The only thing worse than a lousy movie is one that misled us with a cool trailer. Hope, after all, can be cruel, and it’s hard just to turn the movie off when we expect it to get better. But there are also times when a misleading movie trailer can be a pleasant surprise, at least as long as what we get surpasses our expectations. For better or for worse, here are some of the most misleading movie trailers of all time.
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Revamping familiar tropes, “Click” is a heartwarming movie about a dad who discovers a magical remote that lets him control the world around him. From fast-forwarding real life to traveling back and forth in time, this peculiar device seems like the best thing until it isn’t: Our leading man, Michael Newman (Adam Sandler), soon realizes his luck is too good to be true.
“Click” is the most earnest and wholesome movie out of Sandler’s entire oeuvre, yet you wouldn’t conclude as much from the trailer. The two-minute clip has you believing it’s just another wacky Adam Sandler movie, but nothing could be farther from the truth. While there are plenty of funny scenes, Sandler also plays a complex character who tries to balance being a present father with the demands of everyday life. There are few portrayals of fatherhood as moving as this one.
‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (2009)
Despite what you might expect, “Where the Wild Things Are” is not as lighthearted and easygoing as the trailer makes it seem. This movie adaptation of the popular children’s book by the same name lured us in with stunning visuals and impressive costume changes. Still, the movie was very different from the trailer, and not exactly in a good way.
While the trailer makes it seem like “Where the Wild Things Are” is suitable for kids, the movie itself has a different audience in mind. Both the narrative and dialogue move slowly and grapple with complicated themes that are better suited for adults. Even then, the movie is not as interesting as the trailer leads on, which is a shame, given the hype and anticipation around this extremely popular book.
‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ (2010)
Another long-anticipated release that we almost could’ve done without is the first installment in the Percy Jackson franchise. The official trailer is effective because it shows us very little about the movie: Percy (Logan Lerman) walks into an empty and dark Empire State Building and slowly makes his way to the fabled elevator that takes him to Mount Olympus. The trailer ends just as the home of the Greek gods comes into view, telling us nothing else about this famous movie.
When the movie finally came out, we were greeted with an entirely different production. The dark and mysterious shots from the trailer gave justice to the story of powerful and supernatural beings. On the other hand, the movie looked plainly cheap and poorly animated — truly one of the biggest disappointments. The Percy Jackson books promised to be the new Harry Potter, but the potential of this series was squandered. We hope that the TV adaptation coming out next year is much better.
‘Ginger and Rosa’ (2012)
“Ginger and Rosa” is advertised as a coming-of-age story featuring two teenage girls, yet you wouldn’t know it from watching the movie. Rather than an ode to female friendship and an easy pass of the Bechdel test, this production portrays a dark, twisted story you don’t anticipate based on the trailer. There is plenty of betrayal and backstabbing — the kind you wouldn’t wish on anyone, much less two young teenage girls.
Starring Elle Fanning as Ginger and Alice Englert as Rosa, this movie is backdropped by the Cuban Missile Crisis, which adds another layer of turmoil and confusion to the plot that goes unresolved. While it’s not exactly a bad movie, it’s not what is depicted in the charming, innocent trailer.
‘Suicide Squad’ (2016)
Few trailers have sparked as much buzz in recent memory as “Suicide Squad” did in 2016. The trailer is action-packed and teases a good time, but unfortunately, the movie didn’t rise to the occasion. Despite great performances by Margot Robbie and the rest of the A-list cast, this installment from the DC Universe was widely panned by critics.
While “Suicide Squad” has enough interesting scenes to compile a captivating trailer, it simply lacks the material for a running time of over two hours. The noteworthy scenes from the trailer get lost in the movie itself, and you’re left wondering if you accidentally watched the wrong thing. The same can be said for many other entries included in this list.
Maybe it was catching glimpses of Harry Styles, Angelina Jolie, and Richard Madden together, but the official trailer for this MCU installment really excited us. In addition to new characters played by a stellar cast and directed by Chloé Zhao, the trailer promised an exciting and gripping movie that never materialized.
“Eternals” tells the story of godlike creatures who arrived on Earth many centuries ago. The group of immortal beings embark on an intergalactic mission that has humanity at stake, but not even the existential threat underpinning the movie makes it particularly entertaining. Like many other action movies, the best and most memorable scenes are featured in the trailer, almost serving as spoilers.