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Honest trailers marvel studios logo

The Honest Trailers title in the style of the Marvel Studios logo.

Honest Trailers is a weekly comedy series that satirizes movies and TV shows. Honest Trailers are short comedy videos, usually 3-7 minutes in length, that combine the visual style of movie trailers with parody voiceover to humorously reveal the true nature of a movie or show. 

Honest Trailers is produced by the Screen Junkies YouTube channel. The flagship series was created in 2012 by Andy Signore and Brett Weiner. Since 2012, more than 300 Honest Trailers have been produced and have achieved a combined total of over 1 billion views. Honest Trailers is also critically acclaimed. The series has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Shortform Variety Series" four times, in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Honest Trailers has also won two Streamy Awards - Best Writing in 2016, and Best Collaboration in 2017, shared with actor Ryan Reynolds.

The most well-known episode of Honest Trailers is probably the 2016 Honest Trailer for Deadpool, which included a surprise appearance from Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds as the foul-mouthed, fourth-wall-breaking superhero himself. Some Hollywood directors have stated they are fans of the Honest Trailers series, for example Joe and Anthony Russo

The narrator for Honest Trailers is Jon Bailey, who plays a character called Epic Voice Guy. Honest Trailers are written by a team of writers, usually 3-6 people. More than 45 people have received writing credits on Honest Trailers since 2012. The current team of writers consists of Spencer Gilbert, Joe Starr, Dan Murrell, Danielle Radford and Lon Harris. Spencer and Dan have contributed to around 300 Honest Trailers each, while Joe has contributed to almost 200.

Click here for the full list of Honest Trailers.

Inception Edit

Visual (7)

Hundreds of Honest Trailers have been produced since the series' inception in 2012.

According to co-creator Andy Signore, the Honest Trailers series was originally going to be a series called "Your Movie Sucks!" where the writers re-watched old movies and told viewers why they sucked. Signore felt this idea was tired and cliched, so suggested using the trailer format and voiceover narration. According to Metro, the first Honest Trailer was intended to be a one-off joke to mock the over-hyped 3D re-release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.

After that video's (relatively moderate) success, Screen Junkies chose to make more videos including Titanic, Twilight and Transformers. Some people presumed further Honest Trailers wouldn't be successful, as the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace was a very specific cultural phenomenon. However the next batch of Honest Trailers achieved even more views. The first Honest Trailer to truly break-out was Twilight. According to co-creator Signore, a key element in the success of The Phantom Menace and Twilight Honest Trailers was that both videos were shared by the website 9GAG, which increased their audience reach.

Signore explained that it wasn't until the team applied the format to beloved fan favorite The Dark Knight that they believed in the show's longevity. Since then, the series has been continued to over 300 episodes. In addition, two spin-off series have been created using the same format: Honest Game Trailers, originally produced in collaboration with YouTube channel Smosh Games and now produced by Fandom Games; and Honest Trailers Anime, produced exclusively for the paid subscription service Screen Junkies Plus.

In 2017, Screen Rant suggested that Honest Trailers became a success "almost by accident." The site wrote that the Screen Junkies channel "set out to explicitly build its brand; go back to the start of the channel and you find a slew of playful movie-themed videos attempting to tap into the zeitgeist, with Honest Trailers emerging as a success almost by accident after a single video mocking the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace."

Screen Rant also acknowledged that Honest Trailers rose to prominence at a similar time to CinemaSins' Everything Wrong With series and that both series depended on one another: "despite being disconnected, in the early days they each elevated the other, creating this new brand of criticism infused with humor and a balance of traditional film theory observations and more nitpicky, nerd-focused ideas; the sort of things that movie fans would notice and mock incessantly yet never allowed to take away from the film." The site argues the two series together formed "a new wave of film criticism that moved beyond academic essays and even traditional reviews (written or video) into a sort of internet-defined form."

