Bait and Switch: Horrible movies that had great trailers

preview_screenIt’s happened to all of us. You are sitting in the theater, watching the coming attractions, waiting for your movie to start, and a trailer comes on that blows you through the back of the theater. You think, “That looks AWESOME!” and mentally make a note to check it out later. When the day comes that you can finally check out the movie you’ve been building up in your mind for months, you are disappointed. Maybe more so, maybe you are pissed. Perhaps even outright hostile towards the movie which did nothing to you except suck the will to live out of you.  It’s called the “bait and switch”.  Offer you one thing to get you in the theater, then give you something completely different.

Cutting together a trailer has almost become an art form in today’s Hollywood.  How many times have you watched a trailer and one funny line kills you, then you go see the movie and that was the only funny thing in the entire flaming pile of “poo doo”?  Too often.  Movie trailers should be considered a social contract.  If you promise to deliver an ass-melting action movie, then you better damn well deliver or I get to go to the director’s (or actors’, or producers’) home  and suplex them through their glass topped living room table.  It’s only fair.

Let’s take a look at a list of movies that had really awesome trailers, only to not deliver on said promise of awesome.

Snakes on a Plane
Snakes on a Plane (2006) – When the trailer for this movie started making the rounds on the internet in 2005-2006, it blew up big. Everyone was talking about it. People thought this movie was going to open HUGE. It didn’t. Turns out the movie kinda blew. The best part of the movie was Samuel Jackson and his one line about muthaf’n snakes which, by the way, was not originally in the film and added during post-production.  The expectations were too high for a Grade B horror movie that works better late at night, on HBO with like 5 drunk friends.  Surprisingly, it’s not as entertaining when you’ve just paid $10 for admission, $20 for concessions and aren’t completely bombed.

Mega Shark v Giant Octopus
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) – If you can look at that poster and tell me this movie doesn’t look like seven kinds of bad ass, then I would call you a LIAR, sir.  However, glance at the top of the poster and see the names of the starring actors;  Lorenzo Llamas and Deborah Gibson.  Well, crap…nevermind.  Surprisingly, this movie is the latest “buzz” movie on the internet.  Remember Snakes on a Plane (see above)?  This is Snakes on a Plane 2009, but with a much worse trailer.  MUCH worse.  Be prepared to be disappointed that neither Deborah Gibson nor Lorenzo Llamas is eaten by a shark or octopus.  Harry from Ain’t It Cool said, “…it delivers on the title, if nothing else.”

Sky Captain
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) –Kerry Conran, over four years, shot a black and white trailer against blue screen in his living room and cut together effects using his own Mac.  The trailer was cut to look like an old movie serial from the ’30s-’40s.  This is what Conran shopped to all the movie studios, a trailer for a movie that didn’t exist.  Most studios turned him down until he found some private financing for filming and New Line footing the bill for S/FX.  Maybe he should have spent that four year span writing a script instead of shooting a trailer, hmmm?  In the end, the movie was a gimmick.  All style over substance.  Very pretty and stylish, but the story and action were boring.  At best, a novelty that didn’t even make back its initial investment.  However the concept and trailer were top notch, too bad the entire product wasn’t.

Double Take poster
Double Take (2001) – This movie had a fantastic trailer. There was one scene in the trailer with Orlando Jones ordering Schlitz Malt Liquor at a dinner table then when he’s informed they don’t have it, he goes off about keepin’ it REAAAAL and REPRESENTIN’. Hilarious. Steph and I were quoting it for months before the movie came out. Then we went to see it, and that was the funniest one minute and thirty seconds of the movie. I don’t actually even remember anything else ABOUT the movie other than that one scene. So disappointing, but I’m not sure how the movie could have lived up to the hype Steph and I created by shouting “SCHLITZ MALT LICKAAAA!!!!!” at the top of our lungs to each other. FYI…we still quote that scene to this day. The clip below is the Schlitz Malt liquor scene in question. It really amps up around the 1:30 mark.

Bubba Ho-Tep
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) – Now, when I saw this trailer I thought, “Holy CRAP!! This movie is gonna be awful yet awesome at the same time!  Awe-ful!!!” I mean, it had Bruce Campbell playing Elvis in a retirement home trying to fight off an undead mummy.  How can this go wrong?!  Well, it went horribly wrong, and not in an awesome Plan 9 From Outer Space way.

