Stop Tricking Us Into Watching Musical Movies

By Christopher Isaac | Updated

I can’t be the only one who has noticed a recent trend of popular new movies trying to pull a bait and switch on viewers. For me, it first happened when I went to see Wonka, and I was quickly taken aback to realize it was a musical. Not that I have anything against the genre, but I was very surprised since none of the trailers for the movie had really promoted it in that way.

Mean Girls A Musical As Well

Then as the 2024 Mean Girls was coming out, I saw a lot of discourse online frantically warning people that this was also a musical despite the marketing not looking like it.

So I just have to wonder, why do marketing teams keep trying to trick people into watching musical movies?

The Color Purple’s Advertising

It is not even just those two movies, as The Color Purple also recently got flak for doing this in its advertising that hid the movie being a musical. It definitely feels deliberately deceptive to hide such a key genre component of the movie.

So it makes me believe marketing teams must be doing it on purpose because they worry audiences are not interested in musical movies. But then that begs the question, why make the movie a musical in the first place if they are worried people won’t like it?

Tricked Into Seeing The Musical?

musical movies

It comes off a bit like Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss where marketing teams are just so convinced we will all like musical movies if we are just tricked into giving them a chance.

But I saw Wonka in theaters and once it became apparent how much singing was going to be in the movie, there were numerous audience members who left and never came back. Sorry marketers, but some people will just never enjoy green eggs and ham even after giving them a chance, and the same is true of musicals.

No Other Genre Does This

musical movies

It is honestly just such a bizarre trick to pull. Imagine if the marketing for some new sci-fi movie just totally hid that the movie was filled with spaceships by selectively arranging a trailer to look like everything was on Earth.

No other genre does this, so why is it becoming a trend with musical movies? Is there some data somewhere that shows the box office returns are so much higher if the advertising hides that the movie is a musical? That seems hard to believe since reviewers and word of mouth would quickly inform everyone of the truth.

People Do Like Musicals

anne hathaway musical movies

I am not even saying that Wonka was a bad movie or that I had a problem with it being a musical. It just would have been nice to know that fact ahead of time.

It is not as if musical movies are so reviled that nobody will show up for them. 2012’s Les Miserables made over $442 million at the box office against a $61 million budget, and was nominated for Best Picture even with the trailers showing it was a musical.

There are tons of musical fans who will show up for that sort of movie. But the people who hate musicals aren’t suddenly going to be converted just because of deceptive advertising.

Cats To Blame?

musical movies

If this is all a response to 2019’s Cats being such a failure, marketers need to realize that that wasn’t because it was a musical movie. It was because it was a terrible movie with creepy looking CGI. Go ahead and keep making as many musicals as you want, but please stop trying to trick people into seeing them!