerful and memorable songs from the film. Fight the power! —Lauri Brown

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Dr. Strangelove

Columbia Pictures, 1964

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Legend has it that famed title designer Pablo Ferro created this random trailer masterpiece for Kubrick's classic film. The copy/GRFX seem to be literally asking the footage what the heck is going on. It just keeps pulling you in! —Michelle Jackino

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Dumb and Dumber

New Line Cinema, 1994
Trailer Park
Editor: Jim Hale

Dumb and Dumber (1994)

A great graphic tactic to grid the opening, along with well-written and witty copy throughout. Who needs story when a waltz is used to serve up comedy in such a clever way? They don't make them like this anymore. —Lauri Brown

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For the Boys

20th Century Fox, 1991
Intralink
Editor: Scott Ogden 

For The Boys (1991)

Interesting story here. This teaser was released for only a few days before being pulled by the studio, which decided it was the wrong approach for the movie. However, it is one of the most elegant pieces of its kind. Cut to Bette Midler's cover of the Beatles' "In My Life," the combination of imagery and editorial pace gives it an emotional gravitas that surely would've driven more people to the theaters than actually showed up. Another upscale piece from Goldschmidt and Intralink, edited by Scott Ogden. —Seth Gaven

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Garden State

Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2004
Mark Woollen & Associates
Editor: Chris Park
CD: Mark Woollen

Garden State (2004)

The granddaddy of music-driven indie trailers. It's more than just a piece of marketing. The way the music works with the cut is closer to a work of art. It not only tells you everything you need to know about the movie, but also makes you feel for the protagonist in a very real way. We feel his pain, his discomfort, his joy, and by the end of the trailer we can't wait to experience the full story. —Lisa Feldman

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Sony Pictures, 2011
Editors: David Fincher/Kirk Baxter 

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

This teaser just oozes style. The grungy cover of Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" that fits perfectly with the visuals. The long driveway shot that syncs beautifully with the cutting style, shepherding us toward the secrets that might be hiding at the end. The big, bold, in-your-face copy that hits home the dark tone of the movie. This is the type of teaser that will be imitated but never duplicated. A filmmaker trailer that is really special cut by Kirk Baxter, who was also the editor of the film with guidance from David Fincher himself. —Lisa Feldman

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Gone in Sixty Seconds

Buena Vista Pictures, 2000
Kaleidoscope Films
Editor: Skip Chaisson

Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)

Talk about playing into the motion picture experience! GRFX: IN THE TIME IT TAKES YOU TO GET YOUR POPCORN … Perfect for in-theater. Perfect for the story of high-end car thieves. —Michelle Jackino

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Buena Vista Pictures, 2005
Aspect
Editor: Jerry Suh
CD: Rob Meyers

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

From the moment you hear the highbrow tones of the British narrator, you know this isn't going to be your typical trailer. No, it's more like something sent to us from a distant planet. It's irreverent, energetic and just plain fun. By exposing all the traditional hallmarks found in trailers, this piece became something completely original. Most impressive of all, it captures The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's tone and spirit perfectly in just two short minutes. Quite simply, it's a piece of creative genius, showing us the possibilities of where a trailer can go are as infinite as the galaxy itself. —Lisa Feldman

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Inception

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2010 
BLT A/V
Editor: David Rosenthal
CD: Lauri Brown

Inception (2010)

"BRAAAAAAAM." The trailer that launched an audio phenomenon. The "Inception horns" are now as legendary as the team that created the trailer, editor David Rosenthal and creative director Lauri Brown. The storytelling is super clean, considering the complex plot—thanks in part to one of the great copy lines of the decade: YOUR MIND IS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME. The shot selection, coupled with the sheer scope of the action, leaves the viewer mesmerized. Add in one of the most memorable pieces of music that was composed for this trailer and it just blows you away. It's a feast for the eyes and ears that's still inspiring trailers 11 years later. —Lisa Feldman

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Independence Day

20th Century Fox, 1996
Intralink
CD/Editor: Seth Gaven

Independence Day (1996)

