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The most disappointing movie trailers of all time

The biggest tool studios employ to win over moviegoers ahead of a film's release is the trailer, a two-minute sneak peek at the movie's best bits. These miniature sizzle reels typically include a bit of plot info, snippets of quotable dialogue, and a good look at the film's most intense sequences, all edited to be perfectly in sync with some great music. Doesn't sound that hard to produce, right? Well, it can be.

Either because a film is on track to be a dumpster fire with no salvageable footage or because the studio behind the flick isn't smart about hiring good promo editors, bad trailers can — and do — happen. But what makes a trailer go from bad to disappointing is that sometimes it's for a movie with a lot of buzz surrounding it, and that buzz turns sour after a rough teaser destroys the public's perception of the film ahead of release. We've rounded up ten of the worst instances of such film-tanking trailers, so get ready to be disappointed by some of Hollywood's shoddiest promotional work.

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Who you gonna call?

The original Ghostbusters movie means a lot to many people. So many people, in fact, that when the 2016 reboot's first trailer hit, millions of passionate fans of the original caused an angry outcry heard 'round the world. Just check the dislike counter on the official YouTube video for proof.

This outrage over a trailer stems from the fact that the original Ghostbusters, campy and funny as it was, was also a novel, well-written story led by one of the best ensemble casts of all time. The 2016 Ghostbusters trailer (and unfortunately the movie as well, when it eventually came out) failed to grok any of these points, which resulted in a video that advertised something akin to a supernatural take on Paul Feig's Bridesmaids. The whole thing played like a two-minute SNL riff on Ghostbusters, especially since it included quite a few actual SNL cast members failing to do anything but their standard routines. 

Between the trailer's endless sea of shoddy jokes, bizarre stereotypes, unappealing snippets of action set-pieces, and a failure to hint at any respect for the original movie, it was an advertisement that was doomed from the get-go. Almost everything that could go wrong with it did, with the exception of its awesome dubstep remix of the original Ghostbusters theme. But a good beat can't save a bad, unintentional mockery of a beloved classic.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Spoilers

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's second trailer irked a lot of people when it debuted, mainly because it undermined the entire concept of a trailer. The point should be to build excitement and intrigue, not spell out your movie's entire plot and showcase its most divisive and poorly-designed elements. Nevertheless, Warner Bros. went ahead and spoiled everything with trailer two. They not only revealed that Superman and Batman team up in the end, but they also spilled the beans that the two frenemies do so in order to join forces with Wonder Woman in the fight against Doomsday, whose visual incarnation clearly left something to be desired. Fans were comparing him to an uglier version of the live-action Ninja Turtles, to put in perspective just how bad the art direction was.

Speaking of things no one asked for in this trailer, it gave us a lot of hit-or-miss jokes, most of which seemed like half-hearted attempts to ape some of the MCU's style. It also heavily featured Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, otherwise known as the most divisive interpretation of the character ever to hit the big screen. Many found the trailer's version of Lex to be cringe-inducing, and when coupled with the ugly Doomsday reveal and spoiling of the movie's third act, many fans were left wishing this disappointing ad had never released in the first place.

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No Venom, no problem

The whole appeal of a Venom movie comes from the idea that Venom will, y'know, be in the movie. Apparently the folks working on Sony's Venom teaser didn't get that memo, though, because this reel featured a whole lot of Eddie Brock, and none of the guy that the movie is named after.

It was still an interesting trailer, in that it gave us a good look at Tom Hardy's Eddie and did a good job preparing us for a legitimately scary Marvel movie (though the film ended up being a fun buddy cop comedy, to everyone's surprise). But it didn't deliver the one thing everyone was clamoring for: a look at the milky white eyes and salacious smile of everyone's favorite Spider-Man villain. The closest thing we got to a peek at Venom was a shot of a jar filled with an agitated symbiote, hinting that maybe the titular character actually would have some role in the film. Still, disappointment was rife in the Marvel fanbase until the second Venom trailer came along and unleashed the big black monster in all his slimy, superheroic glory. At that point, fans could put the sour aftertaste of the first trailer behind them.

