10 Movie Marketing Stunts That Backfired HARD

These marketing fails totally betrayed their movies.

Jennifer S Body
20th Century Fox

No movie can just be a movie - they're all part of a much grander Hollywood machine driven by money above all else. It is a business, after all.

And in an attempt to squeeze the maximum amount of cash out of their products, movie studios will often leave basic decency and even simple logic at the door when marketing their upcoming releases.

Trailers, posters, and cross-promotions are the cornerstone of how films are generally sold to audiences, and it's no secret that studios routinely resort to dirty tricks to get butts in seats, relying on manipulative or even flat-out untruthful advertising.

But in the case of these 10 films, their daring, "creative" marketing campaigns all backfired spectacularly in their attempts to capture as much audience "mindshare" as possible.

From focusing on offensive imagery to crass marketing tie-ins, memes gone wrong, and simply choosing the wrong angle to market the film, these gaudy, attention-grabbing marketing stunts were thoroughly dragged by filmgoers and critics alike.

Sadly in some cases this controversy even overshadowed the actual movie itself, with more people talking about the iffy advertising than the content of the movie...

10. Apocalypse Choking Mystique - X-Men: Apocalypse

Jennifer S Body

The marketing for X-Men: Apocalypse of course focused intently on Oscar Isaac's titular villain, though came under fire for its relentless use of one image in particular: the supervillain seemingly strangling the life out of hero Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

In addition to being featured prominently in trailers, the still was also used on billboards in both Los Angeles and New York City, prompting criticism that the film was attempting to promote itself with casual imagery of violence against women.

One of the most prominent critics was actress and prominent #MeToo figure Rose McGowan, who decried the ad as "just a woman getting strangled" given the total absence of any wider context.

Amid the mounting criticism, Fox apologised and eventually pulled the ads from all locations. In their attempt to depict Apocalypse as the all-powerful tyrant he is, Fox exploited emotionally charged imagery and caused themselves a major headache in the process.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.