10 Outrageous Ways Movie Trailers Lie To Us

Movie trailers are concerned with one thing and one thing only – getting our butts in a cinema seat, by…

Shaun Munro


Iron Man 3 Ben Kingsley

Movie trailers are concerned with one thing and one thing only – getting our butts in a cinema seat, by any means necessary. This can often mean flashing a bunch of reviews up on the screen, or simply giving away all the money shots so that we expect even more awesomeness in the final product, but sometimes, movie trailers will take a cheaper, more nefarious route to win out custom, by flat-out lying to us about what it is we’re going to see.

Trailers are all about representation, about conveying what we should expect if we decide to see it, yet studios in all of their wisdom realise that they can maximise their profits by simply lying to us and conveying what they¬†think we want to see, even if it doesn’t quite match up with the truth. Here are 10 outrageous ways movie trailers lie to us…



10. Misrepresenting The Tone Of The Movie

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A trailer needs to let us know about the tone of a film – is it serious, or is it dark? Is it straight, or is it self-aware? A good movie trailer will inform us of that within a few short seconds, yet often, movie studios will intentionally twist how they represent a film because they’re aware that a lighter touch tends to prove more profitable and successful.

For example, the trailer for Gremlins above tones down the terror elements of the film, depicting it as a sweet tale of a young man and his exotic pet, with even the murder and anarchy scenes later seemingly being played for harmless chuckles. As a kid, this film utterly terrified me.

The recent comic drama Admission was also guilty of this, pitching itself as a quirky romantic comedy, when really the film didn’t focus on the romance all that much at all. Occasionally, trailers will go the other way, lending a film a more somber tone to bring in the horror crowds, such as when the faux-documentary Catfish was marketed as having dark third act that goes the slasher film route.