Why do so many action movie trailers use the same music?

I’m exaggerating, but only a little bit. Here is a parody of an action movie trailer on Youtube if you’re not sure what I’m talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JYaOkr5G9M

And here is an example from a real movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3xvctz7l1M

They always have some dramatic-sounding chorus, and they always have plenty of percussion that gets faster and faster and builds to a crescendo towards the end of the trailer. Why are the people who make these trailers so unoriginal?

The people who make trailers are specialists who are really, really bad at their job. They aren’t supposed to create a product that reflects the actual movie.

They either have no idea or don’t care what the music will be in the movie.

Also, it’s better to get the rights to use a song for any trailer they might make rather than negotiate over and over for different music for each trailer. Saves time and money.

Sameness is a key. Hence using not just the phrase “In a world …” but also the same voice actor over and over.

There are musicians that specialize in trailer music. My daughter turned me on to a group called Two Steps From Hell. Hours worth of highly intense action music.

Over four hours worth on one video.

Listen to it as you clean house! Or drive in traffic.

In a world where there are very few theatrical score composers…

A lot of times, the actual music for the movie isn’t done until after the preview is already showing in theaters. Why hold up promotion for some silly post-production work (like the score) when you can slap a on generic theme and be weeks ahead of the game.

Without action movie trailers, how many people would know of Carmina Burana? Not that they know what they are hearing, but at least they heard the music…

Movie trailers tend to pull music from production companies like Immediate Music, Two Steps from Hell, Audiomachine, and others who create this sort of “epic” orchestral/choir music.

So give 'em some lyrics!

As much as I love it, at least they’re using something besides “Mars” for a change. (Watch your volume.)

Because the mini-story arc you describe works to get people’s butts into the theater seats for almost any given movie; that’s why the trailers are all the same and the music is all the same: it’s a proven effective technique.

Now ask why all scary movies have the same minor key strings or synthesizers playing as a means of creating tension when there is very little action on screen…

In a world…where licensing the works of Hans Zimmer and Enya has become too expensive…

They also reuse soundtracks from other films. For example:
Man of Steel Trailer 1

  • Bridge of Khazad-dûm from Fellowship of the Rings by Howard Shore

Man of Steel Trailer 2 - Now We Are Free from Gladiator by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, fading into Storm from Elizabeth - The Golden Age by Craig Armstrong & AR Rahman.

Because every trailer is better with a little Lux Aeterna or Charging Fort Wagner.

“How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer”

I assume you’re being sarcastic.

Their job is to create something that gets people to talk about the movie and bring people into the theater. They must know what they’re doing, since the trailers get people talking about the movie and going to the theater.

Making an accurate description of a movie is far down on the list of what’s important to achieve the goal.

Note, too, that trailers are made before the movie is completed. No matter how accurate they try to be, the post production process may completely change what end up on screen. Look at Justice League – they had trailers out last spring, but, after Wonder Woman, Warner decided to reshoot scenes to feature her more prominently. There is no way that could be reflected in a trailer made before Wonder Woman movie came out.

The main reason trailers use the same music is because they are made before the film is scored. There’s no point in asking the composer to create something special for the trailer, and there are many advantages of using music that people already know.