Red Band Trailers Will Play Again in Regal Theaters!
The times are changing. I remember once seeing a red band trailer in an actual movie theater, but that time has since passed, or so we thought. In a shockingly brilliant move, Regal Entertainment Group announced this weekend that it would again permit red band trailers to show in its theaters! Regal, who also runs the United Artists (UA) theater chain, operates around 527 theaters, which equates to some 6,388 screens across the country. Nearly 10 years since the last red band played, we're finally getting back to the norm - Regal will start running them on a case-by-case basis, although they've always been featured here on FS.net and across the internet.
Back in the day, red band (or restricted) trailers used to show up all the time in front of R-rated movies. But a 2000 Federal Trade Commission report that criticized the entertainment industry for marketing violent entertainment to children caused the movie theaters to buckle in fear. They were worried that the trailers would offend patrons or that a red band could accidentally show up on a G or PG movie, and thus most theaters instated an anti-red band policy that has lasted until now. To give you all an example of how long ago it was, American Pie from 1999 was the last red band trailer that Universal ran in theaters.
Regal has been testing red bands in their art house cinemas and haven't had any issues at the theater level. They're using the digital revolution to maintain stronger control over which trailers play, thus eliminating the worry that a red band trailer will show up in front of a movie that it shouldn't. Digital movie theaters have an easier tracking and coordination system that doesn't involve building 35mm prints from scratch anymore. Regal's Senior VP of Marketing Dick Westerling explains, "Based on the discussions we've been having, Regal has made the decision to program red band trailers on a case-by-case basis. We're confident that we can execute the new policy successfully."
Given that, according to the numbers, Regal is the largest theater chain in the country, this is a very strong move. We're hoping that the other large chains take notice as well - AMC and Cinemark - and consider playing red bands again, too. There really is no harm to showing them. If anything, they help the theater because they better promote R-rated movies that otherwise have a harder time finding an audience. If they're worried about offending the audience, that's for the customer to deal with. If they chose to go to an R-rated movie, they should be able to handle an R-rated trailer.
I know that in theory, news about red band trailers showing in theaters isn't too exciting, especially when you can already watch them on FS.net. However, to me at least, this shows that Regal isn't afraid to bend the rules that the other theater chains won't and are still looking for ways to adapt and improve for the future. I'm incredibly impressed that they made this decision and I hope it holds up across the nation as they begin showing the red band trailers. The first one I'd suggest they show - Pathology.