Great Expectations: 15 Films That Did Not Live Up To Their Preview

Prometheusn Poster PF WENN


The late film critic Roger Ebert once admitted his personal disdain for movie trailers. To paraphrase his viewpoint, Ebert believed that the ads gave away the best parts of a movie and often misrepresented storyline, characters and performances. Sure, we love to pour over the details of whatever trailer has got us hyped. Yet the truth is the majority of us have walked away disappointed when a film failed to live up to the trailer. Ebert had a point, one that is about to be driven home by the following list. From false advertising to previews being better than the finished product, here are 15 films that did not hold up to their trailers.

The Social Network

The Social Network lineup PF WENN


Director David Fincher has a background in directing commercials for companies like Apple and Nike. When the typically gloomy filmmaker was hired to direct The Social Network, many questioned the Fincher’s motivations in taking a corporate drama. Then the trailer was released—set to a children’s choir cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” the preview presented a dramatic take on the website’s inception while also probing the lonely narcissism of the website, its makers and its users. Of course, the finished film couldn’t live up to the brilliance of the trailer, which may explain why the otherwise solid movie got mostly snubbed at the Oscars.


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  1. says:

    Very questionable choices here…. I didnt even finish the list after I saw that the Social Network and Drive were on there.

    I think maybe you titled the article wrong or something

  2. says:

    What’s wrong with being a found-footage Godzilla movie? I think that’s an awesome premise, and Cloverfield definitely lived up to and exceeded the trailer.

    • says:

      No it didn’t. People went to see a giant monster tearing about a city, Not shaking camera pov with brief glimpses of the monster.

  3. says:

    Watchmen was a “mostly talky, existential R-rated superhero comic book,” so why would anyone be surprised that the movie adaptation was a “mostly talky, existential R-rated superhero movie”? It was a faithful adaptation, and the major change that they did make was an improvement.

  4. says:

    ‘Drive’ was better than the trailers! I was blown away.

  5. says:

    I agree with ‘Prometheus’. Totally underwhelming. The high-concept premise’s 2nd act turned into typical space-horror. And in the end? ‘Alien’ prequel.

  6. says:

    well, ‘Superman Returns’ the trailer looked cheesy and the movie was, well…cheesy.

  7. says:

    Still dont quite understand what people find wrong with ‘Phantom Menace’. It told a very important story in the SW canon. And (briefly) introduced the world to Darth Maul.

    • says:

      If you truly don’t understand, go to youtube and look up “Red Letter Media Phantom Menace Review”. It will explain everything to you… in words you CAN understand.

  8. says:

    WTH? Cloverfield was AWESOME! It was exactly what it set out to be! Why’s it on this list??

  9. says:

    Those of us in the comic book world kinda knew that the essence of ‘The Watchmen’ wouldn’t translate well on the silver screen. And for non-geek types (ie, muggles lol) it was too high conceptual to grasp. Still, was fun seeing all our fave characters/moments being played out in reall ife :)

  10. says:

    i actually fell asleep during ‘MI:3′. The sad thing is that MI:Ghost Protocol is the BEST of the series, and I wonder how many ppl skipped it because of MI:3?? Hmmm.

  11. says:

    The original ‘Elm Street’ scared the crap out of a lot of people both young and older. Each release afterwards got cheesier to the point where Elm Street was more FUN to watch than SCARY to watch. I don’t want my horror to be ‘fun'; i want to be shocked. Once audiences started laughing at and cheering Freddy on? The series was over.

  12. says:

    How about “The Talented Mr. Ripley”? The trailer led me to believe that Matt Damon’s character wanted to take over Jude Law’s life, including his girlfriend. “You’re shivering… may I hold you?” he says to Gweneth Paltrow in the trailer. But no. He wanted Jude Law himself… and then SETTLED for taking over his life. I was probably 1/4 – 1/3 of the way into it before I realized I was watching a movie about a gay serial killer. False advertising.

  13. says:

    I find most of these to be idiotic mini-reviews. It’s like the author
    of this didn’t watch the movies at all, or has little-to-no taste in
    movies. Horrible article. Just awful.

  14. says:

    You love to “pour” over details? Is that anything like spilling milk? The correct word is “pore”, dimbulb.

    • says:

      Lighten up, Francis.

      • says:

        “I think you must learn – if you’re in any filmmaking – you must respect the single frame. And there are twenty-four of those per second. If you don’t respect that single frame you’re in the same boat with a writer who does not respect a sentence or a phrase or a single letter or whatever. You have to find the smallest unit and you have to love it and believe that one will make a difference. One frame to me will make the difference between whether the thing’s funny or not.”

        — Chuck Jones

        Don’t argue with the man who created the Coyote and the Roadrunner.

  15. says:

    The best example of this is a movie called “Radio Flyer”: I never saw the movie but I read an article talking about how different the trailer was from the actual movie, and what happened to it… The trailer depicted the movie as a movie about two boys, brothers, who decide to try and turn their Radio Flyer wagon into a real working airplane. The trailer presented the movie as a “Family” movie… However, families who went to see the movie saw a movie in which the two boys were constantly being verbally and physcally abused by their stepfather. The reason for the Flyer? So the younger brother could escape the abuse by flying away from the abusive stepfather. The article stated entire families walked out of the movie.

  16. says:

    The trailer for the Social Network was great, but it was also a GREAT movie!

  17. says:

    OMG STYLEBLAZER! I am trying to read you article but each page of the article brings up the same ad and interview when trying to watch the video comparison on each page. Get it together, dummies. Never coming back here.

  18. says:

    Watchmen = best superhero movie, ever.

  19. says:

    How exactly did The Social Network not live up to expectations?

  20. says:

    Watchmen was a fantastic film, it lived up to its awesome trailers and then some

  21. says:

    Just because “Where The Wild Things Are” is supposedly dark/depressing (something tells me the person writing this article is a pansy anyway) doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. Such a stupid list.

  22. says:

    And who the hell expected Expendables to have a story/writing/character development?

  23. says:

    This was a poorly constructed list. MI:3 worse than the trailer? Hoffman was exactly as depicted in the trailer if not better. He took sinister to a whole different level. The whole cast was on point.

  24. says:

    I almost didn’t see Drive because of the trailer, it came across as a Transporter clone with some Hollywood douche in the lead role. Bored on a weekend though I decided to see it and loved every second of it. Perfect example of a movie that was better than the trailer.

  25. says:

    1. Unbreakable
    2. Transformers 2
    3. Star Wars Episode 2 (Trailer with Darth Vader breathing was far superior)
    4. The Informant – I thought it was a comedy…well

  26. says:

    Oddly, I found Drive to be a far better film than the trailer suggested. While I went expecting an exploitation film, I found instead a very poignant human drama populated by people living on the losing side of the tracks, like an Upstate NY version of Taxi Driver.

  27. says:

    Ummm… Wasn’t Social Network a huge critical and commercial hit? Who makes these lists? Yes 224 million box office with a 40 mil budget. 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t even remember the trailer. So, Wrong on #1 on the list so far, let’s see what else we got.

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