Mis-Marketed Movies

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Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby GrawSith » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:02 am UTC

I recently finished watching Reality Bites (a amazing movie that seems to perfectly capture the 90's spirit). But on the DVD box, the tagline reads "A Comedy About Love In The 90's".

Which it really isn't. It's a comedy (sort-of) about loneliness, desperation and coming-of-age in the 90's (with some "Love In The 90's" as a side-dish). I started thinking that the executives probably marketed it as a love story to make it more palatable to the masses; which got me thinking about movies that generally aren't portrayed correctly in their own marketing.

Has anyone else realised this when comparing a movie (or show/game/book/whatever) to it's advertising? I'd love to hear about some other ones.

I'm in the middle of a TvTropes tabsplosion (and now, so are you), so I might have some more examples of my own later (or I might stumble across a page full of them :).

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Hofstadter'sLaw » Sun Jun 05, 2011 4:54 am UTC

Bridge to Terabithia is the only obvious one that comes to mind for me.

The trailer was mostly clips from the very few, fairly short CGI scenes in the film, so it looked like it was going to be a big fantasy/adventure movie, like Narnia. It turned out to be about friendship, imagination and loss.

One of my favorite movies though.

(edit: I posted this when I first joined the forum, before I realized my posts wouldn't appear instantly because they needed to be approved by a mod first. Hence why Amarantha gave the same answer.)
Last edited by Hofstadter'sLaw on Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:00 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Amarantha » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:33 am UTC

"Bridge to Terabithia". Coming-of-age tragedy marketed as Chronicles of Narnia.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:35 am UTC

"Marley & Me" was marketed as a madcap canine hijinks movie and wasn't.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:12 am UTC

Mean Girls was promoted as a lighthearted teen comedy.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby podbaydoor » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:15 am UTC

Burn After Reading was marketed as a pratfall comedy in the style of, say, Mall Cop.

It really, really isn't.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Mokele » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:00 pm UTC

One of the trailers for Fight Club made it look like a romantic comedy.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:31 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:One of the trailers for Fight Club made it look like a romantic comedy.

It is a love story.

Observe and Report was advertised as a mall cop comedy, but was really... not...
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby grythyttan » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:One of the trailers for Fight Club made it look like a romantic comedy.
Wasn't that done on purpose though? Kinda like this fanmade one for the shining.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:43 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:One of the trailers for Fight Club made it look like a romantic comedy.


Yeah, I saw that one and became violently disinterested in ever seeing it.

It took years after that for my brother to convince me to watch Fight Club for the first time and now it's one of my favorite movies.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Ended » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:37 pm UTC

I believe Pan's Labyrinth was marketed deceptively in some places as a kind of Narnia-esque high fantasy tale.

I mean, after seeing that trailer I would have no idea that: (1) the film is very violent, (2) about 75% of it is non-fantasy and about the Spanish civil war, and indeed (3) that the film is in Spanish!
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby cerbie » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:42 am UTC

Stardust. Marketing of it was very much like it was the next Pirates of the Caribbean, not a light-hearted fairy tale with Gaiman twists. Marketing then pretty much stopped, cutting losses, when it did poorly in the opening week, despite good reviews.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Here's a fast-paced spaghetti western, and it gets marketed like nothing but action, action, action, and then made Hayek out to be a big character in the film. It didn't do badly, and I'm sure the people in charge were more concerned about secondary markets, but it could have been marketed much better.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Sartorius » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:55 am UTC

Ended wrote:I believe Pan's Labyrinth was marketed deceptively in some places as a kind of Narnia-esque high fantasy tale.

I mean, after seeing that trailer I would have no idea that: (1) the film is very violent, (2) about 75% of it is non-fantasy and about the Spanish civil war, and indeed (3) that the film is in Spanish!


I definitely thought it would lean toward more of a kid's movie. It totally didn't.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby MikeBabaguh » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:38 am UTC

Inglourious Basterds.

I've never fully been a fan of Tarantino's work, and when I saw the trailers I figured it was just another one of his dark comedies serving as a vehicle for Brad Pitt.

Holy mother of god was I surprised when I actually saw it.