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An extinction-grade trailer

After a spectacular teaser, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom really missed the mark with its final trailer. It almost seems like a completely different marketing team handled each one. The first had really intense, atmospheric music, a smart cut of scenes that didn't give away much of the plot, and, best of all, a jaw-dropping cliffhanger ending that left viewers dying to know the fate of all three protagonists. In short, this ad built boatloads of excitement and intrigue for Fallen Kingdom.

The final trailer, however, undid everything that made the first trailer special by spelling out the significance of what happened in the aforementioned teaser, as well as what plot events came after it and what the movie's endgame was going to be. There was nowhere near as much atmosphere, intensity, suspense, or ambiguity in the final trailer. It plainly stated exactly what you'd get by going to see Fallen Kingdom, which, ironically, defeated the purpose of seeing the movie in the first place. To say this trailer disappointed people might very well be an understatement — for a lot of viewers, it constituted a reason to skip the film entirely.

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Driving off a cliff

There's no denying that a movie like Drive isn't easy to advertise. After all, how do you sell a slow-burn thriller-romance-drama with occasional bouts of extreme violence? Well, not like this. We might not know exactly how to market a flick like Drive, but we sure as heck know one example of how not to. The trailer we got, besides spoiling a lot of the story in an unceremonious and unimpressive way, just failed to convey any of Drive's core ethos. 

This is a film that banks on being effortlessly cool via its style, music, costume design, and many other elements that take a full two hours of viewing to really appreciate. There's no way to convey that kind of ambiance inside of two minutes, so Drive's trailer editors opted to just shove all the "money shots" and action-y bits into the teaser, neither of which work without the full movie's emotions fueling them. And speaking of emotions, the trailer couldn't maintain a consistent tone and barely paid attention to the main romantic pairing of the film, leaving viewers to wonder what plot threads tied the cast together.

The trailer's editors likely thought that by pumping out two minutes of ominous cinematography synced to atmospheric music they could somehow convey the complexities of Drive. In this regard, the trailer fails, and makes for a supremely disappointing advertisement — doubly so if you watch it after seeing the full film and realize how many people probably skipped Drive after seeing the teaser.

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Bay-watch this mess

Just like with Ghostbusters 2016, there was a pretty sizable amount of buzz surrounding Baywatch before the first trailer came out. People were curious if a cast of very attractive people, led by a new buddy-cop duo of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, could be enough of a grab to make for an engaging movie. Plus, fans of the original Baywatch series wanted to see how their favorite '90s property was being retooled for modern times. As such, a lot was riding on the debut teaser.

Unfortunately for everyone, Baywatch's first trailer (and the trailers and movie that followed) failed to stick the landing, displaying nothing of merit beyond some hot shots of good-looking folks in swimsuits. The rest of the trailer was jam-packed with crude, obnoxiously in-your-face humor, "jokes" that weren't even clever enough to be called jokes, a bizarre attempt at light-heartedly teasing a plot involving murder and drugs, and all the other tropes of bad comedy teasers. Fans of the old Baywatch felt the trailer didn't live up to the series' name, newcomers were put off by how juvenile the R-rated movie's promo piece was, and many people walked away disappointed and unhappy with what they saw — including some of the film's own actors. Dwayne Johnson, for example, admitted he didn't think Baywatch panned out too well.

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Beastie Boys Beyond

Beastie Boys? Awesome. High-octane sci-fi action involving motorcycles and laser guns? Outstanding. Star Trek? Amazing. Put them all together in a trailer, though, and you've got a recipe for a lot of disappointed fans.

In a rare case of Hollywood putting the cart before the horse, the editors who pieced together the debut trailer for Star Trek Beyond decided to theme it around the movie's best set piece, which involves the Beastie Boys song "Sabotage." As a result, the trailer blasted rock music and showcased Beyond's big action scenes. Unfortunately, it seems the editors forgot that we hadn't seen the movie yet, meaning we wouldn't understand the context. Instead, we thought the ad's "mindless popcorn flick" vibe was representative of what Star Trek Beyond was going to be as a whole.