Influences Edit

See main article: Influences

The Honest Trailers series has many influences. Honest Trailers are a subset of re-cut trailers, a form of mashup video that "uses footage from a movie or its original trailers to create a completely new context or one different from the original source material. The mashups are parody trailers that derive humor from misrepresenting original films" (from Wikipedia). Re-cut trailers have their roots in the fan practice of vidding which goes back all the way to the 1970's (from Wikipedia).

Additionally, some media commentators have noted the stylistic similarities between Honest Trailers and other film parodies. This includes other popular web videos, the seminal satirical magazine Mad, the cult film/comedy show Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the songs of parody musician Weird Al Yankovic.

See the main influences page for more information.

Style Edit

Don LaFontaine Trailer Mashup

Don LaFontaine Trailer Mashup

A mash-up of dozens of Don LaFontaine-narrated movie trailers from the 80s and 90s. This video humorously reveals many of the trailer tropes that the Honest Trailers series parodies.

Be honest, as in, NOT sarcastic...We have to call it like it is ~ Spencer Gilbert[1]
The series mimics the style of trailers popular in the 1980's and 1990's, known as the "In a world..." style of trailers, which was popularized by voice actors Don LaFontaine and Hal Douglas. As Audio Socket notes, "there’s a formula for movie trailers, and it’s so well-known that it’s become the source of satire and parody. Screen Junkies’ Honest Trailers, for instance, has racked up 6.4 million subscribers by playing on these stock elements in particular movie trailers for the delight of weekly audiences." The subject matter of Honest Trailers consists primarily of blockbuster films and popular short run TV series.

Summing Up The Moviegoing Experience Edit

GREEN

The Honest Trailers mock rating as it previously appeared.

The goal of the Honest Trailers series is to cut through advertising hype, and to humorously -- but accurately --portray the film's subject matter, style and quality. Honest Trailers' intent is to create "a perceptually accurate narrative reflection" of a film, albeit, one that is "often abridged for comical effect" (from Cross media promotion: entertainment industries and the trailer). A common misconception is that the series is ubiquitously negative about all films. However, good films are praised, often extravagantly, for example: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Die Hard, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Jungle Book (2016).

The writers try to avoid describing the plot in detail or nitpicking details only a super-fan would understand. Rather, they try to summarize how a typical audience member might interpret a film. Head writer Spencer Gilbert explains the principle like this: "Keep it simple. We could nitpick the movie to death, pointing out every plot hole and continuity error, but it’s our firm belief that no one cares or even remembers details like that for these big dumb action flicks. The trailer is there to sum up the general moviegoing experience, not take the viewer through it step-by-step."[1]

The series is known for humorously pointing out plot-holes, gaps in logic, mistakes and for poking fun at the cast and crew. However, an Honest Trailer also functions as a review of the film. The voiceover provides commentary on the characters, story, action, performances, direction, score, etc. For example, The Social Network Honest Trailer refers to the film's "snappy dialogue, slick directing and great performances." As such, the website Art + Marketing classifies Honest Trailers as a form of video essay, noting that Screen Junkies approach "involves criticizing a single movie with the same approach that you might see in a text review in a newspaper or magazine."

Putting Movies in Context Edit

Honest Trailers - Peter Pan (1953) Open Invideo 2-48 screenshot

The Honest Trailer for Peter Pan used a clip from Disney's 1946 film The Song of the South to put the movie in historical context.

Honest Trailers often refer to news stories, behind-the-scene drama and fan controversies that relate the to film. For example, the Justice League Honest Trailer referred to director Zack Snyder's personal tragedy, in addition to the corporate-bonus-related reasons why the release date was not changed. When making Honest Trailers for older films, the writers also draw on historical sources and refer to cultural shifts, for example the Honest Trailer for Peter Pan (1953) discusses and provides examples of racism from other early Disney movies.

