Arousing the audience: The two-peak structure of drama film trailers

Film trailers are considered the most important marketing tool for a feature film; however, they have rarely been discussed in audience research. This article examines audiences’ emotional responses to film trailer content based on an exploratory study using skin conductance to measure emotional arousal as well as self-reports on recall, evaluation and the desire to see the film. The results indicate that it is not the overall level of arousal that is likely to affect these factors, but instead a specific pattern of arousal that allows variation and build-up to memorable scenes. Based on the analysis of four drama film trailers, we suggest that a two-peak structure provides an optimal arousal curve.

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