It's rare that one iconic shot can launch an entire campaign and help propel its movie to become a megahit. The foreboding shadows encroaching on cities and landmarks foretell an invasion by aliens unseen until the last shot of this teaser. After a wall of fire sweeps down a packed city street, incinerating all in its path, the unforgettable image of the White House being blown up by a massive alien ship seals the deal. This campaign would include an unprecedented five trailers, each building on the last, but all anchored to that one iconic shot. —Seth Gaven

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IT

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2017
Buddha Jones
Editor: Bill Neil
Creative Director: Dave Ligorner

IT (2017)

Another brilliant trailer from the mind of Bill Neil, the master of horror trailers. A classic warm and fuzzy setup with a happy family that slowly lures you to the turning point as the boy looks down in the gutter. The rhythmic combination of music and sound design builds the trailer to an unbearable tension. If you weren't afraid of clowns, you will be... —Benedict Coulter

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Jarhead

Universal Pictures, 2005
Universal In House
Editor: Ellen Dimler
Producer: Scott Abraham 

Jarhead (2005)

Great cues and execution. This trailer started the "trend" of using Kanye. A trend that's only lasted a few decades! So far... —Lauri Brown

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Jaws

Universal Pictures, 1975
Kaleidoscope

Jaws (1975)

Sometimes great is just great. The right story, the right footage, the right copy, the right narrator, the right music. From the movie that would mark the beginning of a genre and the arrival of Spielberg, our movie Mozart, this trailer brings terror to one of our most cherished rituals, a day at the beach. Narrated by the great Percy Rodrigues, this trailer de force chills us to the bone and beckons us to the theater. "It's as if God created the devil, and gave him … JAWS." Wow. —Seth Gaven

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JFK

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1991
Kaleidoscope
Editor: Benedict Coulter

JFK (1991)

No better way to get your attention than a scene with Kevin Costner, Joe Pesci and a machete at the beginning of a trailer. This was what we now call the "YouTube six second rule"—show your stars in the first six seconds—long before YouTube even existed! The juxtaposition of color and black-and-white footage made this trailer particularly interesting to cut, and Martin Sheen's narration added a dramatic sense of realism. Amazing performances by legendary actors and director Oliver Stone at the top of his game. —Benedict Coulter

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Joker

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2019
JAX
Editor: Stephanie Krall 
CDs: Scott Goldman/Nick Counter

Joker (2019)

The "creepy cover of a classic song" has become a bit of a cliché in trailers, so how about using the actual upbeat original? Pairing Jimmy Durante's "Smile" with Arthur Fleck was a stroke of mad genius, matching haunting visuals with iconic crooning to elevate both. The full-frame graphics make serious impact, and the whole piece builds like a symphony. JAX was crazy to think this would all come together, but it turned into something better than anyone could have guessed. Funny how that happens. —Lisa Feldman

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Lilo & Stitch 

Walt Disney Pictures, 2002

Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Stitch crashing into the classic Beauty and the Beast ballroom scene was just one of multiple teasers the studio did to proclaim a new type of animated story had arrived. Then Disney creative ad executive Fred Tio and team also decided to have this kooky little creature show up in a classic scene from The Little Mermaid. Being self-effacing of the Disney brand was simply a shrewd, very original and clearly funny as H*LL move! —Michelle Jackino

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Little Children

New Line Cinema, 2006
Mark Woolen & Associates
Editor: Chad Misner

Little Children (2006)

Probably the most-mentioned trailer besides Alien for its brilliant and unforgettable sound design. The haunting sounds of a train and train tracks helped set emotional moments and tension between the characters. It's like the sound punctuates the emotion of the scenes. A masterpiece of editing and sound design. —Benedict Coulter

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Mad Max: Fury Road

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014
Trailer Park
Editor: Adam Finkelstein
CD: Matt Brubaker

Mad Max: Fury Road (2014)

A teaser with fantastic music choices, great graphics, and editorial that unfolds slowly and then just hits you in the face with operatic ferociousness, without short-changing the incredible stunts. It promised a great theatrical experience. —Lauri Brown

