New Pet Peeve: Trailers Using Other Movies’ Soundtracks


The first time I saw The Dark Knight Rises this weekend, all the trailers were pulled because one of them, Gangster Squad shows a group shooting up a movie theater (how eerie is that?). The second time, I finally got to see the teaser trailer for Man of Steel. Little did I know that it would get me more hyped for The Hobbit than the new Superman film.

Maybe I watch too many movies, but I really don’t like this trend of borrowing music from other features to make your movie more epic. Any LOTR fan was instantly having flashbacks to Gandalf’s (temporary) death at the the Bridge of Khazad Dum where this memorable vocal track played. But this isn’t a new trend. I was similarly irked when The Adjustment Bureau apprporiated the most memorable track from the Sunshine soundtrack, and I’m pretty sure about eight different films have used the “Requiem for a Dream” score over the years.

Find your own damn music! Reusing an old track (even a good one) just makes you seem like you’re stealing someone else’s epicness rather than making your own.

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  1. I’m sorry, I usually agree with you, but can’t right now. You have to understand that a trailer is usually assembled long before the score is finished (since music is one of the last things to be made in the process of film making), so in most instances this just isn’t possible. Unless it is a trilogy where once composer does them all and there is a central theme to play, most every trailer will be using either a classical piece (Carmina Burana nine times out of ten), a contemporary song, or someone elses soundtrack (see The Two Towers using Clint Mansel’s “Lux Eterna” from Requiem for a Dream, or countless others using it).

    In fact, just for fun let’s see how many trailers we can find that actually use music composed for the film. My money is on that number being a very small one.

  2. I find it more appaling to see music copied in the actual movie. For example Sunshine’s music is also used in Kick Ass.

    Considering the amount of money that is spend to make a dozen trailers or so by different companies( and only one is chosen and finished, I’m not surprised that they use unoriginal music.

  3. I see where you are coming from Paul, but remember it has only been a few weeks now that Hans Zimmer has agreed to do a soundtrack for the movie, I sure that they were better off using an established track than trying to scrounge up something real fast that probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. If we are patient we will get our first taste of a new epic score from Zimmer to complement the movie.

  4. This has always bugged me too. I can’t tell you the number of times in the last 20 years I’ve heard a trailer using Danny Elfman’s Beetlejuice score, the most recent being Paranorman. (This does nothing to help eliminate the misconception that Paranorman is a Tim Burton movie (it’s not), it’s not even a Henry Selick movie.)

    But I think we all know there was no way they were going to use any of the John Williams Superman score in this, so I’m not sure what the alternative would be.

  5. John Murphy’s Adagio in D Minor (Sunshine) is used all over the place. Hell, I’m pretty sure there was an episode in the first season of Walking Dead that used it. That being said, it’s a fantastic piece of music.

  6. For someone who has watched and written a lot about movies a lot Paul, you don’t seem to know a lot about how they’re made.

    Producing a big-budget Hollywood movie takes years. Post-production itself can take a year or more. That includes the soundtrack. That’s why most early trailers for movies use soundtracks from other movies: because the score simply hasn’t been composed yet.

    As another poster has already written, lots of movie trailers use music from other sources.

  7. Yep, when I saw the trailer I was like, ” Oooh the hobbit!! Wait…no…why is this movie…WHY ARE THEY TAKING LOTR MUSIC!” and my boyfriend was like, ” Movies do that all the time.” and I was all:” NOT LOTR MUSIC.”

  8. The film still hasn’t been completed yet and it’s most likely still in post production right now so the score for the film has not yet been finished.

    I think you’re just nitpicking as trailers are supposed to make audiences get excited for an upcoming film and it did just that. The music played a big part in achieving that as it helped set the mood.

    I have no problem with trailers re-using but if they were to use it in the actual film it would be rather annoying.

  9. All I could think of was… The EAGLES, MR. FRODO!

    This peeves me as well. I know its common practice to use whatever music a studio owns for early trailers… but why borrow music that most associate with the climax of one of the most widely-seen Epics in the last 25 years? Was Zack Snyder thinking “There’s probably not a big cross-section of LOTR fans and Comic geeks…”

    I mean, C’mon now, wasn’t there a piece or snippet of music from the last 35 years of Superman’s cinematic history they could have just used? Worked great for Bryan Singer’s SR trailer (Hell, that teaser was more electrifying with John Williams’ 1977 compositions than the entirety of the actual SR movie!)

    Also, I’m gravely disappointed Zack Snyder was chosen to helm such a well-known property. I felt his take on the Watchmen characters were nowhere near how I read them in the original material. Most never imagined Dr. Manhattan’s voice would sound like a sad, 5-yr-old girl who didn’t get a goody-bag at the party… but then again, Bane speaks like Professor Ludwig Von Drake lol

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