Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Trailers That Gave Away Way Too Much Of The Movie

There's nothing worse than watching a trailer for an upcoming movie you're excited about—only to realize halfway through that the trailer is going to give away the entire plot. It used to be that you only saw these spoilery trailers if you spotted them during theater previews or television commercials, but the internet has changed all of that. With trailer releases now a major part of the movie marketing cycle, millions of people might watch a trailer on YouTube within hours of its release—which makes these spoiler-filled clips an even bigger problem. Let's take a look at some of the worst offenders over the years.

Funny People (2009)

The worst part about comedy movie trailers is when the studio inevitably packs every good joke from the film into the preview. The trailer for Judd Apatow's Funny People is no exception, sprinkling the best punchlines throughout—and taking it a step further by revealing that the lead character George, played by Adam Sandler, has a terminal illness and that he beats it. The overlong preview doesn't stop there: we also figure out that by the end, George is going to use his second lease on life to go after "the one who got away"—by trying to break up her seemingly happy marriage. Wow, now we've lost completely all interest in seeing this movie. Great job, marketing team.

Last House on the Left (2009)

The trailer for 2009's Last House on the Left leaves no surprise unspoiled as it bounces through the entire script, set to a "creepy" cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." In the space of two minutes and thirty seconds, we learn that two young women have an unfortunate run-in with fugitives, who then murder one and shoot the other, leaving her for dead. As they look for a place to hide overnight, the gang ends up at the lake house of the girl they shot. If the trailer had stopped there, it would have been pretty good—unfortunately, it goes on to show the surviving girl making it home, and her parents exacting their revenge on the criminals...including the literal final scene of the movie. There's really no point in even watching it now. You know everything that happens.

Jurassic World (2015)

The trailer for 2015's Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, isn't as egregiously bad as some others, but it does give away quite a bit: there's kids riding in a fancy vehicle alone, the management of the park is still meddling with genetics in ways they probably shouldn't, a dinosaur gets loose and starts wreaking havoc (the shredded hard hat is an easy giveaway of an early death), the children's fancy vehicle is found destroyed and abandoned, and an emergency flare/T-rex scene looks likely. You can infer quite a bit from those clues, but the trailer goes full spoiler when it shows a completely unnecessary shot of Pratt's character riding a motorcycle alongside velociraptors that aren't attacking him.

Carrie (2013)

To be fair, if you've read the Stephen King supernatural horror novel Carrie's based on, or you've seen the original 1976 version of the film, it's likely nothing about the 2013 remake was going to surprise you. However, for a new generation of horror fans or for oldsters with rusty memories, watching the trailer for the new Carrie was probably enough to give away the entire plot. 

It's immediately evident that Carrie is an outcast at school, with a religious and abusive mom, and she discovers she has strange powers. If they had stopped at the prom invitation and being shoved back into the closet, it would have been a great teaser. Instead, the studio decided to spoil the rest of the movie, setting up the prank and showing several clips from the infamous prom scene (and aftermath). Believe it or not, the 2013 trailer is at least better than the 1976 version, which is just as spoilery—and includes an annoying voiceover narrating every second of the action.

Cast Away (2000)

It may be one of Tom Hanks' most celebrated roles, but anyone who saw the trailer for the Robert Zemeckis film Cast Away promptly had the entire plot spoiled for them. In the preview, we're shown not only the plane crash Hanks' character survives and his arrival on the island where he's stranded, but we also witness much of his time there, including triumphs (like fishing or building fire) that would have been better saved for moviegoers. 

The trailer doesn't stop the spoilers there, either—it shows Hanks' character building a raft and writing a note detailing how long (1500 days) he'd been on the island. Even worse, it inexplicably tells us that he survives this harrowing journey and makes it back home. The Cast Away trailer is also another one of those "use the last shot of the movie as the last shot of the trailer so there's literally no surprises left" previews, which are especially despicable. Thanks for ruining everything, trailer editors.

Rocky IV (1985)

One thing we don't miss about vintage movie trailers: the annoying voiceovers. The trailer for 1985's Rocky IV is chock-full of dramatic narration that promptly spoils the death of Apollo Creed, along with Rocky's motivations to challenge Drago. It then goes on to spoil the early conflict between Rocky and Adrian, as well as the de rigueur training montage. 

