It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
"In a World where trailers are made for movies that will never exist..."
The show's great. You've seen every episode and bought the DVD
collection. And there, tucked away in the extras, is the Holy Grail: the trailer for the movie.
But something's not quite right. Perhaps the trailer gives a 1999 release date, and it's already 2007. Perhaps the characters in the trailer are parodies of themselves. Perhaps?
Perhaps it's a spoof. The movie isn't going to be made, and there was never any intention of making it; it was just the production crew having a bit of fun.
Never mind. At least the trailer's funny — we hope.
This is the Logical Extreme
of Trailers Always Lie
- while that trope is about trailers misrepresenting various portions of a real film, this is about a trailer lying about an entire work.
That being said... sometimes the trailer is so well-received that people actually make the movie
Compare Trailer Spoof
, which is for a real movie, just not the one you thought it was.
open/close all folders
- Falling in Lamb was an Australian commercial from a few years back, advertising lamb. It was short-lived, though, possibly due to the number of calls to local theatres enquiring about the release date of this new romantic comedy.
- Lucky Star (no, not the anime), starring Benicio Del Toro. There has to be more than one person who saw it repeatedly on TV and never realized it was a car commercial.
- There was a trailer for an excellent sounding movie playing in a local movie theatre, but it is disappointing to find out it's just a anti-dandruff shampoo ad.
- There's a whole series of fake trailers used by the AMC theater chain, to warn audiences to pipe down and turn off their personal electronics. Each one opens as expected for its genre (period Kung Fu flick, Disney Talking Animal cartoon, etc), only to be derailed when a cell phone rings, distracting the characters at some critical moment. Hilarity Ensues.
- Speaking of silencing your cell phone, a policy shown in Israel movie theaters called "Fatal Call" starts out like a movie trailer, but you know from the beginning, since it takes place in a movie theater. The trailer contains a girl who is eating popcorn when her cell phone rings, and a voice from the phone says "Sarah! You shouldn't have answered! You should have left your cell phone off!" Then, Sarah chokes on her popcorn. Ah...don't you just love happy endings?
- Scarlet looked like ads for a slick, spy-fi Spiritual Successor to Alias. It was an ad for a TV series, as in a series of TV's made by LG. Note a lot of the dialogue, such as "Putting her in every home on the planet," and saying "She's gonna change TV."
- Geico made a trailer for a fake reality show titled Tiny House, about a couple living in a house that was built too small.
- Connecting Flights, a holiday Rom Com Chick Flick that checks off every cliche in the book in the span of about 20 seconds, only for the stinger be that it's really an ad for Sears's line of appliances.
- Cineplex theatres in Canada has a trailer for a time-travel movie that looks like a bigger budget version of Primer. The protagonist has to travel back in time to meet his girlfriend at a sold-out movie. Quote: "If you're not there tonight, I won't be here tomorrow." OR you could order tickets online.
- Here's an action/comedy thriller starring the M&Ms Spokecandies!... except it turns out to be yet another "turn your cell phone off" ad.
- Ford made a pretty epic one for their Summer Spectacular.
Anime And Manga
- One omake for Blue Seed was a kaiju movie parody staring the cast. The English version was even done with odd tone variations and poor lip-syncing like early dubbed films, capped off with informing viewers it was all a big lie.
- Elf Princess Rane is a two-episode OAV that ends with trailers for the completely nonexistent third and fourth episodes.
- A similar fate had befallen a number of short OAV series, especially during the 80s and 90s: The material produced was intended to be a pilot for a longer work, but the series was canned before it ever got off the ground. While not all of them necessarily had trailers produced advertising the dead-in-the-water series, see also the "in the next episode" bit advertising "Knight of Lemon" at the end of "Knights of Ramune" (which is promptly followed by a note that the series had been cancelled).
- The second episode of Itsudatte My Santa has a trailer for the third episode, featuring Mai, MaiMai and Shirley living with Santa, a cooking competition between Mai and Shirley, and a sleigh and reindeer which turn into a Humongous Mecha to battle a presumably possessed Miss Noel. The trailer is revealed to be fake at the end.
- Magical Girl Pretty Sammy The Motion Picture: The God Boys VS. Magical Girls was included as one of the extras on the final Magical Project S LaserDisc and DVD. It had many fans believing that a movie was forthcoming, and resulted in a petition (unsuccessful) to get the movie made. What in anime doesn't it parody? "Oshioki desuu, haaaii!"
