10 of the most inexplicably misleading film trailers

  • 10 of the most inexplicably misleading film trailers

Movie trailers give film fans a glimpse into all of the exciting new films coming their way in order to entice them into shelling out hard-earned money to watch the full version.

Sometimes, for one reason or another, the trailers don't match up with the film that they are marketing and audiences end up watching a completely different film to what they were expecting. 

10. The Cable Guy 

What the Trailer Promises: Another light-hearted comedy romp in which Jim Carrey plays a wacky, lovable and endlessly quotable character!

Back in 1996, on the back of the two Ace Ventura films, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber, Jim Carrey was the biggest comedy star in the world, and the trailer portrayed another screwball comedy in the Ben Stiller-directed The Cable Guy.

Instead, we were given a darkly comic performance from Carrey in the satirical black comedy that verged bordered on psychological horror, and shocked Carrey fans, who were traumatised for years after.

9. Sweeney Todd

What the Trailer Promises: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp teaming up again for another entertaining gothic take on the classic tale of 'The Demon Barber of Fleet Street'!

The trailer barely alludes to the film as a musical horror film (with a brief clip of Depp singing) and audiences were surprised to discover this fact, with some cinemagoers walking out of the film when they discovered it was a musical.

There were complaints submitted to both the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards that they had been deceived, with one critic labelling the producers' singing-free marketing "condescending".

8. Pain and Gain

What the Trailer Promises: A wacky sun-soaked heist movie with three down-on-their-luck bodybuilders stealing the money from an unscrupulous crime boss!

With the trailer's ramped-up contrast, plenty of perfect bodies and wise cracks from the gang, many viewers were surprised when they watched the unflinching violent unfold.

Michael Bay's black comedy, based on the true story of the Sun Gym Gang who robbed, kidnapped and murdered, was a lot darker and more violent than the family-friendly transformers films that he has previously directed and which the trailer set up.

7. Red Eye

What the Trailer Promises: A monster movie with Cillian Murphy playing a demon aboard a plane alongside a terrified Rachel McAdams!

The trailer starts off as a cheesy run-of-the-mill rom-com, featuring Cillian Murphy and Rachel McAdams in an airport, only once they board their plane, his eye goes all red and terrifying.

Then, Wes Craven's name appears on screen, and we know we're in for a terrifying demonic flick to rival Nightmare on Elm Street.

Only we're not, the competent but largely-forgotten 2005 thriller has nothing of the sort, with Cillian Murphy's character an un-demonic, mundane terrorist who kidnaps Rachel McAdams, threatening to kill her father.

The Red Eye title merely refers to the 'red eye' (read: overnight) flight from Dallas to Miami, but the studio execs must have thought that no-one would want to see a tense cat-and-mouse thriller from Wes Craven, so added a supernatural element that featured nowhere in the actual film.

6. Kangaroo Jack

What the Trailer Promises: A wisecracking (and rapping) CGI kangaroo torments two bumbling pals in hilarious and barely feasible situations!

The rubbish 2003 action comedy bagged a surprising $88m, which was mostly from parents bringing their kids along, expecting a talking kangaroo to provide thrills and gags aplenty.

They must have been sorely disappointed when they discovered the scene in which the kangaroo raps along to 'Rapper's Delight' was inserted specifically at the end of production so they could use it in the trailer.

The studio was afraid that it was going to bomb at the box office and so marketed it at children with the promise of many hoody-wearing Kangaroo capers which weren't in the film.

The humour was wildly inappropriate and the film was assaulted by critics, but still, it did win Favourite Fart in a Movie at the 2004 Kids' Choice Awards.

5. In Bruges

What the Trailer Promises: A Guy Ritchie-esque gangster comedy caper with wise-cracking criminals and loads of violence, but it's fun violence!

Once again, a pitch black comedy has been packaged up as criminals getting up to not-so-serious hijinks and everything ends up well in the end.

When it was miserable and complex, as Colin Farrell's character Ray comes to terms with accidently killing a child in a hit gone wrong, as Brendan Gleeson's character is instructed to kill him.

While there are many quips and wisecracks, there is much more bleakness and reflection on the terrible consequences after their pointless violence.

4. Inglorious Basterds

What the Trailer Promises: A straight up action movie starring Brad Pitt and his team of Basterds killing Nazis across France, before a showdown with the Führer himself!

Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic spends a lot of time +not+ showing Aldo Raine and his Basterds, focusing instead on the likes of 'The Jew Hunter' Hans Landa, heroic Nazi soldier Fredrick Zoller and the revenge-seeking Jewish survivor Shosanna Dreyfus.

Most of the film's runtime is in French and German, including an entire English-less chapter, as the Basterds are merely bit-part players in a larger blood-soaked Nazi-slaying plot.

Also, the showdown between Aldo 'The Apache' and Hitler never happens.

3. Pans Labyrinth

What the Trailer Promises: A family-friendly fantasy adventure in a similar vein to Chronicles of Narnia-esque, in English... obviously!

Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy horror spent in General Franco's Spain was definitely not for children, despite the film's marketing inferring that was the case.

The 'adult fairy tale' features characters like the grotesque hand-eyed Pale Man and Faun, the main character's guide through the fantasy world who, just like Mr Timnus, is a goat-human hybrid.

Also, being set in 1944 Spain, the film is entirely in Spanish, which isn't even hinted at in the trailer, and cinemas had to put up signs that stated "Pan's Labyrinth is in Spanish and that's the way it's meant to be."

2. The Rules of Attraction

What the Trailer Promises: College students getting drunk, taking drugs and having lots of sex and generally having the sort of hijinks hat you see in every teen college movie!

The adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis' black comedy tale of spoiled, promiscuous and manipulative students at a New Hampshire college in 2002 starred Shannyn Sossamon, Ian Somerhalder and a post-Dawson James van der Beek.

The film is a demented, nihilistic take on US colleges full of drink, drugs and sex and nowhere near the likes of Road Trip or American Pie like the trailer makes out it is.

The film was somewhat of a success in the box office, but the story, written by the same author as American Psycho, might have got a bit more attention from cinemagoers if it had been marketed as the film that it actually was, rather than a light-hearted teen romp.

1. Drive

What the Trailer Promises: An exciting Fast & Furious-style thrill ride full of action, violence and car stuff!

Nicolas Winding Refn's neo-noir masterpiece was lauded by all and sundry for its stylized imagery, violence and menace, a lot of which was down to Ryan Gosling's understated performance as the stunt driver moonlighting as a getaway driver.

The trailer takes all of the action from the film, and omits all of the stuff of Ryan Gosling not doing anything - most of the film really, to give audiences the impression that they're high-octane thrill ride.

One audience member was so outraged that she'd been to see the arthouse film on the "misleading trailer" that she took legal action.

The Michigan woman sued the cinema she saw it in as well as the film's distributor, for a refund and attempting to stop the practice of studios using deceptive trailers to market films.

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Comments

It's not really "for one reason or another". The truth is that the film makers don't get to make their own trailers and only a privileged handful have any say in the marketing. Instead the studio sends the footage to specialised companies who cut trailers. There, the footage is edited to promise a movie that the film company thinks will put behinds on seats. Once you've paid for your ticket, they aren't concerned if you are disappointed. Expecting "Lost In Translation" to be a wacky Bill Murray comedy? Too bad. The trailer companies have no loyalty to the film makers - only to the studios and their balance sheets. That's why you see so many trailers that either mislead entirely, or spoil all the major plot points and action set pieces. I go out of my way to avoid trailers whenever I can...