Talking Trailers: Promotional materials, and the value of the paratextual turn

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In the last decade, the term ‘paratext’ has become increasingly popular and dominant in studies of promotional materials, applied to study a range of different media forms. Genette’s term appears in Coming Attractions: Reading American Movie Trailers (Kernan 2004), before being developed in Show Sold Separately (Gray 2010) and a special issue of Critical Studies in Media Communication (Brookey and Gray 2017). The latter issue states that ‘we know that paratexts walk amongst us’ and that paratextual analysis has advanced ‘a wide and impressive range of academic debates’ (ibid, 101), there has been little discussion about the use value of such a term for the broader work that exists around the production and reception of promotional materials (see, for example, Hesford and Johnston 2015; Johnston 2019). What follows is a discussion between three scholars whose work spans different aspects of promotional materials, to think through the advantages and limitations of the paratextual turn, and the future of this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalCinephile: The University of British Columbia's Film Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020


  • film trailers
  • paratexts
  • promotion materials
  • roundtable
  • film marketing

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