A good marketing campaign is a vital part of any movie's success. You could have the greatest feature film ever made on your hands, but you still have to sell it to the masses and convince people to go and see it. It used to be the case that a strong trailer was enough, but advances in the way that we as a society now consume content has made it necessary for the studios to up their game.
Viral marketing has really exploded over the last few years, with everything from bogus websites for fictional companies, city-wide treasure hunts and tie-ins over all forms of media creating virtually unlimited possibilities with which to reach and engage the widest possible audience.
On the other side of the coin, if a certain project doesn't have the right cross-demographic appeal or seems like too much of a hard sell, then smoke and mirrors are often employed to mislead and misdirect audiences. How many times has a trailer promised one thing only to deliver something completely different once we'd already sat down in the theater?
In an industry as financially-driven as the movie business, the higher-ups have no shame in selling a lie to the general public in order to get our money, and the real shame is that we keep falling for it. False advertising may be illegal when looked at in broad strokes, but there's always a way around it in the end.
10. Woman Sued Drive Because The Trailer Had Promised Fast & Furious Action
Somebody actually sued over this one.
A Michigan woman filed a lawsuit against distributor FilmDistrict and the theater where she saw Drive after feeling that she had been misled by a trailer that promised Fast and Furious-esque action, not the stripped-down modern noir that director Nicolas Winding Refn had created. Her demands? A refund for the cost of the ticket. Only in America.
To be fair, Drive's trailers definitely made it look a lot more like a standard Hollywood action thriller than the graphically-violent, stylized and visually-driven blend of arthouse and populist filmmaking that it actually was.
While many people may have felt that they'd been sold an entirely different movie by the time they'd parted with their cash and sat down in the theater, at least they still got to see one of the best films of 2011.