Red Band Trailers Will Play Again in Regal Theaters!

March 17, 2008
Source: Hollywood Reporter

red band trailer

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 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 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.

Find more posts: Movie News, Opinions



"There really is no harm to showing them." It would depend. "Saving Private Ryan" was rated R due to lots of violence and bad language. Great historical film. No problem with it. I would have a problem however if I had seen a red band trailer that had gratuitous violence or nudity/sex scenes before the movie. I don't go to movies to see that kind of crap. So, I am hoping Regal will really do this on a "case by case" basis - associate red band trailers by content or genre. Don't just throw up any trailer in front of any rated R movie.

Art on Mar 17, 2008


The problem, though, with redband trailers is that they give the marketing folks even more of an excuse to give things away. Just take the one for No Country For Old Men. Yes it's a cool trailer, but if I'd have seen it beforehand it would have lessened the impact of a couple of scenes.

Ricky Roma on Mar 17, 2008


I have to agree with Art...I don't want to see the "Pathology" red band trailer in front of "A Few Good Men" or "Basic" b/c I'm not going to the movies for the gratuitous sex or nudity. Having said that, I wouldn't mind seeing red band trailers for movies like "Basic" or "T2" that showed a little more edge than a green trailer. Case by case is the way to go...

BigNate on Mar 17, 2008


i work at one of the Regal Cinemas. and im stoked.

mattg on Mar 17, 2008


Everyone always criticized the MPAA for their double-standard - being far more permissive of violence than they are of sex. But judging from the comments here, I'd say most people are the same way. We want the violence, but no sex, please.

Michael on Mar 17, 2008


I really think that this is a horrible idea.

Ryan on Mar 17, 2008


How is this horrible? You guys really are missing the point. And to Art and Michael, I forgot to mention it, but in the original article they talked about how they'd tie specific genres of red band. As in, they wouldn't show gratuitous sex in front of something like Schindler's List and vice versa. But if you go to see America Pie and you get a red band trailer for some other sex comedy with nudity, then you shouldn't be complaining?

Alex Billington on Mar 17, 2008


I gotta agree with Ryan on this one. There's certain content a parent is okay and not okay with their children viewing. My dad was alright with taking me to see the graphically violent "Apocalypto" because blood and guts don't offend him. However, he hates nudity and profanity. So I don't think its up to the Regal to assume that its fine to air them

Micah on Mar 17, 2008


Alex, I'm with you. You made my point...although I didn't say it as well as you did. If I'm there to see a violent military or sci fi movie, I don't mind seeing trailers with similar content. But mixing genres would lead to issues I think. There's lots of dad's that will take their sons to see a great R rated military movie, but wouldn't want their sons to see a trailer like "Pathology". As you say, if you're there to see "American Pie", you shouldn't be shocked if you see other sexual content in the previews.

BigNate on Mar 17, 2008

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