Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-11-2019


O’Neil, K. 2019. Theatrical trailers in the modern world: Advertisement or art? Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Katherine O'Neil 2019.


Theatrical trailers are a complex medium which consist of elements of both advertisement and of art. As films and their marketing strategies have developed over time, one may question the “status” of a modern theatrical trailer, particularly as an advertisement or form of creative expression. My thesis addresses this question by providing an analysis of theatrical trailers and their status as advertisement and art; describing briefly the process of producing a trailer; and discussing the evolution of trailers and their changing role in the movie industry.

The basis of my argument relies upon several film studies books dedicated to the research of trailers in a variety of contexts. Supplemental research included reviewing reports published by the Motion Pictures Association of America, reading articles from newspapers and magazines online, and exploring contemporary forums and blogs. Through the process of researching and writing this paper, I have concluded that trailers, which are of course designed as advertisements, may be rightly considered art — as can other forms of advertising.