The writers may also incorporate references to a film's ephemera and ancillary material, including sequels, TV spin-offs, toys, merchandising or advertising material. For example: the Honest Trailer for The LEGO Movie shows LEGO tie-in toys; the Honest Trailer for Ghostbusters 2 showed clips from the 1970's TV show, the Honest Trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle shows an advert Jack Black made as a child; the Honest Trailer for Shrek shows behind-the-scene animation blunders; the Honest Trailer for Showgirls shows scenes from the film with isolated audio. The purpose of using this material is sometimes to get a laugh, but sometimes to prove a point.

Additionally, Honest Trailers sometimes critique more than just the film; they also critique fandom, nostalgia, and the cultural significance of some films. For example, the dueling narrators in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Honest Trailer illustrated how polarized the Star Wars fandom had become. Likewise, the Ghostbusters reboot Honest Trailer called out online harassment. The two Honest Teasers that Screen Junkies have produced use a parody "trailer reaction" format to satirize fan culture more directly.

Honest Trailers - The Social Network Open Invideo 0-35 screenshot

The Honest Trailer for The Social Network included several Minions memes to humorously summarize Facebook.

Honest Trailers also incorporate numerous pop culture references to other movies, TV shows, songs, musicians, politics, current events, and internet memes. Sometimes these references are obvious, but other times they are obscure. The writers deliberately include obscure references ("one-percenters") knowing that only a tiny fraction of their audience will get them.

Point of View Edit

Honest Trailers are written from a subjective perspective - that of the narrator Epic Voice Guy. The writers incorporate Epic Voice Guy's (fictional) personal history and viewpoint into the videos. For example, kids movies are narrated from the perspective of a Dad taking his kid to the theater (e.g. in the Finding Nemo Honest Trailer, the narrator noted that the film made him re-evaluate his "entire adult life). In addition, numerous Honest Trailers are narrated from the perspective of a fanboy (e.g. the Batman: The Killing Joke Honest Trailer took the angle of a long-time fan of the comic book. The narrator objected to the film's "wannabe edgy" content as a fan of its edgy source material). Similarly, Honest Trailers for 80's and 90's movies are written from the perspective a grown adult who first saw the films as a child (e.g., in the Hook Honest Trailer, the narrator reflected that the movie was much darker and slower than he remembered as a kid). Additionally, Honest Trailers for romantic movies have been narrated from the perspective of an uninterested boyfriend (e.g. The Notebook) and an unsatisfied husband (e.g. in the Fifty Shades Darker Honest Trailer, the narrator complained about the film's bland sex scenes because he "has a dull marriage".).

Running Jokes Edit

Htstrip

The Honest Trailers logo filmstrip intro, used from July 2018.

Over the years, Honest Trailers have developed several running jokes, including honest titles, vault episodes, career retrospective episodes, 'stares', 'bewbs,' parody song lyrics and the intermittent appearance of a velociraptor that shouts Alan! See the tropes page for more information.

Screen Junkies also occasionally produce other Honest Trailers that don't fit within their usual scope of film/TV parody such as a 2015 video that parodied the digital media conference the NewFronts and a 2017 video that parodied their web series Flick Bait. In addition, two spinoff series have been created: Honest Game Trailers and Honest Trailers Anime.

Format Edit

Intro Edit

Deadpool 2 comments

Example of viewer suggestions at the beginning of an Honest Trailer. In this case (Deadpool 2), the comments were satirical.

Honest Trailers always start with screencaps of viewer comments suggesting which movie the team should do next. Hai Vision suggests that displaying comments fosters engagement and creates a sense of community: "it shows that this video topic was highly anticipated, and it gives the commenters on display public acknowledgement (and a small sense of personal satisfaction)."

All Honest Trailers also begin with a green title card featuring the Honest Trailers logo. This title card was originally designed to mimic the style of an American film rating.

