Movie Trailers Are Called Such Because They Were Originally?
Answer: Shown After Feature Films
If you go to the cinema today and you’re interested in catching previews of upcoming films, you know the best practice is to be in your seat well in advance because before the feature film plays, you’ll see movie trailers for new films.
Historically, however, this wasn’t the case. In what is now, quite obviously, a bit of poor planning, the original movie trailers were literally trailers—they trailed the feature film and were played after the credits finished rolling. To a modern reader, that seems downright absurd as hardly anyone sits there as the credits roll, and a theater is typically empty by the time the film credits are done.
In the early 20th century when movie trailers were introduced, people were no different and the practice of showing the trailers at the end didn’t stick around for long, although the name certainly did. In an alternative history where movie trailers were shown at the beginning from the very start, we wouldn’t call them such and would, perhaps, know them as “movie leaders” as they would lead in the feature film.