Why Movie Previews are Called Trailers Even Though They’re Usually Shown Before a Film Starts

Simon Whistler, host of the informative video series “Today I Found Out” explains why movie previews are called trailers, even though they are usually shown (ad nauseam) before a film starts. As it turns out, this wasn’t always the case.

It turns out, the first movie trailers occurred not at the beginning of the films, as they do today, but rather at the end of the films. They were called “trailers” because the advertisements would be spliced directly on the end of the reels, so that the movie advertisement’s film trailed the actual film.