10 Movies That Are Worse Than Their Trailers


Watchmen | Warner Bros.

A good trailer doesn’t always make for a good movie. Since trailers typically run between one to three minutes, it’s easy to cut together something that for that amount of time looks patently awesome, but when extended out to a feature-length movie is godawful — as many moviegoers who went to see Suicide Squad discovered.

With the rise in popularity of trailers these past few years, it’s only natural that some would end up with movies falling way short of our expectations. But hey, who doesn’t like a good trailer even after the fact?

1. Watchmen (2009)

Despite earning a middling 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie adaptation of the popular graphic novel was widely regarded as a disappointment. Its runtime is up around almost three hours and features an ending that represents a huge diversion from that of its source material.

All that aside, director Zack Snyder gives us a visual feast, providing anyone cutting together a trailer a treasure trove of usable footage. The trailer is unabashedly cool, giving no indication of the relative disappointment to follow in theaters.

2. Green Lantern (2011)

In 2011, the DC Comics franchise was just beginning to build steam following the 2008 release of The Dark Knight. Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern was supposed to be the next step into an age of Marvel-esque success. Instead, Green Lantern was an unmitigated disaster, setting back the studio’s franchise plans for years. It checked in at 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, making back barely half of its gigantic $200 million budget (numbers also from Rotten Tomatoes).

You wouldn’t have guessed this would happen based on the first three-minute teaser, though. In it, we see Reynolds cracking wise in a recognizably green getup with brief trips to the furthest reaches of space interspersed throughout. Oh, what could have been.

3. Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace (1999)

It had been almost 20 years since the last Star Wars movie when The Phantom Menace was released in 1999. In that time, a generation of sci-fi fans were raised on the franchise, spending virtually their entire childhoods waiting for the next movie.

So needless to say, when the trailer first dropped for The Phantom Menace, people went a little crazy. What they got upon the film’s release was something of a mess, making many feel as though George Lucas had lost his mind. We all got just as excited for the trailer for The Force Awakens, and fortunately, we weren’t disappointed with the film this time around.

4. Man of Steel (2013)

Will we ever get another good Superman movie? When the first teaser for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel came out, it really seemed like we would. It gave us just enough to get excited about, showing us Clark Kent’s decidedly human side and more than just the blue-and-red suit.

But then along came the feature-length movie, and what we saw was a new Superman with the same old problem: How do you portray a virtually indestructible and moral hero in a complex and nuanced light? Unfortunately, Snyder failed to answer that question, giving us another subpar run at the Man of Steel. Here’s hoping Wonder Woman isn’t another letdown.

5. Terminator Salvation (2009)

Each rebooted franchise has one thing in common: The one movie that was so bad, it made the studio scrap everything and try again. For Terminator, that movie was the ironically titled Terminator Salvation. In the run-up to its release, it seemed like such a good idea.

Christian Bale starring as John Connor alongside Bryce Dallas Howard and Sam Worthington for all intents and purposes should have worked. At 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, though, it sadly did not. The rebooted Terminator Genisys came out in 2015, and unfortunately, our hopes were dashed once again.

6. Sucker Punch (2011)

It seems like Zack Snyder can’t manage to stay off this list, checking in with Man of Steel, Watchmen, and now, Sucker Punch. What that really tells us is that Snyder is skilled at making movies that look good but lack substance.

Sucker Punch is the perfect example of this, boasting some absolutely breathtaking special effects but ending up tragically light on character development. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a less-than-stellar 23% rating, reporting just a $36 million box office haul that fell well short of making back its $82 million budget.

7. Suicide Squad (2016)

Things seemed so damn promising following the release of Suicide Squad‘s first trailer. It had everything: witty banter, stylized action, and even Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the backing track. It was a trailer so well-received, that the company who cut it together was eventually tasked with re-cutting the entire film for Warner Bros. Many argue that this was the movie’s downfall, leading to a scattered and frenetic final product. It’s not often that we see an awesome trailer directly contributing to a bad movie, but Suicide Squad managed to accomplish just that.

8. Cloverfield (2008)

Back in 2008, Cloverfield represented the final straw for peoples’ patience with the found footage genre. While an interesting concept on the surface, there was little denying that watching a shaky-cam sci-fi movie with little semblance of scene construction or story doesn’t play well over two full hours. Still, the trailer for the film was a rousing success, namely because found footage is awesome in two minute spurts. It’s when you start extending into feature-length movies where problems arise.

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings saga is iconic in cinema, as one of the most compelling and wide-scoping fantasy trilogies of all time. It’s The Hobbit where things went wrong for the talented director though, as he tried to squeeze a 300-page book into three separate movies. That didn’t make us any less excited for the debut trailer, that showed us action, adventure, and a few familiar faces along the way. Oh what could have been …

10. Tron: Legacy (2010)

Tron: Legacy was one of those movies that looked absolutely incredible from a visual standpoint, but delivered nothing in the way of an interesting or nuanced story. Even with Jeff Bridges back to play his original character, the film couldn’t quite measure up to the sky-high expectations set by the killer trailer.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickNorthwest

Check out Entertainment Cheat Sheet on Facebook!