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Are movie trailers too long?

Trailers at Coolidge Corner Theatre. Some love them, some don’t. Now, Hollywood is asked to reduce them.
Trailers at Coolidge Corner Theatre. Some love them, some don’t. Now, Hollywood is asked to reduce them.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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One minute after the 6:45 p.m. listed starting time for “The Hangover Part III” at the AMC Loews Boston Common, a half-full theater darkened and fell silent except for the crunching of popcorn. Familiar green light bathed rows of upturned faces. Twenty minutes, and seven previews later, the featured film began.

This routine, bemoaned and beloved by moviegoers, is now being debated.

The National Association of Theater Owners is asking Hollywood studios to reduce the maximum length of trailers down to two minutes and to advertise movies that are four months away from release or less.

Despite these worries, many moviegoers say they love trailers the way they are. According to Monica Brady, who coproduces the Golden Trailer Awards, we are in a “golden age” of trailers. Film historian Eric Schaefer says that trailers have barely changed in the last 80 years. Independent theaters go easy on trailers — they trust consumers to act without pervasive prompting.

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