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Man of Steel

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2013
Editor: Jenn Horvath

Man of Steel (2013)

There is something so nostalgic about this trailer, but at the same time it completely reinvents how we see Superman. The iconography of the cape blowing in the wind evokes memories of the classic hero, but in a less "comic book" way. The way the original score by Hans Zimmer builds and builds brings every emotion to the surface, so by the final shot you're ready to stand up and cheer. The way editor Jenn Horvath brings the story of this brand-new Superman to us can be described in only one word: powerful. I still get goosebumps. —Lisa Feldman

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Marty

United Artists, 1955

Marty (1955)

In 1955, Burt Lancaster was one of the biggest movie stars around, which makes it all the more intriguing that he introduced the trailer to the film Marty, which starred Ernest Borgnine. Lancaster, a producer of the film, wanted the world to know how special legendary writer Paddy Chayefsky's story of a lonely man was, and he was right! The film went on to win many Oscars, including Best Picture and shiny golden guys for Borgnine and Chayefsky! —Michelle Jackino

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The Matrix

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999
Giaronomo
CD: Gary Kanew

The Matrix (1999)

Capitalizing on all the originality that makes the movie so dynamic, this trailer glides through the story elegantly while serving up a roller-coaster ride of action combined with science fiction. The piece culminates in a modern operatic montage of real and surreal imagery, promising something very different and very special. —Seth Gaven

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Milk

Focus Features, 2008 
Mark Woollen & Associates

Milk (2008)

I have always been in awe of how this piece just "cuts to the chase"—sorry for the possible editorial pun here! We know this is a story of LGBTQA rights icon Harvey Milk, and then we are hit with just how enormous the fight will be as we are slammed with Anita Byrant's stock footage dialogue. The enormity of the situation grows, both with the full-frame graphics and the choir music. At the same time, Mark Woollen & Associates are able to capture the intimacy of Harvey's inner battle. The weight many of us put on ourselves about getting to a certain age and feeling like we have not accomplished much. That we must matter. Trailers are small stories. At their best, a beautiful intersection of substance and style. This piece is simply a beautiful example of that balance. —Michelle Jackino

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Moonlight

A24, 2016
Mark Woollen & Associates 
Creative Director: Scott Mitsui
Editor: Jessica Murray 

Moonlight (2016)

Music, music, music. It's what can make a piece truly stand out. The beautiful cues from this soundtrack do just that. To tell an expansive story about someone's life is not easy, especially when different actors play the same character, and in this short form, particularly. With an editorial approach that shows restraint with the use of dialogue, the music sets the tone, drawing the viewer in to feel the emotion as we linger with the characters and become absorbed in the stunning visuals. —Lauri Brown

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Pineapple Express

Sony Pictures, 2008
Ignition
Editors: Dave Fruchbom, Michael Blackburn

Pineapple Express (2008)

It's almost impossible not to laugh watching this piece, which is all you want in a comedy trailer. Great setup, great pacing, but most of all, a great song to take the story to a hilarious ending. All the elements needed for a classic comedy trailer. —Benedict Coulter

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Psycho

Paramount Pictures, 1960

Psycho (1960)

The story goes that, apparently, the studio may not have originally believed in Psycho. Hitchcock took matters into his own hands to show off his horror classic. Would other evolutions of this idea, such as the Strange Days teaser, the teaser to Spielberg's A.I. or even Jack Black's Kung Fu Panda 2 teaser, be around if not for Alfred? —Michelle Jackino

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Pulp Fiction

Miramax Films, 1994
Giaronomo
Editor: Ron Auerbach
Producers: Ron Auerbach, Giacomo Vieste
Writer/Producer: Matthew Cohen

Pulp Fiction (1994)

"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?" The second that the bullets blast through the pedigree awards open, you know you're in for something different. Ballsy AF. —Michelle Jackino

