10 Movies That Are Actually Good Besides The Marketing Gimmick

The Blair Witch Project delivered on its viral terror.

The Matrix Neo Keanu Reeves
Warner Bros.

It's unfortunately fair to say that a movie's success is most often down to how effectively it's marketed, because a mis-aimed marketing campaign can ensure even a masterful movie fails to connect with the masses.

And then there are those films that are marketed heavily on the basis of a gimmick, be it 3D, an enticing mystery, or another highly specific element which the studio believes will appeal to viewers.

Trailers and posters that lean into these gimmicky elements can often leave more savvy filmgoers suspicious, that the movie doesn't actually have much of substance to offer beyond its snazzy hook.

After all, we've all sat through movies that didn't live up to the impressive amount of creativity put into selling them to audiences.

But sometimes a film itself is good, even great, despite a campaign that sold it in a kitschy way, which perhaps even harmed its box office performance in the process.

Yet thankfully these films were often able to have their cake and eat it too, selling themselves in a way which seemed cynical but still delivered a quality experience when the lights went down...

10. Putting "3D" In The Movie's Title - Dredd

The Matrix Neo Keanu Reeves
United International Pictures

Dredd is one of the most baffling box office bombs of the last decade.

Despite being budgeted at a totally sensible $45 million and receiving largely positive reviews from Judge Dredd fans and critics alike, the comic book reboot tanked at the box office, grossing an appalling $41.5 million worldwide.

Several reasons were cited for this, such as audience disinterest in the IP following the 1995 Sylvester Stallone-starring dud, but for many, the culprit seemed to be the film's goofy marketing campaign.

For some reason, somebody at the studio decided that, in addition to being presented in 3D, the film would be released in cinemas with the title "Dredd 3D."

Given that the 3D craze was already waning by 2012, for many it made the film sound like a schlocky attraction full of heavy-handed, silly 3D effects that would supersede the story and characters.

Considering that the dimensional designation was often tacked onto the titles of ridiculous 3D movies like My Bloody Valentine, Piranha, Step Up, Jackass, Saw, and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, it just didn't suggest that audiences should take Dredd seriously. And so they generally didn't.

It's frustrating that a bone-headed marketing decision cut the film's box office out from under it, especially as the vast majority of people who have ever seen Dredd have seen it at home in non-3D.

Though Dredd was to its credit shot in real 3D rather than being post-converted, it's really the least-interesting part of the entire movie: on its own merits it's a ludicrously entertaining, ultra-violent retooling of a classic comic property.


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.