10 Movies That Totally Misunderstood Their Audience

These movies lost sight of what their paying customers wanted.

Terminator Dark Fate

Perhaps the most basic facet of making a successful movie is understanding what the audience wants and then just giving it to them.

And while smart filmmakers can subvert audience expectations in a way that's entertaining and still prints money, it's also a tough trick to pull off.

It's far more common for directors and studios to tweak a winning formula only for it to backfire spectacularly and end up alienating even those loyal fans who've shown up for every prior installment of the franchise.

These 10 films all fatally failed to understand what the core audience wanted, and so were met with a heavily polarised reception at best, as well as a generally disappointing commercial performance.

Again, cleverly giving the audience something they didn't know they wanted can work, but more often than not these bold swings end up falling flat because the people in charge don't have their finger on the pulse of paying customers.

By sanitising the content, taking the story in a needlessly wacky direction, failing to pick a coherent tone, or undoing what the previous film did, these movies doomed themselves to fan indifference if not outright anger...

10. The Expendables 3

Terminator Dark Fate

The first two Expendables movies proved to be solid box office hits because they gave the target audience precisely what they wanted: a bevy of legendary action heroes teaming up to kick ass and take names - with an R-rating, no less.

Yet shortly before the release of The Expendables 3, star Sylvester Stallone revealed that the threequel would be rated PG-13 in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience.

Reading between the lines, it felt like Stallone and the series' producers wanted to try and transform The Expendables into a more lucrative tentpole franchise on the level of, say, the Fast and the Furious.

They figured that by giving The Expendables 3 a more family-friendly audience rating and padding the supporting cast with younger heroes led by Ronda Rousey, the series could become even more of a success.

But what a miscalculation that turned out to be. For one, fans of the first two movies were totally alienated by the neutered, mostly bloodless action sequences, and secondly, young people couldn't give a damn about The Expendables. A PG-13 rating and young sidekicks did nothing to change that.

As a result, the threequel was a considerable box office disappointment, with Stallone later admitting that the PG-13 rating was a massive mistake.

Thankfully Stallone has promised fans that the upcoming fourth film will be back to R-rated business as usual. Whether audiences will still turn up for it after so many years have passed, though, remains to be seen.


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.