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Puss in Boots

Dreamworks Animation, 2011
Aspect
CDs: Mark Trugman, Eric Alan
Editor: Kevin Flynn

Puss in Boots (2011)

This was one of the first truly special animation teasers, a pioneer of a whole new segment of the entertainment marketing business. Not only was it a hilarious reintroduction to the beloved Shrek character, but it told you everything you needed to know about the movie in a simple and focused concept. This was Puss, by himself for the first time, and it was going to be a fun time at the movies. There have been many special animation teasers since, but this one still ranks up there among the very best. —Lisa Feldman

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Raging Bull

United Artists, 1980

Raging Bull (1980)

Another classic mainly regarded for its use of music. "Intermezzo" from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni is a sweeping orchestral piece that plays counterpoint to the hard-hitting content of one of Scorsese's finest movies, shot in beautiful black and white. This elevates the epic brutality to operatic proportions, as the closing montage tugs at the heart with help from Mascagni's pleading strings. Grand trailer making at its best. —Seth Gaven

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The Shining

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1980
CD: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining (1980)

One shot, people! One shot and a teaser everyone in the business of trailers and beyond won't soon forget. Period. —Michelle Jackino

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Shut Up and Dribble

Showtime Network, 2018
Statement Advertising
Editor: Max Carlson

Shut Up and Dribble (2018)

Anytime a Martin Luther King Jr. speech is used as a narrative, it elevates the cut to a whole different level. This one was particularly interesting because it was a little-known speech Dr. King gave at a high school graduation in Philadelphia in 1967. His iconic voice echoing through the trailer created a powerful tone for this piece about race and the growing role of basketball stars as power players in society and their influence in race relations in a rapidly changing world. —Benedict Coulter

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The Social Network

Sony Pictures, 2010
Mark Woolen & Associates
Editor: Chad Meisner
Producer: Mark Woolen

The Social Network (2010)

Talk about capturing what a generation was feeling. Using Facebook posts against a children's-choir version of Radiohead's classic "Creep" remains one of the best opens of any trailer ever. —Michelle Jackino

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Walt Disney Studios, 2015
The Hive
Editors: Josh Dunn, Brent Rockswold
Producer: Jackson George

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

This is a really great piece in showcasing how to build drama. The languid pace in the opening helps introduce you to key characters, and the musical layers in each vignette build with each introduction. The piece continues to live in moments, even as the music builds in complexity. The editorial restraint throughout brings heightened tension and definitely helps pull you in. —Lauri Brown

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Suicide Squad

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2016 
Aspect
Editor: Joel Salsburey
CD: Nati Braunstein

Suicide Squad (2016)

If you decide to cut with one of the greatest songs of all time, you'd better bring it. This trailer does that and then some. Editor Joel Salsburey teaches a masterclass on how to use music to tell a story, stylize action and engage the audience. Those moments where the sound design merges so beautifully with the cue bring a smile to your face. But there are also moments where the piece is allowed to breathe, by letting the cue play by itself or stopping down for a moment of levity. All of these editorial choices, combined with copy and stylish graphics that really set the off-the-wall tone of the movie, make this trailer something truly special. —Lisa Feldman

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Superbad

Sony Pictures, 2007
Ignition
Editor: Dave Fruchbom

Superbad (2007)

This trailer for a relatively unknown movie is the perfect template for all comedy trailers. Dialogue choices, pacing, graphics, music! Everything flows perfectly to create a hilarious piece. Nothing like a Van Halen song to set the mood, too, and of course, what every comedy trailer must have: a great button! —Benedict Coulter

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

New Line Cinema, 2003
Trailer Park
Editor: Bill Neil
Creative Director: Scott Bramlett

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Another brilliant horror trailer from Bill Neil, using the repetition of a sound effect to create an editing grid—something Bill has become famous for. The other brilliant element of the trailer is the long section in black as the disturbing sound effects play out. So original! This piece marks the beginning of the modern-day horror trailer as we know it and a major evolution of Bill's legacy. —Benedict Coulter