Soldier
Soldier (1998) – I had really high hopes for this as an action movie. I love Kurt Russell.  And I know that Carpenter movies tend to be lower budget, but they are usually fun. I saw this as a more action-y version of Big Trouble in Little China (which I loved). The trailer is even really good. However, this movie, as a whole, isn’t. Watch the trailer, at the :30 mark there is a huge planetary battle in space with tons of ships. There is no scene like this in the movie at all. There is no place for a huge interplanetary space battle in the story. So how the hell did it get in there?  Hello Hollywood marketing machine.  What we get with this is Kurt Russell bred as a bad ass soldier and all we see him do is teaching a little boy how to kill snakes.  SNAKES.  Yeah, I know.

What movies have you been super excited to see based on their trailer only to have been dissapointed?

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17 Responses to “Bait and Switch: Horrible movies that had great trailers”

  1. Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus? WTF?!?!

  2. Trailers always look good. It’s hard to mess up a trailer. I remember the teaser for Superman Returns and getting hyped up…then I was supremely disapointed.

    • Agreed. Superman Returns did have a great trailer. However, I watched the movie again recently, and thought it was a bit boring. I remember really liking it in the theater. Hmmmmm…

  3. dont you hate when that happens? the last one that I was really looking forward to was ‘Baby Mama’ with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, trailer was fun, movie was dissapointing. Another on was ‘Step Brothers’, with Will Ferrell, I expected so much more from him 😦
    I’m a sucker for Jude Law so i’d probably still watch ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’

    • I enjoyed Baby Mama. However the first time I saw it, it was slightly disappointing. When I watched it again with my wife, I enjoyed it more. Definitely had great quotes.

      Step Brothers, the first time I saw it, was disappointing. My wife and I watched it again and we wound up quoting it to each other like crazy. Now I think it’s funny. Anchorman had the same effect on me. Those two movies really shine when you watch with a bunch of friends and start quoting the lines to each other.

  4. How on earth could you have thought any of these looked good in the first place?

  5. Can I say this without getting tomatoes thrown at me? Watchmen had a FANTASTIC trailer–the one with the Smashing Pumpkins song, but the movie was just not as great as I expected it to be. But that trailer, wow! Public Enemies has a pretty good trailer…hope that one isn’t a bummer also.

  6. I haven’t seen any of these thank goodness! You’re right though, some of these trailers do look cool.

  7. Mike Lehman Says:

    IMHO Watchmen is the king of this topic. The trailer kinds 7 kinds of ass, but the movie was reallllllly slow. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is another one that disappointed.

    • I didn’t think Watchmen was slow, I really enjoyed it and thought it was better than the trailer. I wasn’t sold on the trailer alone.

      I agree on Hitchhiker’s Guide. Great cast, funny trailer. Weird as balls movie.

      • Mike Lehman Says:

        It may have been the circumstances under which I saw Watchmen: Jenny was out of town and I went to see I Love you Man. It let out at nearly 10 and I noticed that Watchmen started 10 minutes earlier. I popped in just to see it for a few minutes. As I am in there, I decide to take in a free movie, naughty bastard I am. So I sat in there and I kept hearing this bottle clanking noise from a guy a few rows back. I also notice that an usher keeps coming in, walking around and walking out. An hour in to the movie, I was starting to sweat “Am I going to get kicked out? “What’s gonna happen?” “Finally three ushers come in with a manager and he walks up to me and asks to see my ticket. I tell him I don’t have one when he hears the bottle clanking a few aisles up. The guy in the back row had about 7 or 8 empty beer bottles and couldn’t find his ticket. I decide I couldn’t endure the stress of being a criminal any more and leave. As I am walking out, I hear the manager telling the drunk dude ” Sir, only 3 tickets were sold for this showing and you don’t have your stub and you are obviously drunk….” I beat feet out of there soooo fast. So my perception of the movie may be skewed.

      • Wow, that’s quite a story, Mike. LOL!!

  8. The movies I want to see in 2009 has to be Public Enemies, the story of John Dillinger and Johnny Depp always seems to choose great scripts and plays them well.

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