Misleading Movie Trailers

We’ve all seen movie trailers on television or before another movie starts. It isn’t all that uncommon for me to decide to see a movie based on what the content of the trailer is. But I’ve noticed that a lot of times the trailer makes the movie out to be something that it is not.

Falling Down

Trailer: This was about a normal guy who finally gets sick of the world and fights back.

Movie: This guy was mentally unbalanced to begin with and it was in no way a normal guy going over the edge.

Bicentennial Man

Trailer: A comedy starring Robin Willians as a robot who tries to become human.

Movie: A drama starring Robin Willians as a robot who tries to become human.

Legend of the Falls

Trailer: Chick flick

Movie: It has Tommy Guns and action scenes from WWI, WOW!


Trailer: Hey, it is a stupid comedy but at least you get to see boobs.

Movie: Hey, it is a stupid comedy and you don’t even get to see boobs.


Trailer: For some reason I thought this film would be a little more action oriented. Heck, from some trailers I thought Gigilo Joe was some sort of evil android mastermind plotting against humanity.

Movie: Very little action but at least the movie was still ok.
Anyone else notice differences between trailers and movies? I don’t expect the trailer to give away the whole movie but I at least expect them to give a better representation of what the movie is.


PS: Yeah I saw Tomcats, what of it?

Hey, I was just going to start this thread.

The main one I had in mind was East is East

Trailer : A broad comedy about two Pakistani sons who wish to defy their father’s wishes for arranged marriage.

Movie: A very funny film but with a lot of dramatic elements – the arranged marriage is only a minor part of a more complex story.

It also seems common to have two versions that make the film seem completely different. This is strangest when one trailer seems to replace another. So, for 6 months you have expectations of a comedy, only to find out 3 weeks before that it might be a romance with almost no comedy.

I think The Patriot had something like this – one trailer about a man dedicated to his family & his wife’s sister, another with computer-generated cannonballs blowing off legs and American flags waving all around.

Nurse Betty. I think I got the impression that it was a comedy full of wacky hijinks (hence my reluctance to see it), but it wound up being much darker than I expected.

Let me second Bicentennial Man as well. Again, I was expecting a comedy, and didn’t find one.

  1. Truman Show- Hey, another Jim Carrey comedy about a guy stuck in a TV world.

Reality? A Jim Carrey drama.

  1. The Matrix Mysterious movie. What is the Matrix? Can you figure it out?

Reality? They tell you what the Matrix is about 35 minutes in.

Buckaroo Banzai
Trailer: Action SF movie
Reality: Comic book disguised as a movie.

And how can we forget My Girl?

Trailer: A sweet romantic vehicle for Macauly Culkin.

Reality: He dies halfway through it.

They started doing those edited movie trailers some time back and they really irritate me because sometimes, they show all of the good scenes in the movie, and when you get to the show, its disappointing to discover that those scenes were all there was and the rest of the movie is crap.

They cut and edit those things to make it look like unrelated scenes are interlinked, and funnier. Like in ‘Tornado,’ Helen Hunt, in her boyfriends truck, after her own truck gets swept up by the tornado, asks ‘where’s my truck?’ and then watches it crash down in front of her, The scene is funny, but in the movie the scenes are unrelated.

The movie industry seems to do what it wants in advertising with no regard to us. Like the new movie title listings where they blend the name into everything else and you have to search to find it. They used to predominately show the name until some bright boy figured the ‘new’ way is cooler and switched to that.

It was “Twister.” Sorry for the nitpick.

They did the same thing with “Major League.” The ads had Tom Berenger saying to Charlie Sheen “That ball wouldn’t have been out of some parks.”
Sheen says “Name one.”
To which Berenger replies “Yellowstone.”

Excellent point. Another example is Men In Black in which the trailer contains a hilarious exchange something like this:

Woman: You guys are part of some goverment cover up organization of some sort
Will Smith: Naw, it’s not like that

(I’m forgetting the details). Anyhow, it was much funnier than the movie, where those two lines were part of separate conversations.

My votes for movie with a deceptive trailer:
Fools Rush In
Trailer: A fun and lighthearted romantic comedy with Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry

Movie: A moderately serious, and moderately good, drama about cross-cultural romance and parenting, with a few comedic elements
Remember the Titans
One Trailer: A typical sports movie with Denzel trying to make a team win

Another Trailer: A light family-friendly comedy

Movie (at least, what I understand from reading several reviews): All about racism






Most of Trailer: A movie in which you’ll wonder whether he gets off the Island

One little bit of Trailer: He gets off the island

Movie: A movie which you wish you hadn’t seen the trailer for

I forgot who said it, but someone once said, “Trailers are the movies that the studio wish the director had made.”

Explains it all, IMO.

american pie

they had scenes in the trailers that did not make it into the movie.

And continue telling you for the next 35 minutes (face it, The Matrix suffers from expository bloat). However, since I don’t like being teased about such mysteries, I rather appreciated the early revelation. And while the solution to the mystery is actually fairly mundane (in SF circles, anyway), it still comes off as a surprise because A) it could’ve been anything, and the trailer didn’t spoil it, and B) the fact that the revelation came so early was a surprise.

I’d like to add that some trailers deserve praise for communicating exactly what a movie is, even when it’s hard to boil down (and harder to do without spoiling anything). Fight Club is a good example: what the hell is it? Hard to say, but the trailer conveyed it pretty well. Ditto Being John Malkovich.

I have a feeling that they’re going out of their way to misrepresent what the movie is all about. Perhaps they’re hoping to draw a bigger crowd for opening weekend or something.


Watch carefully to see when they show each of these trailers. Many movies have a “chick” trailer (i.e. the dedicated family one for The Patriot) and another “guy” trailer (i.e. legs blowing off). Since I watch a lot of soap operas and a lot of golf tournaments, I often see both trailers. For instance, during soap operas, Pearl Harbor was advertised as an epic love story; during sports it was advertised as an intense war movie. Probably the funniest ever was Armageddon – unless you watch T.V. geared toward women, you probably didn’t see the ads which made this movie look like a love story. In fact, I almost went to see it until I saw the other ads, which showed it as the violent action flick it was.

Another one from Major League that didn’t make it into the film. Tom Berringer (sp?) is laying on a bed and talking on the phone saying something like “Hey, you were with me last night. Who’s this chick on top of me?” I was trying to figure out how they would work that into the movie since he was so forlorn over his girlfriend that left him years before and was now trying to get back together with.

13 Ghosts

It’s billed as having nudity, profanity, gore, violence, etc. (It actually says these things in the trailer). However, the only nudity comes from one of the ghosts, who is all cut up and bloody! That shouldn’t even count as nudity. There’s profanity, but barely any. Misleading? Most definitely.

Occasionally, the trailer makes the movie look atrocious, and that ends up not being the case. After seeing the promo for Three Kings I ended up with the impression that it was some kind of George Clooney vehicle composed of pop music and funky camera shots. It turned out to be one of the better movies of the year (and that was a good year, too.)

I’m going way back, but as a kid, I saw the trailer for Mr. Mom. The trailer was so funny that my parents took all of us kids to see the movie on opening night.

What a disappointment! Every funny scene was in the trailer. The whole rest of the movie was just filler for these scenes.

Small Time Crooks
Trailer: Woody Allen and some misfit friends plan a heist.

Movie: The heist bit lasts all of 15 minutes, the rest of the movie is Woody whining about how much more fun being poor was. :rolleyes:

Hanging Up.

Trailer: comedy full of sisterly mayhem with Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow

Movie: horribly sad drama that left me searching through my shelves for a comedy to cheer me up