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"What is Honest Trailers?" This 2018 Jeopardy question referred to the Russo Brothers being inspired by Honest Trailers to make Captain America: The Winter Soldier a better film.

Honest Trailers has had an impact on pop culture, popular film-making and even political news critique! Receiving an Honest Trailer is a badge of honor for many filmmakers, and is considered a sign that they have "truly made it." Several prominent filmmakers have stated they are fans of the series and strive to make their movies "Honest Trailers-proof." This includes directors Joe and Anthony Russo, as well as Kevin Feige, the producer of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Another indication of the series' cultural impact is the thousands of reaction videos that have been made about the series and posted to YouTube. Some Honest Trailers reaction videos have gone viral in their own right and achieved millions of views. Furthermore, dozens of fan-made copies of Honest Trailers have been produced. The series is so well-known, in 2018, it was used as the basis for a question on TV quiz show Jeopardy!

Pop culture significance Edit

After every geek-friendly movie release comes two must-watch videos on YouTube: How It Should Have Ended, the recurring video series in which a group of skilled animators imagine alternate finales to their favorite films, and Honest Trailers. ~ Michael Bryers, We Got This Covered
Many commentators have suggested that receiving an Honest Trailer is a culturally significant pop culture rite of passage. EW remarked that "no movie has truly made it until it get the Honest Trailer treatment." CW Detroit wrote that "being roasted by the Honest Trailer team is a sign that you’ve made it to the Zeitgeist of popular cinema." Screen Rant suggested that receiving an Honest Trailer is equivalent to being "gifted with one of modern pop culture's most prestigious backhanded compliments."

Impact on popular filmmakers Edit

Deadline suggested that Honest Trailers' impact "can be measured in terms of growing recognition of the series by major industry players—and the participation of these artists in its creation." This refers to the participation of Hollywood filmmakers in the series, including Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Additionally, some film-makers have said they have been inspired by Honest Trailers to make their films better, most notably Anthony and Joe Russo who directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In an interview with Collider, Joe Russo said:  

What’s so funny is that I’m an avid honest trailer watcher.  I love it, it cracks me up.  So I think we talked about it in the commentary we used to sit in the room and go, “this is not going to end up in an honest trailer.  This logic isn’t sound enough yet.”  We literally tried to Honest Trailer proof the movie.  Because what Honest Trailers really is, and I’ll say litmus test again, is “how sound is the logic in your film?  How ridiculous are the buys that you’re asking the audience to make?”  So we would just comb through the script over and over again and go, “how do we shore up this logic? How do we shore up this logic?”  So it was a very helpful exercise for us. (Weintraub, S. September 3, 2014. Collider)
Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige echoed these remarks in 2019, when he specifically mentioned Captain America: Civil War as a film that was developed to avoid being skewered by Honest Trailers. As reported by, Feige said "There were times on [Captain America:] Civil War years ago where those things were more in the culture, and as we developed the movie trying to make sure there were as few plot holes as possible, we'd be like, ‘We don’t want this to show up in honest trailers.’ The answer to this larger question we’re having in the room, if we don’t solve it, they’re going to call us out on it. So oftentimes it’s a motivator."[1]

Additionally, some film-makers have mimicked aspects of Honest Trailers in their films, for example, as noted by CinemaBlend, the end credits sequences of 2016's Deadpool closely resembled an Honest Trailers "starring" section. In an interview with Art of the Title, director Tim Miller explained that an earlier idea was to include a full Honest Trailer in the end credits:

[Jennifer Miller and Norn Johnson] pitched doing our own version of the Honest Trailers, where the guys go in and tell you everything that was wrong with the movie.  I loved that idea!  We actually wanted to get the guy who does them to do an Honest Trailers version of Deadpool and run it during the titles. I can’t wait until they do one! [laughs] (Perkins, W. March 22, 2016. Art of the Title)

Impact on political critique Edit

Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better

Trump Made Kim a Movie Trailer. We Made It Better. - NYT - Opinion

In 2018, The New York Times mimicked Honest Trailers in this political critique of US President Donald Trump's fake movie trailer.

The parody trailer style codified by Honest Trailers has also been used by some news outlets as a form of political critique. For example, in June 2018, US President Donald Trump made a fake movie trailer to promote his Singapore summit with North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong Un. News outlets The Independent and The New York Times both responded with parody trailers that critiqued Trump's video using the style and language of Honest Trailers. Jesse Balzer of the research project Ruining Trailers observed, "While it may initially seem strange to see these news outlets mimicking Honest Trailers in editorial content, these spoofs ultimately indicate the affective utility of trailers outside the movie theater."

Notes Edit

  1. Sobon, N. June 30, 2019, Kevin Feige Reveals How Honest Trailers Affected Marvel Studios Films,

See also Edit

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