Structure and Language Edit

Honest trailer core parts structure

The seven core parts of an Honest Trailer: 1. Introduction. 2. Details. 3. Setting. 4. Plot. 5. Characters. 6. Commentary. 7. Closing comments. From Genre Analysis of Honest Trailers as a Parodic Film Review

Honest Trailers typically start with the broadest comments about a film's historical/cultural context, genre or the director's career, and then get progressively more specific. In the Honest Trailer Commentary for Memento, head writer Spencer Gilbert discusses this structure in more detail. Descriptions can be quite lengthy and often use humorous interpretation. For example: The Emmys: "In a world where every network spends millions to get the attention of Emmy voters..."; Alice in Wonderland: "From director Tim Burton, the inspiration behind most Hot Topic merchandise..."

The narrator also speaks directly to the viewer and gives simple commands attached to lengthy descriptions of the setting, plot and characters. Examples: Pitch Perfect: "Meet Beca, a snarky, pretentious wannabe DJ who hates her dad for paying her tuition..."; Warcraft: "Journey to the land of Azeroth, where the kingdom of Stormwind is beset by orcs from the planet Draenor..." The most commonly used commands in the Honest Trailers series are "Suit up..." "Ride along..." and "Strap in..."

The narrator may make several evaluative observations in a row, before simply reacting to something on screen or sharing a funny fact about himself. For example, during the Ready Player One Honest Trailer, he interrupts his description of the film to scream in horror at a character's faint birthmark, and to gripe about his mother. These reactions serve two purposes: they are funny, and they make the videos seem more informal. In the Honest Trailer Commentary for the Honest Trailer Written by a Robot, head writer Spencer Gilbert describes this observation-reaction format as the rhythm of an Honest Trailer.

Honest Trailers often use humorous poetic devices, especially similes and metaphors. For example, the Honest Trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight describes the action as "like two radio shacks doing Karma Sutra in a hurricane," while the Honest Trailer for Aliens describes the film's aesthetic style as "like a sex toy factory made out of scorpions." Typically, these sorts of comments are well received in reviews, for example ScreenRant wrote that the opening line for The Room Honest Trailer ("the sheer amount of suck will collapse in on itself like a dying star, and explode in a supernova of unintentional genius") was "strangely poetic - and arguably accurate."

Starring Section Edit

April o nerd

In the Big Hero 6 Honest Trailer, the starring name for Honey Lemon was 'April O'Nerd,' a reference to her looking like the TMNT character April O'Neil, only nerdier.

Each trailer ends with a 'starring' section where the actors are given silly names - often a combination of puns and pop culture references, especially references to other fictional characters, song lyrics, old TV shows and the actors' family members. For example, the Catching Fire Catching Fire refers to Liam Hemsworth as "Baby Thor" and Donald Sutherland as "Jack Bauer's Dad."

The starring sections may also list common phrases, tropes and cinematic techniques used in the film or TV show. For example, the starring section of the Sherlock Honest Trailer showed montages of the characters texting, Moriarty licking stuff, Sherlock sniffing things, and Sherlock saying the word "obviously."

The 'starring' text is designed to mimic the text in the original movie. See picture from the Big Hero 6 Honest Trailer as example. The starring graphics are designed by UK motion graphics artist Robert Holtby.

Honest Title Edit

Swamp thing

The Honest Title for the Shrek Honest Trailer was 'Swamp Thing' a reference to Shrek's natural habitat and the DC comics character, Swamp Thing.

The videos culminates in an alternate title that aims to summarize the film or point out its most memorable feature. For example, the honest title for Cars was Money, in reference to the film's merchandising profitability. The Honest Title for Jurassic Park 3 was The One Where a Dinosaur Says Alan, in reference to the fact that the film is so lackluster that it is not known for any other feature.

The titles are designed to mimic the visual style of the original movies. See picture from the Shrek Honest Trailer as example. The honest titles are designed by UK motion graphics artist Robert Holtby. For a full list of honest titles, see the honest title page. For a full gallery of honest title images, see the Robert Holtby page.

