Top 20 Trailers That Ruined The Movie

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Top 20 Trailers That Ruined The Movie

VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio WRITTEN BY: Johnny Reynolds
So much for subtlety! For this list, we'll be looking at movie previews that showed too much of the film's plot. Our countdown includes “Final Destination”, "Cast Away", “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”, "GoldenEye", “Terminator Genisys”, and more!
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Top 20 Trailers That Ruined The Movie


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Trailers That Ruined The Movie.

For this list, we’ll be looking at movie previews that showed too much of the film’s plot. As these trailers spoiled important moments, a spoiler warning is in effect.

Did any of these trailers ruin their movies for you? Which do you think is the most egregious? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “Final Destination” (2000)

The first entry in this horror series sees several plane passengers escape an explosion due to one of them having a vision. But Death doesn’t like to be cheated and they all begin to drop one by one in fatal accidents. It’s a unique enough concept that you’d think it would draw in audiences by itself. However, the trailer still spoiled a handful of deaths, seemingly to show how thrilling the movie would be. Spoiling the first death of Tod isn’t too big a deal. But the deaths of Ms. Lewton and Billy came during some of the movie’s biggest moments. That’s almost half the survivors right there. It didn’t hurt the movie, though, as it became a profitable franchise for New Line.

#19: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018)

Multiple entries into a weathered franchise, we understand trailers may need to show more to entice filmgoers. But for this franchise, we share the same opinion as Owen. For the first trailer of “Fallen Kingdom,” we got to see a lot of the volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar. It’s one of the movie’s standout scenes and the climax of the first half. Later trailers would spoil how it essentially turns into a slasher thriller inside a mansion for the latter half. Viewers could basically piece together the trajectory of the story with the previews. Writer Colin Trevorrow even spoke out against them, stating, “If you haven’t watched the trailers, just go see the film.”


#18: “Speed” (1994)

“Speed” is a quintessential ‘90s action flick. It follows a SWAT officer aboard a bus rigged with explosives set to detonate should it fall below 50 MPH. The bombastic plot also includes a tense elevator rescue. So there’s plenty to show to impress audiences that doesn’t spoil the outcome. But for some reason, that’s just what the trailer did. Amid a slew of action shots, we see the bus crash into a plane and the passengers react from another bus. This signals that most of them make it out safely despite the movie taking place on that first bus. While no one expected something as bleak as a busload of innocents dying, that doesn’t mean you should show the contrary in the trailer.

#17: “The Island” (2005)

This sci-fi thriller from Michael Bay follows a dystopian society where citizens are told the outside world is uninhabitable. The exception is a place known only as “the island,” where lucky people get to go if they win a lottery. So, why do two inhabitants attempt to flee this situation? There’s enough intrigue in the setup and, being a Michael Bay film, a great deal of action scenes to pull from. A trailer could’ve alluded to the greater mystery without giving it away. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. In between a barrage of action bits haphazardly edited together, Steve Buscemi’s character spells it out. The citizens are clones, made to be surrogate mothers or carry organs until their originals need them. So much for subtlety.

#16: “Free Willy” (1993)

The shot of the titular orca jumping over young Jesse is a pretty iconic moment in film. Apparently, Warner Bros. knew that as it put the shot not only in the trailer, but made it the movie’s poster as well. The film follows a troubled orphan who bonds with Willy, a killer whale taken from his home and family. Most of the movie is spent on building their relationship until Jesse can figure out a way to free his new friend. As a family movie, a happy ending is expected. But showing that moment of freedom still kind of defeats the purpose. The scene likely still would’ve reached its iconic state even if it hadn’t been plastered everywhere.

#15: “Quarantine” (2008)

“Free Willy” isn’t the only movie to spoil its climax in the trailer and poster. This 2008 found footage horror film follows reporter Angela doing a news story on firefighters. Terror awaits as she tags along on a call to an apartment building. A government lockdown of the building ensues as an infectious, zombie-like virus begins to spread. The final shot of the trailer is of Angela being dragged into the darkness by one of the infected. Anyone who saw the trailer was likely waiting for the moment in the movie to see how she escaped. Sadly, she doesn’t. The final shot of the trailer is also the ending of the movie. Why the trailer editor spoiled the ending is beyond us.

