Big Marketing, Big Flops: 4 Movies Where the Trailers Were Better than the Film

In “news that is only sad to multimillionaires,” production companies across the board have announced widespread budgeting cuts for their movies. What does this mean for the general population? Well, there might be less blown up stuff in the special effects, or you might not get to see a glitzy red carpet after-party in “US Magazine” the day after the premiere. I know it’s a real tragedy. Of course, movie execs know that you have to spend money to make money, which is why they definitely won’t cut pre-release marketing. Whether it’s a perfectly-crafted trailer or billboards strategically placed around town, sometimes the best part of a movie is its marketing efforts.

“Snow White and the Huntsman”

Hey, it had all of the ingredients for a box office success, and in that respect, “Snow White and the Huntsman” was a success. Of course, if you compare the trailer to the movie, the trailer wins every time. The trailer had spooky music, Charlize Theron acting crazy, supernatural stuff, and dreamy shots of Chris Hemsworth. Instead, the actual movie had a lot of Kristen Stewart’s mouth hanging open, dwarves, a completely unnecessary love triangle, Charlize Theron acting crazy, and the sinking feeling that I’d wasted $8 to see something that I could have just watched on YouTube.

“John Carter”

I believe that “John Carter” will go down in history as the first true flop of the 21st century. Let’s do the math, shall we? “John Carter” was the fourth most expensive movie to make, costing about $250 million to patch together. Since the movie only raked in about $50 million, Disney took a $200 million dollar hit to the bank account. But while the movie was terrible, the trailer was great. Probably because the idea of an old timey pioneer traveling to another planet and running around shirtless is only novel for about three minutes, after which it becomes annoying and senseless. And since “John Carter” was 132 minutes, that makes it about 129 minutes way too long.


Oh, you didn’t know that the world was supposed to end in 2012, it’s based on the fact that the Mayan calendar only goes to 2012. And since society loves nothing more than a movie about the demise of humankind, you’d think that “2012” would have been a hit. Unfortunately, the trailer was fast-moving and thrilling, while the actual movie limped along like an injured race horse. Also, John Cusack as an action hero just completely ruins everything. Isn’t there a girl he can go mope over? Most people must agree, considering that the movie’s budget was $205 million, but it brought in just over $160 million overall.

“The Breakup”

Hollywood loves to pull an old bait n’ switch. When a movie doesn’t seem marketable in its current state, they create trailers to make it seem like something completely different. Unsuspecting movie-goers are then lured to the theaters. When it came to “The Breakup,” the trailer was undeniably describing a zany rom-com, complete with witty banter and a nude Jennifer Aniston. Most people were surprised to find out that “The Breakup” was a drama, interspersed with the five funny parts that had made up the trailer. It made the movie slightly depressing and mostly just predictable.

Trailers are so important to movie earnings that some production companies are now releasing trailers for trailers to get you excited to watch a glorified commercial. Sure, they might cut out the private jets to screenings, but trailers are definitely going to stay in the movie budget.


Todd Lam is from Salt Lake City and writes is a huge movie buff and PC gaming nerd.


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Tags : AdvertisingFilm makingMovie Trailers