Tracking Trailers: Tracking Trailers
by Alex Keen
Published: April 30, 2001
Back with a vengeance – I bring you New Line Cinema’s “Cheaters.”
Cheaters (CHEAT) – Starring Trevor Fehrman, Matthew Lawrence, Mary Tyler Moore, and Maggie Lawson. Written and Directed by Andrew Gurland. Released by New Line Cinema on September 14, 2001. Rated: PG-13. Trailer: Medium Res Real Player
The trailer begins with a pretty dramatic bass build up, meant to convey tension and importance. The scribbled text evokes a kind of horror, until a pager goes off. “It looks like someone just got a page from a gentleman named Galileo.” Someone finally decided to steal the hacker mentality of David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) of WarGames and his interest in changing grades, and revamping it for a more modern era.
The trailer seems to borrow pretty readily from the John Hughes era of high school hi-jinks, focusing on the bad students and their propensity to entertain. With only one gratuitous shot of scantily clad women, “Cheaters” seems to be more interested in avoiding “American Pie” clone syndrome – yet also avoiding fairytale drama in order to avoid “She’s All That” multiplicity.
Because this film was originally to be distributed by Destination Films (now defunct), the trailer seems to fit the New Line style of marketing. While the trailer may look good, the film could still be a turkey. Here are some prime examples from each of these distributors: New Line -"Little Nicky" & "Detroit Rock City"
Destination Films - "Buying The Cow" & "Whipped"
While the trailers are similar to one another in many ways, the final films share little in common. Although “Little Nicky” is not regarded as one of last years’ best comedies, the production value is superior to anything Destination has released.
Similarly, “Detroit Rock City” was much more inventive and less derivative in its’ attempts to gross out and shock the audience. Because it is not really about K.I.S.S. as much as it appears, the film ends up being an undiscovered gem that attacks the stereotype that gross-out comedy has to be a waste of time.
Overall the trailer for “Cheaters” is well made and marketed, especially without a bankable star at the forefront.
For the target audience, high school students are a given. A PG-13 rating guarantees everyone interested in seeing “Cheaters” should be able to get in. If the movie is smart enough, it could also grab the attention of college and gen X moviegoers.
With only one bra and panties (or is it just a bathing suit?) shot the trailer also does not appear to discriminate on gender difference. If New Line Markets well enough, and the film is up to snuff, it may do as was as "Final Destination."
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