While the trailer manages not to spoil the outcome of the fight between Drago and Rocky, that's the best thing that can be said for this spoilerific preview. Pour one out for Apollo Creed, because the trailer editors decided to reveal the death of a fan favorite character in the first 30 seconds of the preview. It'd be like putting the result of the showdown between Han Solo and Kylo Ren at the start of the trailer for The Force Awakens. These editors are just lucky that Twitter didn't exist back then, or they'd probably be out of a job.

GoldenEye (1995)

Speaking of annoying voiceovers, let's talk about the trailer for Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond in 1995's GoldenEye. After a six-year break in the series, the studio was eager to make GoldenEye a hit, and they made sure this trailer was everywhere. Unfortunately, in the process they decided to reveal just about all the surprises from the film. They fail to explain the premise of the movie (other than it involves the Russians somehow), but they do manage to divulge which "Bond girls" he hooks up with, the clever pen-bomb trigger designed by Q, the awesome tank chase scene, and the identity of GoldenEye's primary villain: Bond's former friend and colleague at MI6, Alec Trevelyan—code name "006." With so many spoilers packed into one trailer, it's a wonder this did so well at the box office.

Shutter Island (2010)

When the first trailer for Shutter Island was released, Paramount Pictures didn't bother to hide much of the plot. For fans of Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name, it was immediately obvious that the movie followed the book closely. For those who never read the book, they essentially now no longer needed to; the trailer pretty much neatly summarized the entire thing. It becomes evident early on that the disappearance of Rachel Solando is not the real mystery here, but the existence of a unknown 67th patient at the mental institution and the quickly accelerating deterioration of the main character's grip on reality.

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Pretty much all the Terminator trailers have been spoilery, but 2009's Terminator Salvation was one of the worst offenders. While we have to give the trailer credit for looking very cool, it also gives away the reveal that Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) doesn't realize he's actually a human-machine Terminator hybrid. And in case you're slow on the uptake and didn't get it at first, the trailer makes the point a second (and third) time, ending with a shot of Worthington with part of his face peeled away to reveal the metal skeleton beneath.

Dream House (2011)

Most critics and viewers seem to agree that Dream House was awful; the film was widely panned and stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz didn't even promote the movie. So even if you saw this completely spoilery trailer, it probably didn't much matter that it ruins the entire film. 

The trailer reveals that Craig's happy family was murdered, and what's more, that Craig was suspected of being the killer and was in a mental institution for years. It also shows him returning home to find his house condemned, before revealing his conversation with a neighbor (Naomi Watts) and the house burning down in the final confrontation. If you're curious about the movie, just watch the trailer and save yourself 92 minutes of "suspense."

Free Willy (1993)

The entire premise of Free Willy is whether the plucky Jason James Richter will be able to...free Willy. Thankfully, if you're not really interested in watching a 90-minute underdog story, the trailer answers that question: yes, yes he does. In addition to showing the whale heist and "whale jumps over small child to freedom" shot, the trailer also pretty much shows every other Free Willy plot point, from his capture to the actions of the cartoon-like villains who own the aquarium where Willy's held captive. The only question this trailer doesn't answer is what happened to Richter's career after the Free Willy sequels ended in the late '90s.

The Sum of All Fears (2002)

The trailer for Ben Affleck's debut as Jack Ryan in 2002's The Sum of All Fears is a lesson in how NOT to do a trailer for a spy film. This clip sets up the main threat early on: will Affleck and Morgan Freeman be able to track down the missing Russian scientists before they can build a nuclear bomb and use it on behalf of their neo-Nazi employer? If you haven't read the Tom Clancy novel it was based on, that sounds like an intriguing plot, and might have drawn a casual viewer to see the movie. 

Unfortunately, the trailer then destroys all the suspenseful build-up a little over a minute in, showing the bomb's detonation. The rest of the premise—can Ryan keep the President from wrongly retaliating against Russia?—seems like a major letdown after such a big reveal.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Naturally, there were several trailers for 2016's mega-movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The second promo trailer has over 28 million views on Youtube, and in it, the studio apparently decided to take the strategy of "give away the entire plot and hope fans are too devoted to the brand to care." 

