Reel Estate: Mansions Have (Really Weird) Movie Trailers Now

published Sep 6, 2017
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(Image credit: The Society Group)

There’s a new trend in luxury home marketing and it’s even more over-the-top than we ever imagined. These days, agents and sellers are actually producing full-blown movie trailers to market their properties, because apparently a flashy website and drool-worthy photography just wasn’t enough.

And we’re not talking 30-second home tours either, we’re talking super racy, pseudo-artsy (and often R-rated) mini-movies; coming straight from the minds and pocketbooks of power brokers across the country. Don’t believe us? Here’s one garish example, cut down to a 10-second teaser (although you can go here to watch the full 3-minute—not at all safe for work —trailer).

Instead of taking viewers through a humdrum video tour to give would-be buyers a sense of the place, agents are hiring Hollywood producers to develop the mini-movies and more importantly, impressively market these multi-million dollar homes. The home, of course, serves as the palatial backdrop for the “film” while the splashy visuals—think: lots of scantily clad women and Eyes Wide Shut-style parties— and dramatic storylines reel the prospective buyer in.

“There’s nothing I love more than these bat-shit crazy trailers,” writer Jack Moore told Apartment Therapy over email. “It’s as if somebody watched Entourage and was like ‘let’s make this less relatable and use it to sell a house.'”

Over at GQ, Moore (also a comedian, TV writer and co-author of the Modern Seinfeld Twitter account) has been hilariously outspoken about the almost-absurd direction some of these trailers have taken. Writing about one real estate video—involving a corvette, $33 million mansion, and a whole lot of impromptu wine drinking—Moore declares: “This is the most LA thing, I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Gwyneth Paltrow drink a green juice.”

Naturally, the pricier the listing the more bountiful the production budget, so many of these of these action-packed advertisements are oozing with Hollywood-caliber performance and cinematography.

For instance, as the Los Angeles Times points out, Hilton & Hyland hired producer Alexander Ali of the Society Group—a European company that typically works with luxury fashion brands—to produce the film above for one of their $100 million Beverly Hills listings. Says reporter Tiffany Hsu of the rather flamboyant (and totally NSFW) footage:

In the resulting film, there’s a woman wearing a virtual-reality headset who writhes erotically in a bedroom with a view of downtown. She’s given a crown by gold-painted models beside her infinity pool. There is only the barest of clothing throughout.

But chances are, these agents couldn’t care less whether their video listings read more B movie than Oscar buzz—as long as they’re moving properties. But it’s worth noting that in actuality, much like films of the silver screen, these real estate ads are selling an experience that doesn’t necessarily translate to reality.

“Like any good millennial with student loan debt, I love HGTV and Zillow and RedFin (and Apartment Therapy) to momentarily role-play what it would have been like to live in an era where young people could still buy homes,” Moore told us. “But if Zillow is real estate Playboy, then these trailers are the hardcore stuff that you have to pay for. I mean everyone fantasizes about infinity pools and wine cellars but it’s important to remember that real estate is rarely like that.”