Viewer comments Edit

The narrator always reads a selection of viewer comments in his "epic voice" at the end of each Honest Trailer. These comments are usually completely ridiculous. The Pubcast noted that this section "has become a familiar and well-liked part of the Honest Trailer experience. It’s also a sneaky way to get a lot of comments on their videos, but never mind that. It’s hard to mind when you can hear John Bailey say 'My llama crashed into a cactus,' just because someone asked him to." On other occasions, the comments are selected to pay tribute to a recently deceased screen legend by quoting lines from their movies. Celebrities honored in this way include Bill Paxton, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and many others.

Narration Edit

Jon Bailey

Jon Bailey.

Honest Trailers has had several narrators over the years. The longest-running narrator is Jon Bailey, a professional voice artist who also narrates real movie trailers. Bailey has been with the series since 2012 - his first Honest Trailers was episode 15, The Lord of the Rings. Bailey also voices the Honest Trailers spinoff series Honest Game Trailers and Honest Trailers Anime. Bailey's voice is strongly associated with the series - so much so that many viewers wrongly believe he makes the videos entirely on his own in his basement.[2]

Jon Bailey's voice-over persona is referred to as Epic Voice Guy and has become a character in his own right. Epic Voice Guy has fictional interests, a fictional family and fictional personality quirks that he shares in Honest Trailers for comedic effect (see the Epic Voice Guy page for more details).

Bailey's style of narration is heavily influenced by prominent voice artists Hal Douglas and Don LaFontaine. However, Bailey occasionally changes the style of narration to suit different genres, such as using a "rom-com" voice for The Notebook, and a "family movie" voice for Home Alone. He also imitated the voice from the actual Harry Potter trailers, which lead to a flood angry comments from people who thought Jon had been replaced.

Previous narrators such as Gannon Nickell have returned to Honest Trailers for special occasions, for example to provide contrasting narration for the highly divisive Star Wars films The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Now that The Last Jedi has been briefly mentioned on this page, please feel free to ignore everything else written here and talk about that at length in the comment section below.

Production Edit

The Making of Honest Trailers

The Making of Honest Trailers

This Screen Junkies Show video shows the behind-the-scenes making of Honest Trailers, using the episode Star Trek Into Darkness as an example.

See main article: Making of Honest Trailers

It takes about a week to make one episode of Honest Trailers. This process includes watching the film, taking notes, working those notes into a script, recording the narration, and editing the video. Up to a dozen people are directly involved in the production of each episode, including writers, editors, producers, narrators and graphic designers.

For more information, please see the main page about the making of Honest Trailers.

Film selection Edit

Schedule

The board showing the schedule of Honest Trailers for 2013. There are some gaps in the schedule, but other films are slotted in months in advance.

See main article: Film selection

The subject matter for Honest Trailers is extremely varied. The team regularly tackles blockbuster movies, high profile flops, prestige films, popular TV shows, and occasionally obscure/foreign TV shows. However, the writers tend to gravitate towards certain genres, especially action movies, science-fiction movies, superhero movies and kids movies. In general, Honest Trailers for popular films produce more popular Honest Trailers. Screen Junkies typically makes Honest Trailers for blockbuster movies to coincide with their release on digital/Blu-ray.

The writers frequently involve viewers in the process of film selection via suggestions in comments and fan polls. In addition, the writers are given more creative license for one out of every four Honest Trailers. This often results in a more eclectic choice of subject matter, such as the cult film Showgirls, the universally-panned but little-known crime film Gotti, and some truly preposterous flops like Robin Hood and Mortal Engines.

See the main page about film selection for more information.