The trailer makes no mystery of most of the critical plot points, with scenes in order and all the major beats revealed: Lex Luthor introduces Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, and manipulates them both to pit them against each other. The two superheroes fight for a while, until surprise!—here's Doomsday to kill them. But wait—who appears to save the day? Why it's Wonder Woman, and the duo becomes a trio—working together to battle the bad guy and save the world. Despite all the spoilers, the movie made over $870 million at the box office, so apparently the strategy paid off.

The Double (2011)

Okay, we lied. The trailer for The Sum of All Fears isn't the worst offender in the "spoilery spy trailers" category. That dubious honor goes to the promo for 2011's The Double, starring Topher Grace and Richard Gere. The trailer sets up the mystery: is the notorious assassin Cassius actually dead, or is he back and taking out more CIA targets on behalf of his Russian handlers? Richard Gere and Topher Grace take the case, and things quickly start to go sideways as they get too close. 

That would have been a perfect place to end the trailer, but of course, they don't. Instead, they go through a laundry list of who Cassius could be: is it Martin Sheen? Is it Toper Grace? Is it the Russian dude in prison with creative facial scarring? No! It's actually been Richard Gere all along, and look—here are some pivotal scenes of him attacking people willy-nilly. Now that you know the big reveal, you don't have to waste a moment of your life watching the rest.

Arlington Road (1999)

Arlington Road is actually a pretty good movie, so if you haven't seen it (or the trailer) yet, just skip right over this part so the whole thing isn't ruined for you. Gone yet? Okay, so if you're still reading, the entire premise revolves around a college professor and widower (Jeff Bridges) who begins to suspect that his neighbors are domestic terrorists instead of the "normal" nuclear family they appear to be. Bridges' character begins to obsess over the family, leading us (and his friends and loved ones) to wonder if his suspicions are valid or if he is actually losing his grip on reality. Instead of tying things up there and leaving us with a major hook to get into the theater to find out, the trailer quickly lets us know that no, Bridges' character isn't crazy—his neighbors are definitely terrorists. Add in spoilers of them kidnapping his son and their plot to blow up FBI headquarters, and there really aren't any major twists left to reveal.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

In many action films, one of the formulas used to keep suspense high involves hiding the true identity of the main villain. In 2003's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, they use this strategy, with much of the first two acts of the movie spent without the main characters knowing who the bad guy actually is. Too bad they didn't watch the trailer, because then they could have had this wrapped up in time for dinner. The trailer lets us know just a little over one minute in that former Angel Madison (Demi Moore) is the bad girl this time, which pretty much defeats the purpose of watching the movie. As if that weren't enough, a later promo also spoils the totally-not-cheesy "helicopter-escape-from-falling-truck" gambit from the beginning of the film, which, sadly,  is probably the coolest scene in the entire movie.

Final Destination (2000)

All the films in the Final Destination series are pretty bad about putting huge spoilers in their trailers. While we know the entire premise of the movies revolves around the demise of people who cheated death, spoiling those deaths (and how they happen) in the trailers of every movie in the franchise pretty much defeats the purpose. For example, in the trailer for the first Final Destination movie alone, we get to see Tod, Ms. Lewton, and Billy meet their gruesome fates. Later installments in the franchise are similarly spoilery, usually revealing the demise of at least a third of the cast along the way.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

We've saved this one for last because it's one of the biggest offenders—spoiling the entire plot of an otherwise great film and using a hilariously corny voiceover in the process. This is another one that you shouldn't read if you haven't seen the movie yet, because it's truly worth watching. 

By the end of the trailer, we know Martin (John Cusack) is a professional hitman, heading home for his high school reunion. While there, he reconnects with friends and an old flame, Debi. He's got some problems, though—his rival is in town, he's being chased by the feds, and his latest contract is actually for Debi's father. His rival decides to execute Debi's dad himself, sending Martin scrambling both to save him and make amends with his high school sweetheart before it's too late. Well, thanks for ruining the entire movie, Buena Vista. Thankfully, Grosse Pointe Blank is so good, it's worth seeing despite the trailer spoilers.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

If you're a fan of the budding Kingsman spy film franchise (based on the Kingsman comic books), you might have been looking forward to the 2017 sequel film Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Unfortunately, if you happened to watch either of the official trailers for the film, you probably had most of the movie spoiled for you in advance. 

