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Terrible Movies Everyone Assumed Would Be Great

It never fails—the Hollywood hype machine winds up and fans get super-invested in a film, only to be hugely disappointed when it actually hits the big screen. Let's take a look at some of the most anticipated movies that ended up being gigantic letdowns.

Alien 3 (1992)

Expectation: After the first two movies in the Alien franchise were blockbuster hits that created legions of fans, pretty much everyone was waiting on the edge of their seats for the third installment, which would see Sigourney Weaver return to her breakout role as Ripley.

Reality: In what was basically a big "screw you" to fans, the first five minutes of the movie show the deaths of three popular characters from the previous film, including poor little Newt. The replacement cast for Alien 3 have so little character development that they may as well be Star Trek redshirts just waiting to be killed off. A depressing storyline and rehashed action sequences put the final nails in the coffin.

Godzilla (1998)

Expectation: Take the action-adventure powerhouse director from Independence Day, give him a huge budget, a star-studded cast, and millions of dollars in marketing and promotion, and you're sure to have a summer blockbuster on your hands. At least, that was the idea.

Reality: Despite the relentless marketing campaign, Godzilla was a disappointment. The script was horrible, the main characters unlikeable, and the visual effects were just plain bad. While much of the disappointment can be linked to the massive hype built up by the studio's promotion, at least part of the blame can be laid firmly on the shoulders of director Roland Emmerich, who recently landed another dud with 2016's Independence Day: Resurgence.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Expectation: When the director of 2001, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket returns with his first film since 1987, complete with a story about the lurid sexcapades of a couple portrayed by two stars who are actually married to each other, people are bound to sit up and take notice. Not only that, but Stanley Kubrick died just days after the final cut was finished, sending even more moviegoers out in droves to see what was to be his final film.

Reality: Although Eyes Wide Shut was marketed as an erotic drama, the plot is anything but titillating. Kubrick presented viewers with over two and a half hours of dreamlike plodding that's ultimately more dark and depressing than it is sexy. While the film has made it onto several critics' best-of lists in the years since its release, Eyes Wide Shut remains a movie that definitely did not live up to its hype.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Expectation: When you're at the helm of one of the most beloved film franchises of all time, it's hard to not be crushed under the weight of fan expectations. After George Lucas announced the first of a new set of Star Wars prequels, the fan hype machine went into immediate overdrive.

Reality: Even with a seriously weighty cast including Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Natalie Portman, Phantom Menace was doomed from the second it hit theaters. Cardboard cutouts would have done just as well in the main roles. Viewers are given no reason to care about the protagonists, the plot is riddled with holes and inconsistencies, and the dialogue falls flat. If that weren't enough, we'll leave you with these three words: Jar Jar Binks.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Expectation: The directors of the relatively low-budget blockbuster Matrix are given a big pile of studio cash and creative license to do pretty much whatever they want. What could possibly go wrong?

Reality: A lot, apparently. While there were some great action sequences and CGI effects in Reloaded, the plot is convoluted and it seems like the Wachowskis just threw a bunch of random ideas at the wall to see what would stick. Even though it's only two minutes longer than the original, it feels like it drags on forever. The best thing about The Matrix: Reloaded is that it isn't The Matrix: Revolutions.

The Golden Compass (2007)

Expectation: Based on the super-popular His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman, The Golden Compass had legions of ready-made fans who couldn't wait for a faithful big-screen adaptation.

Reality: Even with a $180 million budget, director Chris Weitz couldn't pull it off properly, straying from the beloved source material with a clumsily rushed plot that left out some of the best parts of the books. Even worse, the movie's finale ended on a poorly-executed cliffhanger that will never be followed up, since all plans for a sequel were canceled after this dud hit the big screen.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

Expectation: Despite Harrison Ford's age, many fans were excited by the prospect of a new installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, especially one with both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on board. We expected Ford to carry the film with some Sean Connery-esque moments of comedic relief, and hoped for him to mentor a young actor who could possibly take over when Ford was ready to bow out.

Reality: Instead of a rollicking new Indiana Jones adventure, cinemagoers were treated to a nonsensical plot complete with aliens and a nuclear bomb-proof refrigerator, as well as soulless supporting performances from Ray Winstone and Shia LaBeouf—and worst of all, an Indy who was more of a grumpy "get off my lawn" old man than a funny "I'm too old for this crap" aging adventurer.

Brüno (2009)

Expectation: After the wild success of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat, it was only natural to expect that a follow-up with the final character from Cohen's Da Ali G Show would be equally hilarious.

Reality: Instead of a spinoff that matched the hilarity of Borat with his delightfully uninformed political incorrectness, Brüno ventured further into the depths of vulgarity, homophobia, and offensiveness for the sake of being offensive. It was still funny in spots, but many Borat fans were left disappointed by a derivative work that didn't stand up to the original.

The Last Airbender (2010)

Expectation: Any time M. Night Shyamalan gets his hands on a movie, it's bound to either be amazing or a complete flop. When a movie based on the hugely popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender was announced, the hype could barely be contained by most fans.

Reality: Airbender proved to be a huge disappointment with its disjointed storyline, bad casting decisions, complete abandonment of the source material, and lackluster visual effects. Instead of a live-action tribute to a beloved series, we got something most Avatar fans would rather pretend doesn't exist.

Movie 43 (2013)

Expectation: A dozen of the most talented directors in Hollywood team up with an all-star cast of A-list talent (holding a collective 14 Oscar nominations between them) to produce what should have been one hilarious anthology of short films. It was going to be a Four Rooms for the 21st century.

Reality: A disjointed series of sketches that would have been cut from Saturday Night Live even during its least funny years, filled with the most over-the-top, offensive, and unfunny gags possible. It was so bad that some of the stars (like Richard Gere) tried to back out before it was too late—and when it arrived, critics called the disastrous end result the "Citizen Kane of awful."