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Top Gun

Paramount Pictures, 1986
Kaleidoscope
Editor: Benedict Coulter

Top Gun (1986)

One of the very first "rock 'n' roll" action trailers, using a rock song instead of a traditional movie score—a trend that became more and more popular through the years and is now the standard approach for most action trailers.The emergence of Tom Cruise as a genuine superstar. Everything is cut to the beat, creating an editing rhythm, like a rock video with dialogue, with truly amazing visuals by the legendary director Tony Scott, whose cinematography was always an editor's treat. —Benedict Coulter

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Toys

20th Century Fox, 1992
Seiniger/Bloom Advertising

Toys (1992)

Original. Bold. One of a kind. A piece like this could only be done with a talent like Robin Williams. Much like the trailer for Comedian, this teaser for Toys is both a parody and a salute to movie trailers. Nothing about the movie, all about the star. And when the star is this big and so uniquely talented, all you have to do is set up the camera and let it roll. Advertising, pure and simple. —Seth Gaven

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Twister

Warner Bros. Pictures, 1996
Kaleidoscope
Editors: Skip Chaisson and Mark Mrnka

Twister (1996)

This teaser is spectacular in all areas of the medium. Brilliant narration, soothingly read with an ominous neutrality, sets up the natural calamity that is to come. And when it hits … watch out. Dynamic sound and inspired graphics complete an editorial tornado (sorry) of terror. A perfect example of what a teaser trailer should accomplish. —Seth Gaven

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Where the Wild Things Are

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2009 
The Ant Farm
Editor: Jenn Horvath 
CDs: Barbara Glazer, Andy Solomon

Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

The first piece of marketing for the adaptation of a beloved children's story comes with a lot of pressure, but this piece captures the film, the book, and the nostalgia effortlessly (even though we all know it took a lot of effort). Using only one piece of dialogue from the feature, it has the promise of adventure blended with that perfect Arcade Fire song that got the whole world excited for the movie. A perfect teaser edited by one the best editors in the business, Jenn Horvath. —Lisa Feldman

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The Wolf of Wall Street

Paramount Pictures, 2013
Ant Farm
Editor: Joel Salsburey
CD: Michelle Jackino

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

There's always going to be interest in a trailer for a new Scorsese movie, but this piece took The Wolf of Wall Street to another level. As editor Joel Salsburey tells it, creative director Michelle Jackino heard Kanye perform "Black Skinhead" on Saturday Night Live. By Sunday afternoon, Joel had cut the piece to the live track from the show. Joel says: "We found a new way of letting the music drive the trailer, and we knew right away we found something special." Indeed. —Lisa Feldman

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8 Mile

Universal Pictures, 2002
MOCEAN
Editor: Michael Jones

8 Mile (2002)

A great setup, introducing the main character as an everyday guy, struggling with life, singing to his daughter. The first bars of that amazing Eminem song immediately take the story to the next level. Remarkable use of incredible graphics punctuating the words from the song, something that hadn't been done in a trailer before. Probably one of the best songs ever used in a trailer. Music cutting at its best! —Benedict Coulter

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10 Cloverfield Lane

Paramount Pictures, 2016 
Buddha Jones
Editor: Bill Neil 
Producers: Bill Neil, Mark Lafontant 

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

The clever use of an upbeat song, along with appropriately ironic lyrics, is well used in this atypical approach for this genre. As the mystery unfolds, the song is slowed down and then cleverly warps out. The visual rug pull is also well executed and the piece does its job, teasing the audience and leaving you wanting to know more. —Lauri Brown

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300

Warner Bros. Pictures, 2007
Mojo
Editor: David Yocum
CD: Jeff Lamont

300 (2007)

When this teaser dropped, a lot of people's jaws dropped as well. The film's incredible visual style was a feast for the eyes. But the approach to this piece was equally as bold. It stakes its claim by using an in-your-face, edgy rock cue—making it feel urgent and visceral. The cutting really embraces the material, making it shine. And with just a bit of story layered throughout, it does what any great teaser should—leaves you wanting more. —Lauri Brown

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