In 2014's Kingsman: The Secret Service, Colin Firth's character Harry Hart is shot in the face by bad guy Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson). It's implied that Hart is dead, with Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton) taking over his role within the Kingsman spy organization. With the first official trailer for The Golden Circle, the Fox marketing team decided to spoil a huge secret in the final seconds of the trailer: Harry is still alive. This revelation didn't sit well with director Matthew Vaughn, who criticized the "lovely marketing guys" for giving away a scene that "would've made the whole audience gasp."

Apparently, the marketing guys didn't take the hint, because the second trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle revealed even more: Julianne Moore's character is the big bad, the Kingsman headquarters gets blown up and several agents killed, and Eggsy teams up with an American spy operation called Statesman this time around. They also showed lots of footage of Firth in action as Harry Hart, fighting with Eggsy at his side.

The Forest (2016)

In the 2016 supernatural horror film The Forest, Natalie Dormer (of Game of Thrones fame) stars as Sara Price, an American woman who travels to Japan to search for her missing twin sister, Jess (also played by Dormer). Much of the plot revolves around the legendary Aokigahara forest, a real forest located on the flank of Japan's Mount Fuji. Aokigahara has become infamous over the years for its haunted reputation, and it's known as the "suicide forest" because of the number of people who travel there in order to commit suicide within the solitude of the "Sea of Trees."

When Sara learns that Jess may have traveled to Aokigahara in order to commit suicide, she goes to Japan to track her sister down, convinced that Jess is still alive. After she finds a guide to take her into the forest (against the advice of the locals), Sara is beset with terrifying experiences and visions—many of which may not be real. Unfortunately, most of the biggest scares of the film are ruined by the trailer, along with the climax of the film (spoilers ahead!), where Sara is dragged beneath the soil of the forest by the spirits.

Children of Men (2006)

The dystopian science fiction film Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, sets up a fairly horrifying premise: the year is 2027, and for the last 18 years, the women of the world have been completely infertile. The cause of the infertility is unknown, and countries around the world have descended into chaos, violence, and war as humanity realizes they are facing extinction. When militant leader Julian (Julianne Moore) approaches her estranged husband Theo (Clive Owen) and asks him to help escort a young woman to the coast, he is reluctant at first.

A large sum of money helps persuade him, as does the information that the young woman (aptly named "Kee"), may hold the "key" to unlocking the solution to the infertility crisis—as long as she safely makes it into the hands of the researchers at the "Human Project." There are plenty of twists and turns along the way during their mission, but unfortunately, many of them were revealed by the trailer for the film. Most prominently, the trailer spoiled the truth about Kee: she is pregnant. This fact was carefully concealed in the film until the second act—a ruse which was made completely pointless by the careless editing in the trailer.

Detention (2010)

Not to be confused with the 2011 satirical horror film of the same name starring Josh Hutcherson, the 2010 horror/slasher movie Detention starred David Carradine in one of his final roles, as well as Robin Williams' daughter Zelda Williams. Both movies had a similar premise: a group of high school students are stuck in detention, and a mysterious serial killer is on the loose, stalking the hallways of their school. While the 2011 spoof managed to poke fun at common horror tropes along the way, the 2010 Detention took itself much too seriously.

Neither film did particularly well at the box office, but the one Carradine starred in truly bombed, earning only $190, according to IMDb. If you're curious to see David Carradine in one of his final roles, good luck tracking down Detention—your best bet is probably to look for the DVD on Amazon or eBay. That being said, if you'd like to save yourself the time (and pain) of sitting through it, just watch the massive four-minute-long trailer—which manages to neatly spoil every major plot point along the way.

Friday the 13th (1980)

Although the 1980 horror film Friday the 13th eventually went on to become a massive box-office success and spawned an entire franchise of sequels, crossovers, and reboots, the trailer for the movie definitely didn't do it any favors. 

In typical '80s style, the trailer for Friday the 13th has a voiceover—but this time, the marketing team at Paramount didn't bother trying to entice audiences with a mysterious backstory or synopsis. Instead, they used the unusual strategy of just showing every character's death in chronological order, while the voiceover tells viewers what "number" that victim is in the death order. 

Not only does the trailer have no qualms about spoiling every death in the movie, but it also was pretty misleading—the trailer implies that there will be 13 deaths during the film, but there were actually only ten: the nine victims and Pamela Voorhees herself.