The most interesting things you find on YouTube are the things you would otherwise never see. And by that, I don't mean a shirtless 320-pound hair-chested man yodeling the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. I mean things that would otherwise never be released to the public. Like these policy trailers.

One of my most joyous YouTube web-surfs was when I found these. Policy trailers are the technical name for the short pieces theater chains insert before the movie starts. They usually serve two purposes: one, to make you want to go to their snack counter, because your average movie house makes most of its profit from the food. Two, to remind the audience not to be annoying--a wasted effort regardless.

To date I've only written one page on the site that I used embedded videos from YouTube in, and the result now is that most of those videos are no longer there. This is why I rip 'em and use my own bandwidth instead--YouTube is not a trustworthy preserver. But it fooled me twice, so shame on me. This had "future article" written all over it, but when I came back to get the policy trailers again, I found most of them had been deleted by The Man.

EEEE-GAH! I hadn't seen some of these old trailers in years! We just got back together and now YouTube's deletion-crazed moderators tore us apart again?? It wasn't fair! But....then I remembered that I HAD saved the trailers. In a way.

The night I found them, I replayed them all on my Wii browser and recorded them to DVR, because I wanted them on my television and my computer has no DVD burner. Now these were the only copies that existed, aside from the ones the original uploader had. So to get these article-ready, ya know what I had to do?

(((( I had to RIP the DVD files onto my hard drive,
CONVERT them to a format Windows Movie Maker would edit, ))))
(((( SPLIT the DVD video into pieces, and
convert the video format ONCE AGAIN to Flash Video, ))))

which is what they were in the first place. This kind of data wringer washed out some of the detail and made things a little more blurry. You can also see a YouTube player border around the videos because the Wii's browser zoom only works in increments and isn't exact. But this is as good as I'm going to get now, and just be glad these treasures of lost time survived in any form at all.

The name of the YouTube user who originally uploaded the videos was "lakes6." If he's out there, and reading this, I have a more permanent home for these things that I can offer him.


Act III's presentation came in two parts: a bit before the previews, and the trailer proper afterward. From the time I was old enough to be in a theater until 1998, Act III owned nearly all the multiplexes in my area. I'll remember them for many things, but mostly for their hover car policy trailer.

When this was on YouTube someone posted in Comments, "Wow, this is the original recalled version where the car's license plate said '666'!!" How he read that is beyond me; even in this video's original quality I couldn't make out what that plate said.

These are being arranged in order of preference, not in chronological order. This "satellite" trailer with simpler CGI came first, in the late 80's, but I like the hover car better.

The final Act III policy trailer was only in use for a year or so and hasn't appeared online, but there wasn't much to it. It was just this Dolby sound system promo with the Act III logo pasted over the end.


In the late 90's Regal bought Act III as well as several other smaller theater chains across the country. It was a binge brought on by the surge in ticket sales at the time, and when the surge faded, Regal almost went bankrupt. They avoided Act III's fate by merging with two MORE companies to form Regal Entertainment Group. The end result today is that Regal is the largest theater chain in the country, and can do whatever it wants--like say, run a batch of annoying unmuteable TV advertising before your movie.

If Regal is looked on with fondness for anything, it's their "rollercoaster" policy trailer, one of the most famous of the policy trailers (as well as one of the most unavoidable). The rollercoaster was recently kicked off in favor of more ads, but eyewitnesses report a handful of Regal theaters in the country that still play this. The only reason, however, is because that handful will be the last to receive digital projectors that allow them to run TV ads. You can still experience this on the big screen if you're lucky, but you'll have to hurry.

Someone managed to make an HD-resolution version of the Regal Rollercoaster, but until someone reading this tells me where it is, you'll all have to make do with the YouTube version. During the time of the coaster, there was one holiday season when Regal replaced it with a Pepsi-endorsed trailer that featured Hallie Eisenberg in a western saloon reciting the theater rules with the voice of a John Wayne impersonator. I could have looked for that, but I didn't want to.


Of all the theaters listed here, I miss Century the most, and at the time I'm writing this it has only been a year since it vanished. The Act III-to-Regal takeover disappointed me, but after they built a Century seven minutes away from my house I never went back. The large screens, the angled seating, the THX certification that actually meant a THX promo before the show...The Century screamed class from every well-polished, non-sticky floor. No matter what came out, I had to see it at Century from then on. This "spotlight trailer" played between the previews and the feature.

There was more sound here than what you're getting. The "glow" sound started right as the curtain appeared, and a couple of the "pock" noises from the spotlights turning on are inaudible. The glow noise also slowly faded away through the website address and "Feature Presentation" message. This is what happens when you convert an eight-speaker digital surround recording to two-speaker stereo--you lose all those other speakers and just hear the front two. It was great in THX.

There was a different Century trailer that played before art house films.

Century began in California, in the 1940's, as "Syufy." Only in their recent history did they roll out to much of the West Coast, and based their new name after their "Century 21" theater in San Jose. This Syufy trailer from the 1980's started a fad among upper Californians, who would clap in unison to the beat of the trailer's music whenever it appeared.

There is one more Century trailer, but good luck seeing it. It's a "private" YouTube video, and I stumbled upon it when it was accidentally put on the "other videos" listing after the Century spotlight trailer. This only happened for a few minutes, but it was enough to get the video's address--which from the thumbnails looks to be a Century trailer that was used after Syufy but before the spotlights. I've never seen it, and perhaps no one will anymore aside from the guy who locked it up...unless one of you can find a way around it.


CINEMARK: a theater chain that existed only in the Midwest and several foreign countries until they bought Century. Yep, these are the ones responsible for killing Century, in October of 2006. One of the things I admired most about Century was that it didn't run TV ads before the show. It was one of the last holdouts. Cinemark took over my Century theater, and sure enough, they see nothing wrong with excessive advertising.

What's most weird about this is that Cinemark is keeping the Century brand yet still using its own. They've begun building a new theater at a local mall, and Cinemark is calling it a "Century Theatre," yet they're not using that name on anything within the theater itself. The extent of the Century brand now is that it's what Cinemark's new theaters are called. Blegh.

Gone are the spotlights; instead we get Cinemark's feline mascot "Front Row Joe." This is an older, no-longer-in-use Cinemark policy trailer. Joe is late for his date; meanwhile she's getting hit on by a sleazy opportunist, who turns her off by doing everything you're not supposed to do in a theater.


General Cinemas had what is arguably the most famous of all policy trailers, but this might be because they didn't change it for 25 years.

The spinning reels and jazz soundtrack to the simple GC trailer stayed the same through the 70's and 80's, though it went through slight variations shown here and here. Another GC trailer can be seen here.

General Cinemas was eventually bought by AMC, yet they did away with their classic trailer before then. The "Candy Band" was one of their last, and it used a variation of the jazz theme in an effort to not make it a complete affront to tradition.