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14 Amazing Movies Fans Almost Didn't See Because The Trailer Was Flaming Hot Garbage

Updated October 6, 2017 2.2k votes 487 voters 30.1k views14 items

List RulesVote up the worst trailers for the greatest movies.

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.

  • In Bruges
    Video: YouTube

    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
    • Released: 2008
    • Directed by: Martin McDonagh
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  • Star Wars
    Video: YouTube

    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
    • Released: 1977
    • Directed by: George Lucas
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  • Rear Window
    Video: YouTube

    Why The Trailer Is Trash: Alfred Hitchcock was ahead of his time, so the cheesy voiceover and exposition used in this very '50s trailer undermine the tension of the film. In Rear Window, an injured former reporter is stuck at his window watching his neighbors, until he comes to the conclusion that one has committed a murder. The trailer does a marvelous job of making it look like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It's topped off with star James Stewart turning to the camera and telling the audience they're going to be captivated by the neighbors, too. Thanks for the direction, Jimmy!

    Why The Movie Is Terrific: Rear Window is considered by many to be the greatest thriller of all time. The movie makes the viewer complicit in Stewart's voyeurism in a specific, and enthralling, way. The audience is trapped, sharing the wheelchair-bound man's point of view, trying to solve the murder mystery right alongside him. The suspense of the film builds from beginning to end with no reprieve until the climax. It's that tension that makes it so great.

    • Actors: Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock, Gig Young, Raymond Burr
    • Released: 1954
    • Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
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  • 4


    Video: YouTube

    Why The Trailer Is Trash: The trailer depicts a fantastical fairy tale in which the protagonist Amélie injects whimsy into people's lives. That's certainly a through-line in the movie, but there's no focus on Amélie herself as a character and the issues she's dealing with. It completely glosses over the darkness and sadness at the heart of the story.

    Why The Movie Is Terrific: Amélie is one of the most charming movies out there. It's tender and funny and whimsical and heartbreaking. On top of that, it's visually stunning. It's like a French Wes Anderson movie.

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