Brad Pitt just happens to be in it; it is in no way "his" movie. It was wholly mis-marketed to American audiences, and I guess for good reason. Most of the film is in one of several languages that is not English. The villain and main protagonist (the French girl) were unknown to American audiences.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby phlip » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:42 am UTC

[obvious joke] <insert target here> was marketed as being good, and worth watching. [/obvious joke]

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:14 pm UTC

Hofstader'sLaw wrote:Bridge to Terabithia is the only obvious one that comes to mind for me.

The trailer was mostly clips from the very few, fairly short CGI scenes in the film, so it looked like it was going to be a big fantasy/adventure movie, like Narnia. It turned out to be about friendship, imagination and loss.

One of my favorite movies though.

(edit: I posted this when I first joined the forum, before I realized my posts wouldn't appear instantly because they needed to be approved by a mod first. Hence why Amarantha gave the same answer.)


May have to stream it from Netflix, after I read the book to refresh my memory.

If you've read the book, you'd know it was more about friendship, the power of imagination, and loss.

One scene I clearly remember from the book though was when the teacher had assigned the class to watch an episode of "National Geographic Explorer" and the girl piped up, asking what if they didn't have a TV, which was the case for her family. The boy kept thinking that she could come to his house to watch it, and the girl was ridiculed for not having a TV.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Hofstadter'sLaw » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:58 pm UTC

PatrickRsGhost wrote:May have to stream it from Netflix, after I read the book to refresh my memory.

If you've read the book, you'd know it was more about friendship, the power of imagination, and loss.

One scene I clearly remember from the book though was when the teacher had assigned the class to watch an episode of "National Geographic Explorer" and the girl piped up, asking what if they didn't have a TV, which was the case for her family. The boy kept thinking that she could come to his house to watch it, and the girl was ridiculed for not having a TV.


I did read the book, but that was a while ago. I do remember the TV scene very clearly from the movie though. =]

So, what other themes do you think are in the book besides friendship, imagination and loss? Being yourself? Fate?

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby The Scyphozoa » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:35 am UTC

This is Netflix's description for Being John Malkovitch:
When puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a door that's, in fact, a portal into actor John Malkovich's brain, he concocts a plot to sell 15-minute excursions into Malkovich's mind -- and the ultimate head trip -- for $200 a pop. Spike Jonze directs this uncommon dramedy from writer Charlie Kaufman, co-starring Cameron Diaz as Craig's wife, Catherine Keener as his co-worker and Malkovich as himself.

...Did this description writer even watch the whole movie? Selling trips into the door was a really, really small part of the movie.

And it says "Comedy". I didn't find it very funny at all.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby ConMan » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:20 am UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:This is Netflix's description for Being John Malkovitch:
When puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a door that's, in fact, a portal into actor John Malkovich's brain, he concocts a plot to sell 15-minute excursions into Malkovich's mind -- and the ultimate head trip -- for $200 a pop. Spike Jonze directs this uncommon dramedy from writer Charlie Kaufman, co-starring Cameron Diaz as Craig's wife, Catherine Keener as his co-worker and Malkovich as himself.

...Did this description writer even watch the whole movie? Selling trips into the door was a really, really small part of the movie.

And it says "Comedy". I didn't find it very funny at all.

I'd say it is a comedy, but more something like "The Office" or a Samuel Beckett play kind than a "laughs every minute" one. It's weird, and the weirdness is comical. I agree that the description sounds like they only summarised the first half hour, though.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby poxic » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:26 am UTC

That said, it would be one helluva movie to try to describe in under 50 words.

/"Weird weird weird weird weird weird funny weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird funny weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird funny weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird weird and a bit funny" would probably suffice.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby ConMan » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:34 am UTC

poxic wrote:/"Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich" would probably suffice.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Zohar » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:14 am UTC

Maybe they haven't seen the whole movie, but it is the start of it, and I'd rather they did that than spoil the whole movie.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby GhostWolfe » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:05 am UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:And it says "Comedy". I didn't find it very funny at all.
It is definitely a dark comedy.