- Mai-Otome had a fake trailer on the DVDs for the Mai-HiME movie. Many people on AnimeSuki and Wikipedia don't realize that it's a joke and keep asking when the movie will be released despite the release date being listed as 20006 [sic].
- The last page of second volume of the hentai doujinshi Take on Me is intended to look like an advertisement for a anime adaptation. Far, far too many people have asked where they can find this movie, when it is coming out, etc. It's not, it's just the artist mind screwing the audience.
- The seventh DVD special (NSFW) of Rumbling Hearts was a trailer of series' Remake IN SPACE WITH GUNDAMS!
- This might or might not be a spoof. Either way, there's another visual novel series two of the female protagonists from Kimi Ga ended up in. Muv-Luv. Chances are this was a reference to it...
- Similarly, the fifth DVD special of Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora was a trailer for The True Kyoshiro To Towa No Sora, a remake of the original series with a grander sci-fi plot and much more Romantic Two-Girl Friendship (with Kuu and Setsuna as the Official Couple). They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, actually...
- Hyakko does this in episode six of the series, giving the audience a preview that has, among other things, an army of Mecha-Torakos, Evil!Suzume and a midair battle between Torako and her brother. It's also completely fake.
- The first volume of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan contains a preview of a manga dealing with Itsuki's becoming an esper and joining the Organization... except Kyon disillusions him next page with a "Yeah, that trailer was a fake, Haruhi-chan is a gag-manga".
- The final episode of Seitokai Yakuindomo includes a preview for a Magical Girl show called Magical Mako, claiming that it will take over their timeslot the following week. Takatoshi then pulls out the TV schedule and points out that they're really be replaced by the second season of Hakuōki.
- Subverted with Gintama, with the trailer for the Benizakura arc movie. It first shows up in the third season, when the characters admit that the trailer is fake. During the next season, the trailer is played again and the characters say it is actually coming out. Played straight with the second trailer, where the trailer is played and Gin follows up by telling us it is all a lie.
- The last volume of Carnival Phantasm included an animation for the original concept of Fate/stay night, entitled Fate Prototype. It was basically this trope.
- The special edition of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd As Blu-Ray/DVD included two Omake showing hypothetical shows featuring the Wolkenritter: Mahou Kazokunote Lyrical Wolken and Iryou Shoujonote Medical Shamal, which are broadcasted in BHK and other Belkan and Mid-Childan channels.
- Later editions of the novel The Princess Bride feature a preview chapter of a prospective sequel at the end, a sequel which the author has never quite gotten around to writing.
- Stanislaw Lem wrote a book or two made entirely of introductions to nonexistent books.
- IGN's 2008 April Fool's joke was this surprisingly impressive trailer for a movie of The Legend of Zelda.
- The Battle Fantasia series, a set of trailers for a conceptual game franchise that's basically Super Robot Wars, only instead of a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of Humongous Mecha, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of cute girls from Moe and series such as Fate/stay night, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Maria-sama Ga Miteru, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Shakugan no Shana, Suzumiya Haruhi, Pretty Cure, and Zero no Tsukaima. Many fanboys' hearts have been broken when they realized that the games shown aren't real.
- The Tsukihime spin-off Kagetsu Tohya included a preview for Tsukihime 2. No Tsukihime 2 exists or will likely ever exist.
- Angry Birds: The Movie.
- Duck Hunt, too. Also available in 3D.
- Donkey Kong: The Movie.
"One man, against all odds, fightting the ultimate evil, trying to save his potential girlfriend as well the entire world."
- The Oregon Trail movie.
- Fruit Ninja, the movie.
- There is an incredible fan-made trailer for a non-existent The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker sequel for the Wii U, using hand-drawn backgrounds and models from both Wind Waker and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The end result is fantastic (despite Link's model being a bit off), and gained some fame around the internet.
- On a similar note is this trailer for a graphically updated version of Majora's Mask. It has generated a lot of fan appeal, especially with people’s desire for a Majora's Mask remake on the 3DS.
- In 2011 Egosoft, developer of the X-Universe series, released a trailer for an animated movie called Nautilus set in the series' universe. It was based on a fanfic by forum member NUKLEAR-SLUG about his Boron character Squiddy McSquid. It being April Fools' Day...
