How Long Are Movie Previews and What Are They For?

Key Takeaways
  • Movie previews are played in cinemas to attract viewers and create buzz and hype for upcoming and current releases.
  • On average, movie previews are 20-30 minutes long and the duration is also affected by factors like genre, target audience, theatre popularity, pre-show content, and more.
  • If you want to skip movie previews, you can arrive 15-20 minutes late. On the flip side if you don't mind watching previews you can come early to enjoy a glimpse of future movies.

Whether it’s for capturing attention or anticipation, movie previews have slowly become a big part of the cinema world. Some people love watching them while others try to find workarounds to avoid sitting through them. Whatever the case, it’s good to know how long the movie previews are to help you enjoy the cinema experience according to your preferences. So, let’s dive in!

What’s the point of movie previews?

Why Do Cinemas Have Movie Previews?

From hiring actors to creating stunning visuals, making movies isn’t an easy job. And to be a big hit, movies need to make a ton of money. For that to happen, it needs to grab the people’s attention. That’s where movie previews come in.

Movie previews also called theatrical trailers serve as a promotional tool for upcoming or current releases. They aim to showcase the best bits of a movie to entice viewers into watching the featured movies. While trailers are available on the web, these previews ensure nobody misses out and are sort of forced to watch them.

In addition to being a promotional strategy, movie previews also give viewers a sneak peek into the films that are currently out and some that will be rolling out in the future. These previews are crafted with attention, providing an exciting glimpse into the storyline, characters, and visuals of a movie.

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How Long Are Movie Previews?

According to AMC Theaters — an American movie theater chain — movie previews are often 20 to 30 minutes long with each trailer taking up 20 seconds to 3 minutes. This means that you can at least expect 6-8 trailers throughout the entire duration. While 2 minutes might sound short, it’s quite enough to showcase the highlights of a movie without spoiling the surprise.

AMC Theaters

Apart from AMC, Cinemark shows about 15 minutes worth of movie previews, and Regal also generally runs 20 minutes of trailers. However, this is just an average length as several factors affect the duration of the movie previews.

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Factors Affecting Movie Previews Duration

Unless you know the guy playing the movie at the theater, there isn’t a way to perfectly determine the length of movie previews. But worry not, there are a few things that can affect the duration of movie previews.

1. Movie Genre

Different movie genres have different preview lengths. For instance, most action movies have longer previews, showing off several action sequences to grab viewers. Similarly, thrillers and dramas also fall in the same category as they have more dialogue in their trailers.

On the other hand, animated movies often have shorter previews as they only rely on visuals to keep the audience engaged rather than dialogues or action sequences.

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Different movie genres

2. Target Audience

The length of movie previews depends on who the movie is for. Previews for family movies are a bit longer to catch the interest of both kids and adults. For films aimed at specific groups of people, the previews are designed to match what those viewers like. This way, filmmakers make sure the preview speaks directly to the audience they want to attract.

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3. Current Playing Movie

While this might sound a little skeptical it’s quite true that if you are going to a cinema during a blockbuster screening there’s a chance you are going to have longer previews. Companies know that a $150 million opening weekend for a superhero movie will generate a lot of interest and they leverage it by making you sit through 20 or even 30 minutes of previews.

What’s the current playing movie?

4. Popularity of Cinema Theaters

Big theaters like Cinemark, Regal, and AMC show longer previews than smaller local cinemas. This is because these major chains have strong ties with advertisers, leading to more demand (and money) for showing ads.

5. Pre-Show Content

Pre-show content in theaters refers to everything you see on the screen before the actual movie starts. This includes ads, announcements, and promotional stuff, not just previews. It makes the pre-show experience longer, so when estimating how long previews will be, you need to consider this extra time too.

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What Time Should You Show Up To Your Movie?

Now that you know how long movie previews usually end up taking, the last thing left is whether you should come to the cinema at the showtime mentioned on your ticket or should you show up late. Well, it all depends on your preference.

If you just want to get right into the action without having to sit through 20 minutes of advertisements and promotions, you should come roughly 15-20 minutes after the time given on your ticket. This means that if the movie starts at around 9:00, showing up at 9:15 is probably going to save you some time without missing out on anything.

Check your movie ticket

On the other hand, if you are someone who enjoys watching movie previews and wants to know about other interesting releases, nothing is stopping you from getting to the theater even 30 minutes earlier.

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Movies Previews: Yay or Nay?

Movie previews aren’t only a great promotional tactic but also a fun way to check out other upcoming releases. However, being forced to sit through a 20-minute-long preview isn’t the best definition of fun for some people. While the length of move previews depends on several factors, we hope this article has helped you set your time expectations accordingly.


What are post-credits scenes?

Post-credits scenes are short extra scenes that appear after some movies or TV shows and offer additional information, tease future events, or provide surprises. They’re quite common in blockbuster films, especially superhero movies.

What’s the difference between a teaser and a trailer?

Teasers and trailers are both promotional videos to get people excited about movies or shows, but they’re a bit different. Teasers are short (15-60 seconds) and come out early to create curiosity without giving away too much. Trailers are longer (1-3 minutes) and show more details, coming out closer to the release date. Teasers tease, trailers tell more.

Is watching a movie trailer going to spoil it for me?

Watching a movie trailer might give you a sneak peek at some scenes and the overall story, but it could also reveal surprises. If you don’t want any spoilers and prefer to be surprised, you might want to skip trailers and go into the movie without watching them.


Hamid Murtaza

Whether it’s troubleshooting technical issues or breaking down the Internet culture, Hamid is there to make it simple for his readers. With a deep passion for writing, Hamid loves to explore different ways to convey ideas using his words. When not problem-solving, you can find him making streaks on Duolingo.