Movie Trailers Need to Get Shorter, NATO Says

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Promotional material should not hang in theaters more than four months before a film is released

When it comes to movie trailers, quick and dirty is the rule of the game, the National Association of Theatre Owners said in new marketing guidelines it released Monday.

Trailers should not exceed two minutes in length, the exhibitor group said, and promotional in-theater materials should not be displayed more than 120 days before a film hits theaters. Many trailers are two and a half to three minutes in length, according to Wired.

NATO’s guidelines are described as “voluntary,” but if they are embraced they could impact when audiences get their first look at summer movies or Oscar contenders. In addition to in-theater promotional banners and posters, NATO says marketing should not heat up until 150 days prior to a film’s release.

That means moviegoers eager to find out what’s just around the corner in 2015, may be out of luck.

There will be exemptions, however. Each distributor gets two films a year that they can market in any way they see fit.

A NATO spokesman told TheWrap that the guidelines would be enforced by “By cooperation and consistency,” and noted that the Motion Picture Association of America’s guidelines on trailer length were also voluntary.

NATO is the main lobbying arm for theater owners. In April 2013, its executive board voted to move forward to create industry-wide guidelines over concerns that trailers were getting bloated and giving away key plot points.