Behind the Scenes

The Minority Report Trailer

Big-budget movies require big-budget marketing, and you can bet every second of the trailer is accounted for, in impact. We get the inside scoop on Spielberg’s new flop.

[ watch trailer ]

Fox Entertainment Group Ass’t Director of Marketing Chris Erskine: All right, Minority Report!

Minority Report Associate Producer Michael Doven: Yes!

Erskine: Who’s stoked?

Editor Katherin Combee, A.C.E.: Over here!

Erskine: Quiet! Listen! What is that I hear? Way off in the distance? Shh! Lean in close…what is that?

Doven: That’s the sound of a huge blockbuster heading our way.

Erskine: That’s right.

Combee: I’ve got the trailer generator fired up and ready to go. It’s already come up with the narration.

Erskine: Don’t be coy, give us whatcha got.

Combee: ‘In a world where crimes are st—’

Doven: No.

Combee: But—

Doven: No ‘in a world.’

Erskine: What do you mean no ‘in a world?’ ‘In a world’ is our bread and butter. Test audiences love ‘in a world.’ The people like knowing a movie’s going to be ‘in a world.’

Doven: Steven wants something fresh.

Erskine: Really. Well I got two fresh letters for Steven: A to the motherfuckin’ I. OK? You tell Fresh Steven he doesn’t have a lot of leeway right now, and in fact the whole point of this trailer is going to be: This ain’t no Artificial Intelligence.

Combee: That could work as the tagline, Chris. Like, ‘This ain’t no A.I. This is the real deal.’

Erskine: Type that in. Are there any kids in the footage?

Combee: Not that I noticed.

Erskine: Good, because I want no kids, no teddy bears. I want zero percent Robin Williams. This should be the anti-A.I. In the first twenty seconds I want a gun-cock and at least three broken windows. I want the kids to know there’re no robots whining for their mommies in this one.

Combee: We’ve got robot spiders, though.

Erskine: But that’s scary, right? That’s not cute. Show of hands—robot spiders: scary or cute? Scary, they’re scary, don’t even bother raising your hands. So we’ve got scary robot spiders, things getting broken and shot at. I’m hoping there’s a fireball somewhere in here.

Doven: Chris, I thought I sent you the treatment. While there are action elements, this is not an action film, per se, but rather a film about Tom Cruise in the future.

Erskine: OK, Kathy, spiders and shooting but don’t skimp on the Tom.

Combee: What if we open with Tom at work, in command, confident, maybe even cocky. He’s good at what he does.

Erskine: Maybe even the best.

Doven: Don’t forget the biceps. We had to pay ILM twice our usual fee and I want to see a return.

Combee: What level should I set the WF-ABS [White Flashes with Accompanying Blasts of Sound]?

Erskine: Level Nine.

Combee: Chris, be reas—

Erskine: I said Level Nine. And I want them hitting right at the beginning, during the studio logos.

Doven: We’d also like three or four shots of Tom showing romantic feelings for a woman.

Combee: Uh, I don’t know if we have any of that. Let’s see…

Erskine: There, he’s pulling that bald lady out of the bath and dragging her around. That’s love right there. I did that just last night.

Doven: She’s too androgynous. Ideally there’d be someone with clearly defined cleavage and Tom could be, you know, winking at her, or saving her from something or maybe a KOC [Kiss with Orbiting Camera]. I mean, anything, really.

Combee: There’s a shot of him holding someone and saying ‘I love you.’

Doven: Is it Penelope Cruz?

Combee: Could be anybody.

Doven: You’ve got approval to superimpose. I’ll take Penelope Cruz, Halle Berry, I don’t care. Insert something from Top Gun if you have to. We just don’t want Tom’s fans to question his sexuality.

Combee: We’ve got an OLG [One-Liner with Gun] here, I could drop that in pre-tagline.

Erskine: Perfect. Make sure you kill the music right then.

Doven: Definitely. Draw all attention to Tom being manly with the gun. He knows how to handle himself in a direct and purely heterosexual manner.

Erskine: Great. OLG, bam, then, ‘On June 21st, the intelligence…gets…real’ or whatever we said before.

Combee: How about ‘On June 21st, minorities…get…reported.’

Erskine: Yeah, fabulous, that’ll knock ‘em dead in the urban markets. How about, ‘Get ready for…Cruise control.’

Doven: Tom was pushing for ‘On June 21st, everybody…runs.’

Combee: ‘Everybody runs?’

Erskine: Makes it sound like everyone’s gonna be running from the theater. ‘Mama mia, that fairy Tom Cruise and that hack Spielberg, together at last—everybody, run!’ Plus I think there’s a rule against using the word ‘runs’ in promos.

Combee: Anyway, you can’t have a two-word tagline. It sounds too weak with the pause in between.

Doven: It’s better than the six-word monsters you see over at Columbia. They eat up half the trailer—’The…future…has…a…bad…attitude.’

Erskine: Hey, that’s good, use that.

Doven: Universal Soldier beat us to it. And don’t forget Tom and Steven get title cards.

Combee: Is it ‘Oscar nominee Tom Cruise?’

Erskine: What the hell did he get nominated for?

Combee: Losin’ It.

Doven: No, the Oscar mentions only go on ‘proudly presents’ pictures. We don’t want to alienate the action fans.

Combee: So I guess I’ll take out ‘With Max von Sydow, star of like twenty Ingmar Bergman flicks.’

Erskine & Doven: [ laughter ]

Combee: And: ‘Based on a story by Philip K. Dick.’

Erskine: Quit it, Kathy, you’re killing me over here. OK so we get the tagline and then move right into the Final Montage.

Combee: I assume you want the FM to be forty separate shots in eight seconds.

Erskine: Check ASTM Standard E1215. I heard it got revised last quarter and now we’re up to forty-seven.

Doven: What music are you going to use there? We need some serious bombast. Something intense. We’ve got Tom jumping, Tom swimming, Tom shooting, Tom driving, Tom in a jetpack. The audience is getting a lot of Tom variety here but I think they need some musical cues to focus their emotional reaction.

Erskine: Good point. Should they be laughing? Cheering? Scared? The robot spiders make me think: scared.

Doven: They should be worried about Tom’s well-being. ‘What has Tom gotten himself into this time?’ Something like that. ‘Tom is being threatened by a wide range of enemies and that concerns me.’

Combee: In that case we have to go with the music from Aliens.

Erskine: Wait, is that: Buh. Buh-buh-buh-BUH. Buh-buh-BUH-BUH.

Combee: Sort of.

Erskine: Didn’t they already use that in the trailer for…what was it, the one with the volcano.

Combee: Dante’s Peak?

Erskine: The other one.

Doven: Volcano.

Erskine: Yes!

Combee: It’s in both of them. And in Broken Arrow. And From Dusk Till Dawn. And Lake Placid. And The Abyss. And Timecop.

Erskine: Jesus. Can’t beat that track record. Let’s run with it.

Doven: Everybody…runs.

All: [ laughter, high-fives ]


TMN Contributing Writer Joshua Allen is a complex and exciting young man. He is a hard worker and always gives 110 percent. He is a people-person unless that person is a crab and not pulling their weight for the team. If enthusiasm and get-up-and-go are drugs, then he’s a hardcore drug addict. He’s pretty obviously an only child. He lives in Fireland, USA. More by Joshua Allen