- Data East X Sunsoft, a trailer for an unreleased crossover fighter featuring plenty of obscure (especially outside Japan) Data East and Sunsoft characters.
- The King of Famicom, from the creators of Michael Quest, is a mock-up of a Massively Multiplayer Crossover Fighting Game featuring the 8-bit characters of Nintendo, Capcom, Irem, Sunsoft, Hudson Soft, Namco and Konami. Amusing finishers include Hebereke Popoon-ing Kirby, Spelunker cursing Mario with Falling Damage, and Konami Man giving Bubblen a Diagonal Cut with Konami's Iconic Logo.
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle featured the sub-game "Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly 5," a Bullet Hell game starring Moe Magical Girls, which also featured a trailer for an anime of the same name.
- A YouTube user managed to put together a lot of cutscenes from Mass Effect 3, in the style of a movie trailer. Here's the result.
- Homestar Runner has done this a few times, most famously making a fake trailer for a movie based on their game Peasant's Quest. According to their website, there already is a full-length Peasant's Quest movie: "its 'full length' is three minutes" (the length of the trailer).
- See also the SBEmail "Narration", where Strong Bad narrates the lives of the residents of Free Country, USA as though they were movie trailers: Homestar and Marzipan are a couple torn apart by a novelty chef's hat, an argument between Coach Z and Bubs over napkins apparently leads to the fall of an empire, and Strong Sad gets a dead goose thrown at him.
- Arfenhouse The Movie 3: Kill Billy. The actual third Arfenhouse movie was a perfunctory Take That to fans who demanded it really be made.
- Red vs. Blue showed this for Youtube's Geek Week.
- One memorable trailer was for the potentially awesome film, "Batman vs Batman vs Batman". Think about it.
- There's also the hilarious parody of trailers in general known as The Mother of All Trailers, starring Edward Norton.
- User Bloodrunsclear has made over 500 fake trailers over the years, based on the most disparate sources. While the results do not always hit the mark, a big increase in quality, editing and consistency in his more recent works is evident, compared to his earlier attempts. Some examples: System Shock 2 , Elfen Lied , AKIRA , Skyrim , Carn Evil , Homestuck  ,Modern Warfare 3 .
- Mikenel's Insert Title Here. An 2010 April Fool's Day gag based on his own fanart, it promised a crossover between characters from Invader Zim and Haruhi Suzumiya. While there are things to nitpick such as continuity errors, it is otherwise convincing.
- There's a brutal parody of a Darker and Edgier Archie Comics here.
- This trailer for a Mario Kart movie.
- This two-part trailer(here and here), "Orson Welles' "The Bat-Man"), was inspired by a widely-circulated(and debunked) internet rumor that Orson Welles wanted to direct a Batman movie during the 40s. The trailer consists of clips from a 40s Batman serial, along with other movies(including Citizen Kane and The Third Man), casting Orson Welles as Bruce Wayne, Joseph Cotton as Jim Gordon, Edgar G. Robinson as the Penguin, Marlena Dietrich as Catwoman and Conrad Veidt(with clips of "The Man Who Laughs"—ironically, the original inspiration for the character) as the Joker.
- Used, but then turned into a subversion, by Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: There was a trailer made for an Abridged version of Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie, that was never intended to be made into a full movie. Eventually, however, after a lot of people asked for it, Little Kuriboh did make a half-hour version of the movie, but with none of the lines from the original trailer (except one reference).
- Minesweeper The Movie trailer.
- Grayson, a trailer for a film where a retired Robin once again takes up the mantle to solve the mystery of Batman's death. A script was even produced for a full feature and is available to read online.
- Pac Man: The Movie. It actually looks half-decent apart from the Special FX.
- Two words: Mutha Nature (rated "Blockbuster" by the Academy of Film Review).
- By the way, the scene is so fertile it was prompted an international festival/contest of sorts, Teaserland.
- Thundercats Live Action Movie. Looks really damn good, but alas, it's fake, made by editing footage from various other movies.
- From the same author, Superman Reborn. The eponymous character in this trailer has Christopher Reeve's body and Tom Welling's face.
- Some people decided to tease Touhou fans with a sophisticated trailer for an Eastern RPG entry into the series.
- This well done trailer for a Titanic sequel.
- And here's Tetris - The Movie.
- This fake opening (perhaps technically not a trailer) for a Saturday-morning Watchmen cartoon features hilarious Lighter and Softer Adaptation Decay and a Cliché Storm of 1980s cartoon tropes.
