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: 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
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
Why The Trailer Is Trash: The trailer for The Cabin in the Woods makes it look like just another slasher movie. Of course, that's necessary to hide the twist, but it worked too well. Slasher movie fans went to see it and were disappointed by the subversion of the tropes, while non-slasher fans who may have appreciated it had they known what it really was didn't go see it in the first place.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: Even though the movie came out in 2012, it's not right to spoil it. While it has violent slasher movie elements, it's worth seeing if you can stomach it. The ending is pretty wild.
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Amy Acker, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, + more
Initial Release: 2012
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Why The Trailer Is Trash: This dinner table scene depicting everyone's personified emotions makes Inside Out seem less focused than it is – it's really only about Riley's emotions. This trailer is almost hectic, but that's not the tone of the film at all.
Why The Movie Is Terrific: First of all, it's a Pixar movie – they're virtually incapable of making a bad film. Secondly, it stars Amy Poehler. Lastly, this movie is almost brazen in its ability to give you all the feels. It literally shows you what emotions to feel, and then makes you feel them.
Actors: Amy Poehler, Diane Lane, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, + more
Initial Release: 2015
Directed by: Pete Docter
#46 on The Best Animated Films Ever
#22 on The Best Movies for Tweens
#31 on The Best Movies for Kids