A new federal ruling suggests movie studios could face lawsuits for false advertising in trailers – so, the following are five misleading trailers from the past, that could get you sued in the future.
An early trailer for Danny Boyle’s musical movie Yesterday featured Ana De Armas. But that character was cut from the final film. A move that so annoyed a pair of Ana De Armas fans that they sued studio Universal for false advertising.
On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled in their favor, and against Universal, who had claimed that movie trailers are entitled to First Amendment protection.
“Universal is correct that trailers involve some creativity and editorial discretion, but this creativity does not outweigh the commercial nature of a trailer,” US District Judge Stephen Wilson wrote in his ruling. “At its core, a trailer is an advertisement designed to sell a movie by providing consumers with a preview of the movie.”
According to Variety, “the case will now proceed to discovery and a motion for class certification.” But while we wait for that to happen, the following are five of the most deceptive trailers ever.
“The stories are true. He’s come back to seek his revenge.” So says Maggie Smith’s Granny Wendy mid-way through the teaser for 1991’s Hook, which makes the film look less like a family flick, and more like a slasher.
The teaser features no Lost Boys and no Neverland. Instead, Steven Spielberg-directed Hook looks more like Stephen Spielberg-produced Poltergeist, with some unseen force invading Peter Pan’s home and taking away his children.
Which makes for an awesome trailer, but one that doesn’t represent the actual film all that well.
Kangaroo Jack (2003)
The trailer for Kangaroo Jack features a talking kangaroo, suggesting the film revolves around a kangaroo who can talk. And dance. And rap. That’s not the case.
Instead, Kangaroo Jack is about a pair of friends – played by Jerry O’Connell and Anthony Anderson – who are tasked with delivering $50k to Australia for the mob.
A kangaroo does briefly end up with the money, but that kangaroo can’t actually talk. Instead, O’Connell’s character thinks he can talk during an hallucination. Making Kangaroo Jack a very different kind of movie to the one advertised.
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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
The trailer for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind kicks off with Tom Wilkinson’s character explaining the film’s plot, wherein troubling memories can be erased from the mind, leaving you with brain damage “on a par with a night of heavy drinking.”
ELO’s joyous slice of pop genius Mr. Blue Sky then plays over shots of Elijah Wood in wacky glasses, Mark Ruffalo dancing in his underpants, and Jim Carrey looking and acting like a toddler.
All of which make Eternal Sunshine look like a screwball comedy rather than what the film actually is, which is the depressing examination of a painful break-up.
Until this year’s Prey, Predators is without doubt the best of the Predator sequels. Which makes it all-the-more frustrating that the film’s trailer felt the need to lie.
The teaser in question features one moment that had Predator fans going wild. It happens at the 1:29-minute mark, when Royce (Adrien Brody) finds himself covered in gun-sights. Begging the question, how will our hero escape from a veritable army of aliens? But when audiences saw the finished film, there’s only one gunsight trained on the film’s hero. Which isn’t nearly as exciting.
When asked about the sequence in question, producer Robert Rodriguez told MTV: “A lot of my movies have trailer shots that I shoot just for the trailer, so that people haven’t seen the movie already but they get the feeling of what it’s supposed to represent.” Hmmm.
The Grey (2012)
The first trailer for The Grey featured Liam Neeson staring at a wolf, then with broken bottles taped to his hands, running at said animal.
The Grey therefore became known as the film where we’d finally see Liam Neeson punch a wolf. But that never happens in the movie, because the plays out at the very end of proceedings, and the credits roll before the two titans clash.
We witness the aftermath of the fight after those, but audiences never actually see Neeson punch that wolf, which was a massive let-down at the time.