Popularity Edit

You probably already know the Screen Junkies and their famous "Honest Trailers". The channel has become a key player in the YouTube game, with each video seen hundreds of thousands of times. The fake trailers are always dubbed with a deep voice enunciating and mocking the weak spots of the movies through irresistible jokes. ~ Arthur Cios[3]
Honest Trailers is the highest-viewed series on the Screen Junkies channel by a wide margin. In 2013, Tubefilter noted that "most of the traffic on Screen Junkies is driven by a single series, Honest Trailers." In addition, Tubefilter described Honest Trailers as Screen Junkies' "crown jewel." All Honest Trailers combined are a source of over 1 billion views.

In general, popular films produce the most popular Honest Trailers, a trend that is consistent across all seasons of the show. The highest viewed Honest Trailers of all time are from Season 1 to Season 3: Titanic, Game of Thrones Vol. 1 and Frozen.
Highest viewed honest trailers

The highest-viewed Honest Trailers on YouTube. Screenshot taken in October 2018.

In 2018, a typical Honest Trailer reached around 1 million YouTube views in its first week of release, but Honest Trailers for extremely popular movies often exceeded that number. For example, the highest-viewed Honest Trailer for 2018 was Avengers: Infinity War, which achieved over 7 million views in its first 6 months of release. Honest Trailers are also uploaded to Facebook and attract a significant amount of views on that platform.

Honest Trailers are particularly popular with people from younger demographics. PR Daily noted that the rising popularity of video essays like Honest Trailers is part of "YouTube's golden era" and coincides with the fading popularity of print newspaper film reviews among millennials. In the same article, PR Daily also wrote: "Millions of YouTube users, many of whom are millennials, are subscribing to an art form that was once relegated to film snobs and art enthusiasts. Younger consumers flock to YouTube because it’s accessible and feeds their appetite for immediate social media."

The popularity of Honest Trailers has declined somewhat in line with changes to the YouTube algorithm and increased competition in the digital space. The decrease in views is most noticeable from around Season 7 on, which coincided with major changes to the YouTube algorithm in 2016. The Honest Trailers writers have made several self-aware jokes about the palpable decrease in views, for example the Deadpool Honest Trailer labels Honest Trailers "some played-out web series," while the Deadpool 2 Honest Trailer derides the series as "a YouTube format that's been chugging along for six f*cking years, even though everyone knows they peaked with Frozen."

Tone and voice Edit

See main article: Tone and voice

Honest Trailers has a solid voice and it’s consistent and it’s regular and you know what you’re going to get, but I would argue that it wasn’t always like that.... Go back and watch Phantom Menace in 3D or watch The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not just the voice that’s different, it’s the feel, the tone. They’re a little angrier; they’re a little snarkier. But now that program has had time to find a consistent voice and a balance. ~ Joe Starr[2]
The tone and voice of Honest Trailers has evolved since the series' inception in 2012. Though the series has always taken an irreverent, mocking attitude towards movies, in its early days it used to be much harsher with its criticisms. The tone of Honest Trailers softened over time, at least partially in response to criticism of the series, but also as a result of changes to the writing staff and wider cultural shifts. Since 2014, the series has been known for calling out a film's flaws in a good-humored way.

See the main page about the series' tone and voice for more information.

Critical reception Edit

See main article: Critical reception of the Honest Trailers series

Transformers Age of Extinction

One of the most well-received Honest Trailers of all time is Transformers: Age of Extinction. Slate called it a "masterpiece" and potentially "the Citizen Kane of Honest Trailers."

Generally, the critical reception of the Honest Trailers series has been very positive. The Nerdist summarizes the strengths of the Honest Trailers series like this, "they say everything that we wish we could about the movies we love. No film escapes their watchful and hilariously snarky gaze. It’s always satisfying when they set their sights on some of the more, let’s say, success-challenged films like Jupiter Ascending and Fantastic Four or give us a bit of nostalgia by picking apart older films like 8 Mile and Terminator 2. Where the Honest Trailers really shine is when they lock onto fan-favorite films and tear them a new one as they did with blockbusters like Iron Man and Interstellar. Even Toy Story couldn’t avoid their treatment."

