Music Can Make or Break a Movie Trailer

Music choice in movie trailers is the finishing touch that can lead to the success (or downfall) of a trailer. Choose the wrong song and you could push away potential viewers (and lots of cash)…but when the right song is chosen, it can make the trailer epic.

Just last week while I was catching up on some needed zzz’s, a familiar dubstep/electronic song nudged me out of a deep slumber. What I woke to somewhat blew me away…in a bad way. Heard of Red Tails yet? Well if not, it’s a WWII movie. I’ll be the first to admit I love dubstep, even it if it has turned mainstream. Well, this trailer mixed WWII with Porter Robinson’s “Unison (Knife Party Remix)”, and for some reason when a pilot screamed (which isn’t in this Youtube version) “Take that Mr. Hitler!”, the two didn’t seem cohesive.

This movie is supposed to be an inspirational tale of overcoming the battles of racism…and mixing the fist-pumping party background music gives the movie a futuristic vibe, when it’s supposed to be set in the 1940’s.

I admit: It’s a challenge picking the correct type of music for trailers, but when done right it leaves the audience counting down the days until the premiere, and basically dripping with anticipation. These next three examples did an excellent job with their music choices. 

1.) The Pineapple Express “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.

M.I.A. was a little eccentric, but nonetheless this song made everyone pull out finger guns during the chorus. This song was perfect for the trailer, and set the good-mood vibe for the movie.


2.) Garden State “Let Go” by Frou Frou

I may be a little partial to this trailer because the entire album was epic, but adding Frou Frou in the teaser trailer was purely genius. The movie was weird (in an awesome way), so naturally a weirdish song was almost the missing piece to the puzzle.

3.)Schindler’s List “Exodus” by Wojciech Kilar

It may be old, but this trailer did it right. Clearly this movie is jam packed with emotion, so including a concert piece without words was just the right touch.

Want some other good examples of good music in trailers? Check these out.

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