I just went and checked the blurb from the back of the DvD, and they are pretty similar. I don't think it's misleading, and I don't think there's much more that needs to be said.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:53 am UTC

The Scyphozoa wrote:This is Netflix's description for Being John Malkovitch:
When puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) discovers a door that's, in fact, a portal into actor John Malkovich's brain, he concocts a plot to sell 15-minute excursions into Malkovich's mind -- and the ultimate head trip -- for $200 a pop. Spike Jonze directs this uncommon dramedy from writer Charlie Kaufman, co-starring Cameron Diaz as Craig's wife, Catherine Keener as his co-worker and Malkovich as himself.

...Did this description writer even watch the whole movie? Selling trips into the door was a really, really small part of the movie.

And it says "Comedy". I didn't find it very funny at all.


you don't want to give too much of the movie away in a blurb,
and it actually doesn't say comedy, it says Dramedy, implying it is a drama with comedic elements, which it is.

also, Watchmen was a classic example, being marketed solely on it's handful of action and VFX scenes.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby phlip » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:32 am UTC

IIRC, the blurb on the back of the DVD box for Fight Club just says it's about an insomniac who becomes addicted to support groups. Barely even mentions Tyler except to name-drop Brad Pitt. It seems describing the plot of the start of the movie is pretty standard practise.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Microscopic cog » Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:31 am UTC

Watership Down marketed as a children movie, pretty sure it's supposed to be one as well but it's so brutal at certain points.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:59 pm UTC

Microscopic cog wrote:Watership Down marketed as a children movie, pretty sure it's supposed to be one as well but it's so brutal at certain points.


i'd say it is a childrens movie, it's just a really honest one, sure it's brutal, but it doesn't glorify the brutality.

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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Microscopic cog » Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:32 pm UTC

Yeah, that's true I guess.

Me and some friends recently watched in the spirit of nostalgia but we ended up with something along the lines of "But... the poor bunny.. it... ohgod no don't go into the barn!"
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby hawkinsssable » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:57 pm UTC

Ended wrote:I believe Pan's Labyrinth was marketed deceptively in some places as a kind of Narnia-esque high fantasy tale.

I mean, after seeing that trailer I would have no idea that: (1) the film is very violent, (2) about 75% of it is non-fantasy and about the Spanish civil war, and indeed (3) that the film is in Spanish!


Oh god that was so cringe- worthy.

I especially love how they reused the footage from that 20 second scene...

Spoiler:
... that the little girl imagines while she's dying...


about five times to make it look like all "fantasy! adventure!"-y.

This trailer for El Orphanato did something similar. It got everything wrong except for the fact that it's technically a horror movie. They also carefully cut every Spanish word out, so the dialogue is nothing but "Simone! Simone! SIMMMMOOOOOOOOONNNNNE!!!!" (dramatic voice man: "THE GAMES CHILDREN PLAY IN THE DARK.")
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Zohar » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:01 pm UTC

I would argue that not telling you the film is in Spanish is not mis-marketing at all. As someone who watches perhaps 99% of his films in foreign language (most commonly English), I am not that surprised when I see a movie suddenly not in English. And many times I don't much care what language it really is in.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby no-genius » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:01 pm UTC

Yeah, but US-ians tend not to watch stuff that's sub'd (or enough of them for it to be a thing). And they used to do that over here (UK) too.

edit: The latest comment on the Orphanage trailer (from a USian who liked the movie) says "I was upset that it was in Spanish".
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:39 pm UTC

Which makes not showing the Spanish really good marketing. Misleading, maybe, but I suppose that's marketing for you.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Midnight » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:14 am UTC

alien III.
or maybe it was IV, i forget.

regardless, there was an Alien movie where the trailer's tagline was "the battle is coming to earth" or something like that. only to take place on essentially the same set as the first alien movie.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Zohar » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:17 am UTC

That would be Alien IV probably. And I suppose it's literally true - the battle was on the way to Earth :)
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:That would be Alien IV probably. And I suppose it's literally true - the battle was on the way to Earth :)


it was actually Alien3, because the teaser was made pretty much as soon as the movie was greenlit, before there was even a script.
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Re: Mis-Marketed Movies

Postby Sartorius » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:28 am UTC

My boyfriend and I spent the night in a hotel with a free movie for the night. We decided to watch The Bucket List as it was listed under "Comedy" and sounded like it would feature lots of hilarious hijinks of a last hurrah of life.

Which it does...but not really.
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