Many of the most critically well-received Honest Trailers include meta humor and playful twists on the established Honest Trailers format. In 2019, Ethan Anderton of Slash Film wrote that Screen Junkies' frequently meta approach "is the kind of stuff that makes me enjoy Honest Trailers more than any other ongoing web series with a certain schtick. Every now and then they figure out a fun way to take the style of a movie and use it to play with their own medium."

Some of the most critically well-received episodes include:

  • The Wolf of Wall Street, in which the writers playfully poke fun at the movie by including as many F-words as possible in the narration. CinemaBlend wrote that this video was "probably one of, if not, the best Honest Trailers they've ever assembled" and even suggested it was superior to the film's actual trailer because it sold the movie as an "entertainment experience," not a "commodity."
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction, which included a switch to Chinese narration mid-way through in a meta-reference to the film pandering to the Chinese market. Slate described it as a "masterpiece" and potentially "the Citizen Kane of Honest Trailers."
  • Deadpool, which features an appearance by Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds as the fourth-wall breaking superhero himself. The Guardian declared that "the Honest Trailer for Deadpool turns out to be an even better vehicle for the self-healing Marvel mutant’s peculiar brand of R-rated banter than the movie itself." 
  • La La Land, which parodied the mix-up at the 2017 Oscars ceremony by switching to Moonlight mid-way through. The Observer wrote it was an "Honest Trailers masterpiece" that "proves ‘Honest Trailers’ is the best YouTube series."

For more, see main article: Critical reception of the Honest Trailers series.

Industry response Edit

Publicity and Financial Benefits Edit

Within the film industry, Honest Trailers may be considered a form of publicity that promotes films. Charity Hess explains, "The movie industry has noticed Honest Trailer’s success which draws attention to their films, and despite some negative criticism, many films are now encouraging Honest Trailers to do an Honest Trailer analysis of the new releases.... Honest Trailers has a network within the film industry and with movie fans....Filmmakers are finding that this interaction increases buzz." Celluloid Junkie makes a similar point, noting that Honest Trailers "are helping market the very films they are spoofing." CNBC wrote"getting skewered [by Honest Trailers] has turned into a badge of honor for some filmmakers," and "some directors have even suggested in advance to "Honest Trailers" how to make fun of their films." In the same article, the site wrote, "nine times out of 10 filmmakers love the parodies."

Furthermore, film studios may benefit financially from Honest Trailers through taking a cut of YouTube ad revenue. Wired argued that "studios seem to be warming to the fact they can take ad revenue from YouTube clips with their content rather than ask that they be taken down."

Copyright and Fair Use Edit

Boyhood flagg

Writer/producer Dan Murrell reacted to a copyright strike made against the Honest Trailer for Boyhood.

Despite this, some Honest Trailers have been hit with copyright strikes from copyright holders. A notable example was the Honest Trailer for Boyhood, which was temporarily blocked. In 2016, The Outerhaven wrote: "Screen Junkies (Producers of the popular Honest Trailers series) ... get take down notices every other day because they are pointing out major flaws in Hollywood’s promotional system, this threatening their profits. So Hollywood responds by trying to remove the content."

Screen Junkies claim Honest Trailers are a form of parody, so their use of copyrighted material is covered under fair use. As part of a 2018 debate over frequent copyright strikes from one studio, Honest Trailers writer/producer Dan Murrell wrote, “Online film criticism is a huge part of new media and fair use is integral to allowing your favorite critics to make a living. Studios have to start using copyright rules sensibly and stop punishing the people who are giving their movies exposure and coverage.” (as quoted in this Polygon article).

Cultural impact Edit

Cap jeop

"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.

See main article: Cultural impact

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 Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as Kevin Feige, the producer of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.[4]

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!

See the main page about the series' cultural impact for more information.

