5 Movies That Were Completely Ruined By Their Trailers

The worst movie trailers include Drive, Cast Away, and Batman v. Superman.

By TeeJay Small | Updated

henry cavill and ben affleck

Movie trailers have long served as essential research for any film fanatic looking to carefully choose their next theater outing. Unfortunately, while many filmmakers pour their blood, sweat, and tears into crafting a well-paced story with surprising twists and turns, marketing companies are often responsible for spoiling major plot points or outright lying to audiences with deceptive advertising tactics. Much like James Cameron‘s Titanic trailer, which spoils the climax of the movie, or The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s trailer, which gave audiences the final shot of the film months before the box office release, here are five films that were completely ruined by their trailers.

5. Drive (2011)

Despite the 2011 Ryan Gosling-led masterpiece Drive consisting mostly of a slow and methodical emotional journey, in the vein of a Scorsese character study, the marketing geniuses behind the movie’s trailers decided to go in another direction. Instead of displaying Drive‘s muted tones or powerful neon visual aesthetic, the trailers for this film appeared to be marketing a fast-paced action film, suitable for the Fast and Furious franchise. Despite receiving critical praise for the nuanced writing and layered performances present in the film, many audiences left the theater feeling confused and frustrated after expecting more high-octane car chases and shootout scenes.

4. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

chris hemsworth

These days, the Joss Whedon-produced horror comedy is widely regarded as a cult classic for its subversive satire of the genre. However, this was not always the case as the movie trailers for The Cabin in the Woods advertised the film as a generic horror movie, appealing to the exact wrong crowd. Fans of straightforward slasher films such as Saw or Paranormal Activity left the theaters in 2011 scratching their heads in confusion, while fans of subversive comedy satires were turned off before the film ever hit the box office.

Though the Chris Hemsworth-led film did well at the box office and eventually reached the appropriate audience, initial screenings of The Cabin in the Woods failed to deliver on its trailer’s premise, landing it squarely on our list.

3. Terminator Genisys (2015)

terminator genisys

Though this movie’s trailer couldn’t have saved the ill-advised sequel even if it were a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of advertising media, the spoiler-laden marketing for Terminator Genisys has gone down in film history as one of the worst. Even the film’s director, Alan Taylor, has stated in interviews since the movie’s release that the trailers spoil major plot points for the film intended to remain under wraps until the awaiting audience could catch it on the big screen. In case you’re concerned about going into the 2015 film as blind as possible, you’ll want to skip forward to entry number two on this list.

The trailer for Terminator Genisys displays the series protagonist, John Connor, not only switching sides and turning on the future of humanity but doing so by transforming into a new model of the Terminator, the T-3000. With a staggeringly low 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film likely wasn’t on track to win any Best Picture nominations, to begin with, but the poorly executed marketing certainly didn’t do the production any favors.

2. Cast Away (2000)

Tom Hanks’ 2000 film Cast Away is an incredibly harrowing tale of one man’s journey to survive and ultimately escape the treacherous wilderness of a deserted Pacific island. The Robert Zemeckis film has been praised for its acting and directing alike, taking home Oscar Awards for both Best Actor and Best Sound Mixing. Unfortunately, the movie’s trailer gives away the first major plot point of the film, displaying Hanks’ character alive and well, stranded on the island after his FedEx flight crashes in a horrific storm.

While it may not be the most egregious spoiler on this list, this trailer deflates the tension from the film’s first act, displaying every major plot point of the first 30 minutes up to the moment Hanks arrives on the island. It’s almost as though the marketing department sought to have audiences arrive half an hour late to the theater, with the intention of catching just the scenes that weren’t spoiled in the television preview.

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

In an unfortunate trend of the late 2010s, Zack Snyder’s 2016 Batman V. Superman movie spoiled most of the important plot twists in its trailer. In addition to spoiling the arrival of classic comic antagonists such as Doomsday and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, the marketing also spoiled the arrival of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and a myriad of sneak peeks giving away the appearances of additional Justice League alumnus. Shortly after the film’s previews appeared on the internet, fans and critics alike could predict the movie’s major plot points far in advance of its box office debut.

This is a hazard of comic book adaptations writ large, though not usually to this extent. As noted by many diehard DC fans following Dawn of Justice‘s release, the only real plot points not telegraphed in the movie’s trailers were largely inconsequential roadblocks such as Superman’s death at the climax of the movie, which fans had already predicted to be reversed in later entries into the franchise.