Trailers have become cinematic pieces in and of themselves. All too often, gullible moviegoers are fooled by a beautifully edited trailer, and then they're lured into a garbage movie like an insect into a Venus flytrap. But then there are the rarer occurrence when studios inexplicably make terrible trailers for great movies. How do you take pieces of something awesome and slap them together in such away that it looks decidedly un-awesome?
When a trailer fails, it's usually because it doesn't capture the tone of the film, or misrepresents it. Movies with misleading trailers are the worst because the studio is really just shooting themselves in the foot. Think of something like The Cabin in the Woods, or In Bruges. Why sabotage an already fringe-y movie through dumb promotion?
So, to help these studios get their clips together, here are some of the worst trailers for good movies ever made. Hopefully they'll take notes.
Why The Trailer Is Trash: The minute people saw the city folding over on itself, they said, "Oh, it's an Inception knock off," and promptly decided not to see the movie. That alone probably destroyed this movie's box office performance. Benedict Cumberbatch's American accent may have factored in, too, but the studio should have just left the folding city out of the trailer entirely.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: Part of what makes Doctor Strange a standout amongst Marvel movies is the inherent uniqueness of the character and his origins. The visual, psychedelic mind-f*ck elements of this movie make it fresh, but it still has all the hallmarks of a great MCU film: excellent casting, wonderful humor, and eye-popping action.
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, + more
Initial Release: 2016
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Also Rankedsee more on Doctor Strange
Why The Trailer Is Trash: In Bruges stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. If you were unaware of Gleeson's presence in the film, it may be because you watched the trailer, in which he only appears in briefly. He's the co-star, and yet the trailer makes it look like it's a Colin Farrell movie.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: The trailer doesn't really capture the tone of the movie, either. In Bruges is a complicated thriller/black-comedy/sweet self-discovery film. The movie is so complex that it would be difficult to get all that across in a two minute trailer, but this makes it look like a run-of-the-mill dark comedy.
Actors: Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds, + more
Initial Release: 2008
Directed by: Martin McDonagh
#46 on The Best Movies of the '00ssee more on In Bruges
Why The Trailer Is Trash: Han's blaster doesn't blast. It kind of feels like that's all that's needed to be said. But beyond that, the trailer is choppy, and the audio editing sounds terrible even by 1977 standards.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: Star Wars is obviously one of the most beloved movie franchises of all time. A New Hope enchanted an entire generation of sci-fi fans, captivating audiences with the wonder of an intergalactic adventure. And a big, hairy dog/man/bear thing.
Actors: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, Alec Guinness, + more
Initial Release: 1977
Directed by: George Lucas
Also Rankedsee more on Star Wars
Why The Trailer Is Trash: John Myers, played by Rupert Evans, is easily the most boring character in Hellboy. So why is he painted as the main character in the trailer? Hellboy is barely in it! Then there's the fact that it makes it look like a knock-off Men in Black, which it very much isn't. Gothic, steampunk fantasy is not the same as alien sci-fi.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: Ron Perlman excellently portrays Hellboy, a monster-butt-kicking monster, as a witty prick with an extremely soft side. Hellboy balances great action with humor and heart. The interplay between Ron Perlman and Jeffrey Tambor alone makes this movie great. It was the gold standard for comic book movies until the MCU came along.
Actors: John Hurt, Selma Blair, Ron Perlman, Guillermo del Toro, David Hyde Pierce, + more
Initial Release: 2004
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Also Rankedsee more on Hellboy