Awards Edit

Honest Trailers Wins Writing - Streamy Awards 2016

Honest Trailers Wins Writing - Streamy Awards 2016

Honest Trailers wins the 2016 Streamy Award for 'Best Writing.'

Honest Trailers is one of the most acclaimed web series. It has been nominated at every major web series awards show, including the Streamy Awards, the Shorty Awards, the Webby Awards, the International Academy of Web Television Awards, and even the Emmy Awards.

Emmys Edit

Honest Trailers has been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Short Form Variety Series' four times. It is the only series to have been nominated four times and every year since the award was introduced. Honest Trailers is also among a minority of web series to have been nominated for this award. As Tubefilter notes, the Short Form Variety Series award was specifically introduced to honor web series, however, most of the nominees "are either direct companions to TV programs or are produced by TV networks." Tubefilter declared "the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences continues to show that it is too deferential to TV-adjacent programming to accurately recognize exemplary digital work."

  • 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Short Form Variety Series' - (Pending) - Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr (Producers)
  • 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Short Form Variety Series' - Nominee - Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, Joe Starr (Producers)
  • 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Short Form Variety Series' - Nominee - Andy Signore, Dan Murrell, Spencer Gilbert, Michael Bolton, Christina Kline (Producers)
  • 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Short Form Variety Series' - Nominee - Andy Signore (executive producer), Barry Blumberg (executive producer), Dan Murrell (producer), Spencer Gilbert (producer)

Streamys Edit

International Academy of Web Television Awards Edit

  • 2015 IAWTV: 'Best Comedy Series' (Winner - tied with "The Real Housewives of Horror")

Shorty Awards Edit

  • 2016 The Shorty Awards: 'Team Internet: Best Web Series' (Finalist)

Webby Awards Edit

  • 2019 The Webby Awards: 'Best Writing' (Winner)
  • 2017 The Webby Awards: 'Video Remixes/Mashups' - People's Voice
  • 2016 The Webby Awards: 'Video Remixes/Mashups' - People's Voice
  • 2015 The Webby Awards: 'Video Remixes/Mashups' (Webby Winner and People's Voice)
  • 2013 The Webby Awards: 'Video Remixes/Mashups' (Honoree)

Honest Trailers Commentaries Edit

Honest Trailer Commentaries - Justice League

Honest Trailer Commentaries - Justice League

2018's highest-viewed episode of Honest Trailers Commentaries was for Justice League.

Each Honest Trailer is accompanied by an Honest Trailer Commentary in which a panel of Honest Trailers writers watch and riff on an episode of Honest Trailers. This includes sharing their general thoughts on the movie, dissecting their writing process, and showing deleted jokes that didn't make it into the actual trailer. Honest Trailers Commentaries combine elements of traditional reaction videos, conventional audio commentaries, and comedy riffing tracks. Honest Trailers Commentaries videos are usually 20 - 30 minutes long. They are currently hosted by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell, and Joe Starr. Writers Lon Harris and Danielle Radford also sometimes appear.

Over 300 episodes of Honest Trailers Commentaries have been produced. They are currently posted to the Screen Junkies channel, every Wednesday at 10am PST. From July 2017 - July 2019, they were uploaded to the ScreenJunkies News YouTube channel. Earlier videos used to be available to Screen Junkies Plus subscribers, but are no longer available since the website/app was discontinued in 2018. Screen Junkies currently don't have any way to release their old content.

See the main Honest Trailers Commentaries page for more information.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gilbert, S. "Here’s What Goes into Making an Honest Trailer," IndieWire, October 9, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Napzok K. (Producer). (2017, February 2) From God To Improv - Joe Starr, The Napzok Files [Audio podcast]
  3. A, Cios (February 22, 2019), Ouch: The Honest Trailer Of The 2019 Oscars Hits Just The Right Spots, Konbini
  4. Sobon, N. June 30, 2019, Kevin Feige Reveals How Honest Trailers Affected Marvel Studios Films, CBR.com

External links Edit

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