#14: “Soylent Green” (1973)

The twist behind “Soylent Green” is disturbing to say the least. Set in an alternate 2022, a combination of global catastrophes has put a severe strain on food supply. But in New York, the elite have found a way around that: feed the poor to the poor and call it “Soylent Green.” The film follows Detective Thorn as he digs for and learns the unsettling truth. But audiences probably could’ve guessed the twist based on the trailer, which shows bodies on a factory line and includes snippets of Charlton Heston’s famous last lines. The trailer’s narration also outright spoils two character deaths, one of which happens right before the climax.

#13: “Oblivion” (2013)

Thankfully, the trailer for this sci-fi thriller doesn’t spoil its second big twist. Unfortunately, it does spoil the first one. Jack Harper, played by Tom Cruise, is one of the last remaining humans on Earth following a devastating war against alien invaders sixty years prior. Most of humanity has found a new home, but he repairs drones that hunt down any remaining aliens on the planet. Except there aren’t any aliens on the planet. What the film refers to as “scavengers” are really humans in disguise to avoid the murderous drones. A more minimalist trailer could’ve drawn us in with a “last man on Earth” approach. Instead, it ruined the buildup to the reveal.

#12: “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” (2003)

While the plot isn’t necessarily the most important part of a “Charlie’s Angels” movie, we still would’ve appreciated not being spoiled in the trailer. The sequel follows the spies as they attempt to stop the murders of those in the witness protection program, including angel Dylan. Half of the movie is spent trying to stop Seamus O’Grady, Dylan’s Irish mob-leading ex. It’s revealed later that a former angel, Madison, is the one who got him released and has been calling the shots. But anyone who saw Demi Moore playing the villain in the trailer wouldn’t have had anything revealed for them at all. It certainly took the wind out of the sails for its supposed villain, Justin Theroux’s O’Grady.


#11: “Total Recall” (1990)

Schwarzenegger has starred in a lot of classics, though “Total Recall” is one of his best. Douglas Quaid’s quest to recover the life that was erased resulted in one of the most unique sci-fi action movies ever. But the trailer tried awfully hard to spoil that uniqueness. It features some of the movie’s best lines and most notable scenes, including the exploding head and Quaid removing a bug though his nose. More importantly, it spoils that Quaid’s wife, Lori, is actually an agent assigned to monitor him and that their marriage is fake. It even spoils her death later in the movie by Quaid. Come on guys, she’s one of the main antagonistic forces!

#10: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002)

For those who hadn’t read the books, Gandalf’s demise in “The Fellowship of the Ring” was an emotional haymaker. His return in the sequel was a joyous moment, signaling that not all hope was lost. Or at least, it should have been, but the trailer ruined the surprise. We would have much preferred to be caught off guard about his survival, or rather resurrection. The film even goes through the motions of being secretive, teasing him before his reveal to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli. The first film was obviously a monster hit; the sequel’s trailer could have shown anything and people would’ve watched it. So why spoil this giant moment?

#9: “Friday the 13th” (1980)

The fun of slasher movies is seeing who bites it and how they go. But the trailer for this franchise’s first installment seemingly tried to take that away. With narration that counts up, the trailer shows who dies in mostly chronological order. While it doesn’t show the gore of the actual deaths, it features the characters moments before their on-screen demises. It’s worth noting that it’s a bit misleading given that there are less than thirteen deaths in the movie. But it still spoils a vast majority of them. We can’t imagine a movie being marketed similarly today and being successful, let alone turning into an entire franchise.

#8: “Funny People” (2009)

This comedy from Judd Apatow features Adam Sandler as famous comedian George Simmons who’s been diagnosed with leukemia. With his life coming to an end, he returns to his stand-up roots and reflects on past mistakes. A new treatment gives him an 8% chance of survival, setting the film up to be a pensive look at his last days. But if you saw the trailer, you knew he’d make it through as it flat-out tells you. In actuality, the good news doesn’t come until about halfway through the nearly 2 ½ hour-long movie. The trailer took away any sympathy we would’ve had for George’s situation. Instead, we were just waiting until he got better so the second half could begin.


