Sign up for our Headlines morning newsletter.

The most interesting things on the web, handpicked each day. Sign up for our Headlines morning newsletter.

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