- The Waldo Ultimatum.
- The Sims.
- Where's Waldo?: The Movie.
- Many trailers made for a Justice League movie are sadly just spliced scenes from The Dark Knight Saga and Superman Returns or Smallville with a handful of brief cuts of what are supposed to be the other heroes. A few even add in close up shots of Megan Fox from the Transformers movies that make little sense even if you know of the untrue rumors about Fox starring in a Wonder Woman movie.
- The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. Even the trailer is long (10 minutes!)
- You're Not Cruise.
- From the people who brought you Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Menace To Society, Dangerous Wands.
- A Trailer For Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever can be seen here
- My Immortal The Movie.
- A Walk to Remember and (500) Days of Summer, anime style.
- Itou Makoto MUST DIE!
- This trailer for a Punch-Out!! movie. If only they actually did the entire movie...
- From the same group, this trailer for a Contra movie. Could have been awesome if they made it real... So may Predator references that you could believe they were the reason the sequel was made.
- Pokémon Apokélypse is a response to the "common trend of 'dark and gritty' reboots of popular franchises."
- The ultimate crossover: Goonies of the Caribbean: The Search for One-Eyed Willy (Mashup of The Goonies and Pirates of the Caribbean)
- Not only is there a live-action My Little Pony movie, but they go behind the scenes too.
- Another version of mash-ups uses the sound from one trailer and the footage from another trailer/movie/TV show. An excellent example would be Toy Story Requiem: footage from Toy Story and Toy Story 2 with the sound from Requiem of a Dream.
- Cock and Load a Grindhouse style preview about a man who has his penis replaced with a shotgun and uses it to fight the mob. Must be seen to be believed.
- A trailer for the Nicholas Cage The Wicker Man has been made as though it was a comedy. It is hilarious.
- There's also The Veloci Pastor, a fake grindhouse trailer about a priest who turns into a dinosaur.
- A peculiar small subgenre are the Premakes: using edited footage of mostly old movies, they try to recreate how a movie could have been if it was made a few decades earlier. Youtube user Whoiseyevan has created the best examples, like Up as a 1965 live-action Disney movie, The Avengers in 1952 (before all team members except Captain America were even created), and The Empire Strikes Back in 1950. The latter is particularly good before it takes from several movies that inspired Star Wars firsthand. There are a few more Premakes around but not as good as these.
- There's a trailer for Nico Nico All Stars, based on memes from Nico Nico Douga, which sadly doesn't exist.
- While he waits for his movie to even get into production, Deadpool can watch this fan trailer. If the real thing ever happens, it better be as good as that.
- A trailer for Monopoly: The Movie based off of the board game
- The season two DVD for Marble Hornets features, as an extra, a trailer for the titular student film.
- The Twit Network: A spoof of The Social Network, telling Twitter's history instead of Facebook's.
- This fan-made trailer for a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover episode. It looks freaking awesome, even if there is no possible chance of it ever being done for real.
- There's a trailer for Pedobear: The Bed Intruder slated for release on February 31st, 2012.
- Dawn Of Fire, although it's actually supposed to be the opening titles of the (fake) movie rather than the trailer. The cast and crew alone may make you want to see the movie anyway.
- There's a fake IMDB page out there somewhere for what sounds like a truly dreadful In Name Only film adaptation of China Miéville's Perdido Street Station. It's had many Mieville fans absolutely furious until they notice it's a satire.
- LoadingReadyRun made a fake trailer for an action movie, Seth McDebit: Combat Accountant.
- The Magic School Bus: The Movie Trailer has over 500,000 views on YouTube and a lot of people wishing that (whether seriously or not) it could actually be made into a movie.
- And here's an impressive one for Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
- Super Mario Legacy, made with clips from various movies to create the concept of a sequel to the 1993 Super Mario Bros movie.
- This is the entire point of the Gritty Reboots YouTube channel.
- The 2009 trailer for the sixth Raumschiff GameStar season looked authentic... right until the producers resumed publication of its successor series Die Redaktion half a year later.
- This Hey Arnold Trailer which is basically Hey Arnold! meets Fatal Attraction
- For a while now, there's been this fake trailer for a Mega Man Movie that's a parody of the cheapest In Name Only adaptions that only take a few select bits of the source material and plug them into what's otherwise a generic hollywood plot. Funnily enough, it actually looks pretty good and there are many comments claiming that they'd genuinely go see it.