#7: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)

Andrew Garfield’s second outing as the wallcrawler had a lot to juggle. Yet somehow its second trailer managed to cram it all in. Showing off a lot of Jamie Foxx’s Electro made sense considering he’s the movie’s main villain. But it also goes out of its way to show Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, a transformation that doesn’t happen until late into the movie. It also features a shot of Vulture’s wings and Doc Ock’s arms, preceding Sony’s obvious plans to set up a Sinister Six. Finally, it spoils the final shot of the movie: Spidey heading into a clash with the Rhino in slow-motion, teasing a fight that’s never actually seen on-screen.

#6: “GoldenEye” (1995)

Pierce Brosnan began his run as James Bond with an absolute bang. Over twenty-five years later, “GoldenEye” is still one of 007’s best adventures. Luckily, the spoilery trailer didn’t hurt that legacy. The movie opens nine years before the main plot takes place and sees Bond lose a friend and ally. While investigating a crime syndicate, Bond learns that not only is 006 alive, but that he’s pulling the strings. As the movie was released before Sean Bean was a major star, 006’s supposed death might not have tipped anyone off. However, the trailer revealed the villainous turn, spoiling the fun. The movie has plenty of action scenes and other villains, so this really didn’t need to be shown.

#5: “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (2017)

The death of Colin Firth’s Harry Hart in the first “Kingsman” was shocking in its haste and coldness. But the sequel revealed that he had surprisingly survived a bullet to the head. Or it would have revealed it had the trailer not jumped the gun. The first movie was a decent hit for Fox and the sequel featured a star-studded cast of newcomers like Julianne Moore and Channing Tatum. So the decision to ruin Eggsy’s journey during the first act, believing his mentor to be dead, was completely baffling. That’s exactly how director Matthew Vaughn felt as well. He apparently begged the studio not to spoil Firth’s return and accused the marketing department of not caring about the experience of the movie.

#4: “Carrie” (1976)

Brian De Palma’s adaptation of this Stephen King masterpiece rivals the source material in its iconicism. Sissy Spacek shines as the emotionally tortured girl with telekinetic powers. While we may all know of its climax by now, most didn’t when the trailer was released. It could have chronicled Carrie’s tough life, filled with mean girls at school and her religious zealot mother, and just alluded to the prom massacre. But we get pretty much everything, from the bucket of blood to the ways in which Carrie dispatches her tormentors. The most bizarre spoiler has to be seeing how John Travolta’s character dies mere seconds after the narrator introduces him.

#3: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)

Paramount clearly didn’t pick up on the twist in “Terminator Salvation” being spoiled as it spoiled an even bigger twist for the next installment. In a somewhat recreation of the first entry’s plot, “Genisys” follows Kyle Reese, a resistance fighter sent back in time to protect human resistance leader John Connor’s mother, Sarah. From there, it goes in drastically different directions, including a later reappearance of John as a Terminator-human hybrid. The reveal of John Connor as a villain should’ve been left for the big screen, yet everyone got to see it in the film’s second trailer. The return of Arnold and Khaleesi herself seems like it could’ve been enough to put butts in seats.

#2: “Cast Away” (2000)

Tom Hanks is one of the world’s most beloved actors, having starred in countless classics over the years. “Cast Away” is often thought of as giving one of his greatest performances, earning him one of multiple Oscar noms. Seeing as how he’s alone except for Wilson the volleyball for the majority of the movie, that’s pretty impressive. “Cast Away” is a tale of survival, chronicling one man’s time on a deserted island following a plane crash. But if you saw the trailer before watching the movie, any suspense or drama the plot offered would’ve been wiped away. It shows him getting off the island, returning to civilization after four years. Like several others, it also shows the very last shot of the movie.

#1: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)

In general, Warner Bros. revealed way too much of this movie before its premiere. But the most spoiler-filled trailer was its second one. In it, you can chart all the story beats the movie would showcase: Lex Luthor’s manipulative ways, society’s fear, the unavoidable clash, and Doomsday’s creation that happens towards the end. Anyone familiar with the famous villain knew it meant Superman’s death. With a title that focused on their fight, the trailer spoiled that Batman and Superman’s conflict would be resolved. It also showed a bit more Wonder Woman than was needed and the Parademons, spoiling the set-up for “Justice League.” Most of the time, less is more. We just wish WB had taken that approach.
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