Top 10 Trailers That Ruined the Movie

Script written by Niki Neptune. Whatever happened to leaving a little something to the imagination? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 trailers that ruined the movie. For this list, we’re looking at feature film trailers that revealed so much about the plots of their respective films that seeing the full-length movie was basically just a formality. Special thanks to our users Max Avdyugin, JosephT, Andrew A. Dennison, William Riche, Philip Folta and Ben Alfie Wesley for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Niki Neptune.

Top 10 Trailers That Ruined the Movie


Whatever happened to leaving a little something to the imagination? Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 trailers that ruined the movie.

For this list, we’re looking at feature film trailers that revealed so much about the plots of their respective films that seeing the full-length movie was basically just a formality.

#10: “Avatar” (2009)

You’d think that for a movie that’s almost three hours long, a two-minute trailer wouldn’t make a dent. Well, you’d be wrong. Though it’s basically just “Dancing with Wolves: Aliens Edition” we still would’ve preferred a little mystery. Not to say that it actually mattered, since the film went on to win all kinds of awards, set all kinds of records, and make sad sacks yearn for the neon paradise of Pandora.

#9: “The Negotiator” (1998)

We all know that the point of a trailer is to detail the events leading up to and including the climax of the movie. Oh, that’s not how it’s supposed to work? Clearly, whoever edited this sneak-peak missed that memo, as we see Samuel L. Jackson deal with the pressure of being framed in a really aggressive way. But at least we get a good glimpse of that wig.

#8: “The Sum of All Fears” (2002)

This trailer could have ended a minute and a half in and remained true to the plot of the book. While dealing with the aftermath of an explosion is theme of the novel, the trailer seems to blow its load prematurely, so to speak. At least we get to see Ben Affleck yell into a cell phone for 30 seconds.

#7: “Funny People” (2009)

Comedy trailers usually stand to benefit from only having to show a few hilarious highlights just to whet the viewer’s appetite. What they typically don’t do, however, is reveal what’s going on in the entire film blow by blow. Maybe the editors were secretly trying to tell us to skip the movie altogether by giving us the cheat codes.

#6: “The Island” (2005)

While there’s no such thing as too much Scarlett Johansson, there is such a thing as too much information. Getting TMI from a trailer can lead to symptoms of disappointment, discouragement, and an overall sense of ennui. If only there were an island where we could clone happier, healthier versions of ourselves that hadn’t had the entire plot of a Michael Bay film hand-fed to us by an overly generous trailer…

#5: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002)

If you hadn’t read the J. R. R. Tolkien series prior to watching the first movie, it’s likely you were silently weeping into your popcorn when Gandalf bit the big one. Apparently, the filmmakers wanted you to stop your crying with a Gandalf resurrection appearance in the second installment. But at least they waited until the end of the trailer to ruin it for you.

#4: “Free Willy” (1993)

In case you were wondering, Willy escapes. Wouldn’t it have been nice if that little detail were discovered after the audience had watched the movie? Clearly, someone thought it best to depict a cliff’s notes version of the movie, just in case the audience wasn’t into the whole killer whale in captivity thing. Joke’s on them, because everybody loves killer whales. We also love it when trailers don’t wreck happy endings.

#3: “Terminator Salvation” (2009)

The interesting thing about plot twists is that they tend to work better when the audience can’t see them coming. Unfortunately, this particular trailer is built around the main plot twist of the movie – the main character being (gasp) A TERMINATOR. A better trailer would’ve probably been the audio of Christian Bale’s on-set freak out, but one can only dream.

#2: “Cast Away” (2000)

While it was cool watching Tom Hanks go from white-collar schlub to paleo diet success story, seeing the end of the film in the trailer makes you wonder “why.” Why did they slap his return to civilization onto the end of the trailer? Were these two minutes too depressing for audiences to handle? From we can tell, it looked like an epic vacation, but what do we know? We’re just white-collar schlubs.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “What Lies Beneath” (2000)
- “The Double” (2011)
- “Date Night” (2010)
- “Contagion” (2011)

#1: “Carrie” (1976)

The absolute best part of this trailer is the voice-over that lets you know just what the audience is exactly in for. Clearly, things worked differently in the ‘70s, but this seems far above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one thing to make vague allusions to the plot, but to actually give a full rundown of the movie’s high points seems a bit excessive. At least we were made aware of John Travolta’s filmography.

Do you agree with our list? What trailer do you think ruined the movie? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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