There was a time, many years ago, when moviegoers would be treated to a short film or two that filled the space between trailers for upcoming releases and the beginning of the feature presentation. In the earliest days of commercial cinema, the pre-feature shorts were often serialized adventure stories, but eventually the typical short was a brief animated comedy that featured popular characters such as Woody Woodpecker, Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. Shorts are rarely seen on the big screen any more, but those early shorts established a genre that is now extremely diverse.
Disney's 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" reintroduced audiences to the concept of the pre-feature short by beginning the film with a short starring the feature's main character, Roger Rabbit. When Pixar helped to reinvigorate the market for animated films in the 1990s, the studio also helped to bring back the tradition by tacking an unrelated animated short to the front end of each of its new releases.
Animated traditions aside, shorts are rarely included in theatrical showings these days, but the rise of the internet as a medium for filming viewing has allowed the short film to establish itself as a legitimate stand-alone genre. Viewers can now more easily find bite-sized films, and shorts don't have to rely on distribution with feature films in order to reach a wide audience.