A Look At Green and Red Band Trailers

This is the card for the “green band” trailers. This shows that the preview is okay for all audiences. This was changed in April 2009 from “all audiences” to “appropriate audiences” to “to accompany this feature.” This lets the viewer know the trailer won’t include violence, swearing, sex or anything else deemed inappropriate.

If a film trailer doesn’t follow the MPAA guidelines it is preceded by a red band graphic. These were uncommon before 2000. In 1999 Showgirls and American Pie were some of the first ones to take advantage in the new wave of mature trailers. These are intended for a “mature audience” and can only be shown theatrically before films rated R, NC-17 or Unrated films. Nudity, cursing, and almost everything else is fair game.

There are still some limitations like “dismemberment or excessive gore” or “genetalia/pubic hair.”

With the rise of the Internet and people consuming their trailers from YouTube instead of the theaters, red band trailers are becoming more and more common. This can really help a film. With raunchy comedies, a lot of the punchlines and overall tone of a film can be lost when converted to a preview for general audiences. Sometimes it works well, like when a character calls someone a “mother f — — “ and then there’s a quick cut to an explosion. Other times whole lines will be changed and it won’t have the same effect.

Typically the red and green band trailers are pretty similar. For the most part they’re usually indistinguishable aside from the inclusion of a few “shits” and “fucks.”

Yellow Band trailers popped up in 2007 to show that the preview is only to be shown on the Internet. Rob Zombie’s Halloween was one of the first ones but this never really took off.

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