For this reason, a lot of fans were upset and disappointed by the first trailer, thinking the creators of the movie had forsaken the high concepts and intellectual nature of Star Trek. Thankfully, most realized the debut trailer was just a marketing snafu after they saw the movie itself, which delicately balanced its blockbuster thrills with the traditional thematic tenets of Trek. As you can see on the trailer's YouTube comments, a lot of people actually like the trailer now, as they rewatch it after having seen the movie. That's not how marketing is supposed to work, but hey, at least this disappointment had a happy ending.

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A predatory preview

When you think of the Predator franchise, what sort of imagery comes to mind? Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his biceps while toting a rifle? An alien cloaking itself after cutting a bunch of humans into bloody chunks for sport? Or maybe some badass, machismo-infused combo of the two? Well, 2018's The Predator trailer would like you to rethink everything you like about the franchise.

In The Predator's disappointing debut trailer, fans learn that the aliens known for being recreational hunters now aim to hybridize with other species, a plot shift which fundamentally changes the creatures' (and series') entire mission. Furthermore, the vast majority of the trailer doesn't even focus on the titular predators, but on a kid playing with a model of a spaceship (psst: it's actually alien technology). Copious seconds are squandered on watching a kid open a box and play with a toy, in a trailer that's supposed to be about the most lethal alien race in the galaxy. Then, we get a couple of quirky jokes, a lot of disorienting cuts of action sequences, and lastly, a glimpse of a predator in action. That's the whole ad.

A lot of viewers thought the trailer's strange content and generally humorous tone were uncharacteristic of the franchise. As a result, the trailer got the movie's marketing off to a bumpy start. Considering the series' eight-year hiatus prior to this teaser, this wasn't the comeback many fans had been hoping for.

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Adam Sandler's darkest hour

Jack and Jill's trailer has just about every telltale sign that it's advertising one of Adam Sandler's lesser films: bottom of the barrel humor crammed into every other second of footage, a preposterously gimmicky premise, Sandler degrading himself in embarrassing ways for our "amusement," and a narrator who sounds every bit as self-hating and cliché as you'd hope for someone promoting a movie like this. 

When people negatively stereotype Hollywood for its hackneyed, painfully lowbrow American comedies, this is the kind of trailer they imagine. For comparison's sake, Tootsie was a movie that managed to turn crossdressing into a funny, heartfelt story. But this trailer (and the movie that eventually followed) portrays it as something done for the cheapest of dumb giggles.

The ad also has an obsession with pointing out how slow Adam Sandler's character's sister (also played by Sandler) is, as though anyone watching will laugh because she's stupid but not laugh at how stupid the whole film looks. It's mind-numbing how telegraphed and predictable every beat of this trailer's style is, leaving little for the audience to guess besides how much worse the next gag will be. The reason this trailer is disappointing and not just bad is because there are actual fans of Adam Sandler and Al Pacino (yes, he's in this movie too) who expect better of their favorite stars, and when they see trailers like this, it's proof that their cinema icons have become sad, hollow puppets of their former selves.

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That's no moon, it's a bad trailer

While fans may want to believe that George Lucas knew exactly what he was doing when he first conceived the worldwide phenomenon set in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars' initial trailer certainly didn't paint that confident of a picture. The 1977 movie's original promo reel… kind of sucked.

It's hard to tell what specifically makes this trailer so bad. Is it the campy narration that seems to be spoofing an episode of The Twilight Zone? Could it be the lack of any big, boisterous John Williams music, or any noticeable music at all? Or perhaps it's the terribly quick, sloppy cuts of action scenes. Seriously, the bit where the editor tries to show off the scuffle in the Mos Eisley cantina is so ridiculously cut that it looks like body-cam footage captured by a drunk bystander rather than anything filmed by legitimate cinematographers. Maybe that's all the editors had to work with at the time they were tasked with making the trailer, but still, what a bad choice for an advertisement.

Perhaps it's the fact that we're viewing this decades later, but even the sets, effects, and acting all look beyond cheesy based on this trailer's presentation of the film. In short, don't watch this if you don't want to feel a bizarre form of retroactive disappointment and embarrassment over the original Star Wars' marketing.