Ok, so the idea here is to provide a small breakdown of the 10 most popular movie trailers of the past month and go over the different styles and instrumentations in them, maybe analyze the trends, etc. I do this for myself (and have been doing it for some time now, somewhat in the style of Hit Songs Deconstructed but much lighter in the amount of data). I thought it would be cool to share it every month, so here we go.
First, a list of the 10 most watched movie trailers as it stands on YouTube today (November 1st, 2016)
1. “Dangal” – 3:26 – 27,374,977 views
2. “Befikre” – 2:41 – 26,499,081 views
3. “Power Rangers” – 2:30 – 19,331,575 views
4. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” – 1:49 – 16,816,071 views
5. “The Boss Baby” – 1:58 – 16,325,789 views
6. “Wajah Tum Ho” – 2:44 – 16,151,040 views
7. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – 2:38 – 14,794,975 views
8. “Logan” – 1:47 – 14,735,622 views
9. “Kaabil” – 2:22 – 14,702,880 views
10. “Ishq Junoon” – 1:36 – 8,201,685 views
Average length: 2 minutes and 21 seconds.
This trailer consists of 3 sections.
First section: 1:09
Second section: 1:20
Third section: 0:36
Most prominent instrumentation:
Section 1: Trumpet
Section 2: Backing Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Section 3: Voice, Acoustic Guitar and Percussion
This trailer consists of a single song with several breaks for character dialogues that are not underscored.
The most prominent instrumentation is synth and a Pungi flute (a traditional Indian folk music instrument) as well as vocals later, as the trailer progresses.
This trailer consists of 2 sections.
First Section: 0:54
Second Section: 1:27
Most prominent instrumentation:
Section 1: Source music, more specifically Halsey’s “I Walk the Line”. Piano and female vocals.
Section 2: Electric Guitar, Strings, Synth, Orchestral Percussion.
The main theme of the Power Ranger series can be heard played by a low synth at the beginning and ending of the trailer.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”
This particular trailer consists of a single section with orchestral music.
The most prominent instruments as the trailer advances are an Organ, Synths and a driven Percussion. As the trailer reaches it’s climax, it underscores very softly a conversation with a synth and then ends with percussion and a haunting boy soprano voice.
The Boss Baby
Source music for this particular trailer. In this case, it is “Stuck In The Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel. Acoustic guitar, Electric Slide Guitar, Drums and Male vocals. The song is cut to fit the trailer.
“Wajah Tum Ho”
Source music for this one as well. “Wajah Tum Ho” by Mithoon being the prominent one in the trailer. It features piano, female vocals, percussion and an R&B style.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
This is a traditional orchestral score (of course, Star Wars!). It starts with a hint of a traditional Star Wars theme, which is the Force Theme at the beginning. After that, we get some driving strings with an Ostinato that takes us through the entire trailer. Lower strings and brass come in, as well as a small hint of the Imperial March theme. Then we get a break and it comes back with a lot of percussion and synths before reaching the climax.
More source music. This time it is Johnny Cash’s “Hurt”. Beautiful song and fits the trailer and what seems to be the theme of the movie very nicely. The instrumentation is Guitar and Voice at the beginning, but percussion (which is not in the original song) is added for intensity towards the end.
Traditional Indian music for this trailer at the first section, I think. I haven’t been able to pinpoint the original song. After the first section we get a more hybrid track with some orchestral percussion but it is not significant.
More contemporary music (can you tell I prefer trailers with a more orchestral edge?). One section, Electric Guitar, Piano, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Piano and Male vocals towards the end. One section.
Personal conclusions for the past month:
As we’ve been seeing more and more, source music is being used to replace the traditional trailer music that we’ve been accustomed. For the first time in I don’t know how long I haven’t heard the Horns of Doom in any of the trailers. Thank goodness.
I might just ignore trailers with source music in the next breakdown, as I feel that my main interest is in the analysis of custom tailored pieces.
An interesting fact is that the trailers that are scored from start to finish do not contain any breaks in the songs. They were properly underscored and thus the music did not need to stop to allow the people on screen to say their lines. The two fully orchestral scores (Pirates and Star Wars) had only one break, near the end before reaching a more climactic section, and the Power Rangers one had only one break two after the traditional scoring begin, near the end as well.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. I promise I will be streaming sometime soon, I haven’t gotten around to it as I am quite busy at the moment composing some custom tracks for a client. I think I might be free next week to do it on Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned for that by following me on Twitter
Have a great week!