False Advertising, or This is Not the Movie the Ads Promised!

Inspired by this thread, where many of the posters promised us experiences way more awesome than they turned out to be. Which posters/covers/trailers led you astray into a bait and switch movie experience?



This isn’t a poster as much as it is a “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” puzzle.


Here are a couple of classics from the VHS rental aisles.

DEFCON-IV is not a terrible post-apoc survival movie, but it is not nearly the awesome metal epic promised by this cover.

Screamers is an utterly boring, murky zombie snoozer, and at no point do we see anyone turned inside out.



“I want my money back. I was promised a thing that couldn’t die.”


Something more modern. I was excited about seeing this when I saw the trailer in the theater, especially considering it was filmed around where I live. If only I could have seen the movie this trailer is about, rather than the one they released. A revival of the blaxploitation genre set in Atlanta would have been timely and interesting. Instead, they gave us a movie way too bogged down in 90s-era crime plot. There are glimmers in what it could have been, though, in scenes of Superfly being knowledgeable and perfect at every subject, and at having two girls he goes out of his way to treat equally.


Expectation: fantasy movie
Reality: horror-mystery movie



More like Eff Off!

Expected: a fun, cheesy movie with two half-human half-pig actors doing some cool action stuff.

Got: none of that.


For something a bit more modern, I’ll go with the trailers for Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

The trailers made it look as if Antonio Banderas’s El Mariachi would be involved in a direct conflict/battle with Johnny Depp’s CIA character, and that Salma Hayek’s Carolina would take part in the present-day action.

Instead, what we got was a convoluted double-triple-quadruple crossing scheme in which El Mariachi’s battle was against a corrupt general, a scenario where El Mariachi and the CIA agent never faced off, and Hayek’s Carolina was a posthumous character who only came into play in flashbacks.

Which is to say, those were trailers that offered up something quite different from what we actually got.


So all the actors were on call at a certain point. Do you think this was intentional subversion of expectations or plain bad writing?


I don’t care for Alton as a blond. On the other hand, the flying in the poster is several stories up from what we saw in the movie. Also, no Dockers™.

L’Uomo Puma

:musical_note: Believe it or not
The poster was cool
Too bad it’s got jack to do with us…


That’s tricky to say.

Even now, you have trailers that are deceptively edited or designed to fool audiences as to what to expect. Case in point, the trailer for Infinity War that depicted the Hulk on Wakanda and Thanos wielding a different number of Infinity Stones when he crossed paths with Steve Rogers.

Was Once Upon a Time in Mexico trying to intentionally subvert expectations? Ooh… that’s a good question. The tricky thing is that the movie itself is so tricky with all its crosses and double-crosses, so it may have been difficult to adequately capture that in a 2.5 minute trailers AND use them to sell the film. Which doesn’t even really get into how the Willem Dafoe, Ruben Blades, and Mickey Rourke characters don’t really come into play in that promo material.

Or it may have have been a case, like one of the possibilities you presented, where they wanted to throw the audiences some real curveballs by not playing things out so directly in the trailers.

As for bad writing? Hmm… well, I like the movie, but even I would say that the screenplay is needlessly and hopelessly convoluted for what it was trying to accomplish, and that may have been reflected in trailers that weren’t exactly representative of the finished work.

Which is all to say… damn, you got me on that one.


And what is he, destructing the Death Star in that image?


That’s the Gods Who Came From Other Worlds™ at a much more impressive size.

(Or, yeah. A rented Death Star. I, too, enjoy stealing from the best. :wink: )


I’ll throw out one of the modern movies I like the most, if only because its plot and reveal are utterly bonkers and it’s obvious the studio had no idea how to market it. A thousand respects to any movie like this that manages to get greenlit and pull in major stars.

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Darn. For a minute I thought this was that thriller where a man and a woman have a talky breakup in the middle of the ocean after their lifeboat sinks and they’re surrounded by sharks. I saw a trailer for it once. Or did I hallucinate it? o_0

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Do you mean this or its sequel?

Serenity is way weird, and I mean absolutely bonkers.


And no Nathan Fillion to be seen anywhere…

On topic, my parents went to see Inglorious Basterds thinking it was a lighthearted comedy. They based this solely on the trailers they saw on TV.


That’s the one, thanks. I had no idea it was based on fact.

(Note to self: remain a couch potato.

Never become a person who likes to do stuff. :wink: )


I once caught a 5’ shark. I dehooked it and the second I threw it back, whoosh a 10’ shark came up and ate it. Sharks are cool, also ain’t no joke.

(Edited to adjust size estimate, as is the way with fish tales.)