- Trailer Wars is a bi-monthly film festival devoted entirely to this trope. Entries have included such things as PONG 3D and a film noir take on McGruff the Crime Dog.
- The ad for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was shown in theaters. It was so different from the style of the actual game that until the video started showing gameplay footage, some people have mistaken it for a trailer for a Zelda movie.
- Same could be said for the MechWarrior 3 intro being shown in theaters. It practically could be considered a trailer for some kind of Battletech movie.
- There is someone trying to make a Final Fight movie, though he just needs the budget apparently to make it work. From the looks of the trailer it looks like he could do it.
- The excellent Pyrats animation was a final project for an animation school in Paris. It will never be a movie, but it looks like a trailer (and people have reported that they would like to go and see it).
Anime and Manga
Films — Live-Action
- On 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan once made a trailer for his proposed biopic of Thomas Jefferson... with him playing all the parts. Highlights include Tracy as Jefferson proclaiming "Eat that, King George!" as he finishes writing the Declaration of Independence and the narrator describing him as an "Academy Award watcher".
- Supernatural has a trailer for "Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning" in the episode "Hollywood Babylon."
- The Daily Show advertises several fake products on a regular basis, including Jon magazine and the Daily Show Home Game. In 2003, they started airing joke trailers for a new spinoff called The Colbert Réport that had "already been cancelled". The Report premiered in 2005, and has been described as "the only show that started as a promo for itself".
- A Bill Nye the Science Guy episode on the Earth's Crust had a trailer for a kid cop show called "Johnny Crust."
- How I Met Your Mother had one of these where a trailer for The Wedding Bride was mentioned on the show and the full trailer was released online here. The movie describes Ted's failed relationship with Stella however from the somewhat skewed mind of her ex-boyfriend, now-husband, Tony. Ted in one episode goes to see this movie more than once and, at one point, acts out something similar to it to is date while he is in the movie theatre.
- Stargate SG-1:
- The 100th episode, "Wormhole X-Treme!" took its name from a show based on the team, which the Air Force is letting go forward to give the SGC Plausible Deniability (assuming it stays on the air). After the opening titles SG-1 and Hammond are sitting in the briefing room watching a trailer for the show.
- In the two-hundredth episode, titled "200," the team is giving advice on the production of a Wormhole X-Treme! movie adaptation. The opening to act four, which airs immediately after a commercial break and was intended to be mistaken for another commercial, is a trailer for Teal'c, P.I.. Bonus points for actually getting Isaac Hayes to do the narration.
- On the Reality Show Scream Queens, one challenge each season had the contestants starring in a trailer for a fake campy horror film in order to test their acting skills. The first season, it was for a movie about reform school girls fighting zombies, while in the second, it was a vampire Western.
- The video for "Hang Me Up To Dry" by indie rock band Cold War Kids. It's filmed in black-and-white, set in a post-war (World War II?) era and revolves around the relationship of a pale-skinned brunette and a Loveable Rogue. The fact that it mentions that this is the third installment of a nonexistent trilogy turns this into a Foregone Conclusion whenever you watch it again (and again, and again), but some fans desperately yearn for Defictionalization.
- The Least Likely, Kelly Hu's project for CAUSE, made in an effort to get Asian-Americans to become more politically active and less apathetic (the name comes from the fact that Asians are the racial group that is least likely to vote each year, with only about one-third doing so). Rumors of an actual movie to go with the trailer still circulate.
- The Simpsons and The Critic are full of them.
- The second season premiere of The Boondocks opens with a trailer for Soul Plane 2 (the original (which had John Witherspoon, who's also on The Boondocks) being one of Aaron McGruder's least favorite movies), and the episode itself revolves around its premiere.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends "One False Movie" can be explained by both Bloo's overwhelming ego and the Rule of Funny, as the 'trailer' seems to be the opening part of the film it's pimping.
- That was only the trailer?
- Robot Chicken is in love with this trope. They've made trailers for Kill Bunny, Shoots and Ladders, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and EXPLOSIONS.
- Other trailers include Laff-A-Munich and "1776", the American Revolution told 300-style, complete with Mundane Made Awesome slow-motion zooms on the signing of the declaration, and the tagline "It's not accurate, but it'll blow your mind!"