— Stock Phrase by moviegoers after seeing certain trailers in previews.
Poster Art for Grease usually has heavy emphasis on Sandy as she looks at the end of the film.
Serials by Columbia Pictures were particularly bad about this. As a serial, each chapter or episode ended with the hero in a cliffhanger facing certain death... meant to entice the audience back to the theater the next week to see if and how the hero will survive certain death. Columbia, however, always showed clips from the next chapter after the cliffhanger - which, inevitably, showed the very hero involved in the cliffhanger alive and in action.
Most comedy films today seem to put all the best jokes in the trailer. Some wags claim that the marketing department does this to disguise the fact that all the jokes not in the trailer just aren't funny. Trailer Joke Decay inevitably ensues.
Look at the number of jokes per trailer. If a film has three trailers, and they all use the same jokes, they were the only funny ones in the movie. If they use different jokes (or emphasize different parts of the movie), the odds are better.
An example of how the system works: when Roger Ebert reviewed Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story favorably, he said he was pleasantly surprised by how much funny stuff was kept out of the trailer. But he mentioned in his one-star review of Year One that the only funny stuff were lines already in the trailers.
The trailers for some of the best horror films have occasionally tried to counter this trope by inverting it, showing as little about the plot as possible. To name a few examples:
the original trailer for Alien explains absolutely nothing about the film. All we get are a bunch of quick shots of... intense things happening, most of the images being two or three seconds long.
The trailer for John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) has some opening narration, and two out-of-context lines; one a brief speech that gives a sense of paranoia but fails to reveal anything about what actually happens, the other revealing little more than the fact that some guy named Garry at one point thinks one of the guys is a Thing (which is also shown out of context). Then like the trailer for Alien it's mostly just a bunch of quick shots from the movie.
the trailer for Angel Heart shows a whole bunch of bits and pieces of the film, playing segments of dialogue throughout, but again, all is shown out of context, and only makes sense when one actually sees the film. It's actually quite haunting, and if this trailer freaks you out (which it will), just wait until you see the actual movie and you find out just what all that scattered dialogue means...
The utlimate example would be The Shining, the trailer for which is just a single scene, specifically a long shot of a room. There's some credits, then a river of blood, and that's it.
The TV commercials for 9 try their best to hide things by cutting rapidly from scene to scene, but they still manage to spoil 2's funeral, the destruction of the Fabrication Machine, the Cat Beast's death, and several of the dolls having their souls sucked out by the talisman. Geeze!
In the first few seconds of the (500) Days of Summer teaser trailer, you'll see that Summer is clearly wearing a wedding ring, not necessarily a spoiler but with the narration claiming "This is not a Love Story", it gives you a pretty big hint that the two will not end up together.
The film's opening shows Tom and Summer holding hands, so showing her hand with a ring on it doesn't show any more than the first couple of minutes, and the audience doesn't know that Tom's not her fiance.
The trailer for Affliction is a very serious example: it shows the ending of the movie, where Nick Nolte's character kills his father and then burns the body.
The poster for Airheads reveals that Chazz, Rex, and Pip are ultimately arrested and sent to prison.
Maybe this was assumed to be an It Was His Sled moment... but it's a dangerous assumption to make.
Arlington Road's main plotline involves whether or not the Tim Robbin's character is actually a domestic terrorist or just a regular guy. If you've seen the trailer, however, you know the answer. In fact, Jeff Bridges spends much of DVD commentary complaining about the film's tell-all marketing.
They did it for Avatar - a major part of the first two thirds of film is 'Can we stop them attacking the Na'vi?', when the trailer had already shown lots and lots and lots of gunfire and huge robots with rockets. Is Cameron doing this deliberately?
You also see the tree falling over in the trailer. You have to wait 2 hours for that to happen in the film.
Balls of Fury tries really hard to make Feng's identity a secret, despite that Christopher Walken is 99% of the star power (the other 1% being James Hong).
A TV spot for Batman Begins revealed, in order, that Bruce's parents died, Wayne Manor burns down (something that happen 3/4's of the way through the film), and that Bruce has a reconciliatory conversation with Rachel that happens right beside the ashes of said burned-down manor.
The Dark Knight's trailers featured a few scenes involving Gordon (the Joker interrogation, smashing the Batsignal) that took place after his apparent death, tipping viewers off that he wasn't really dead.
Averted and lampshaded in the trailer for the 1947 film The Bishop' s Wife, in which actors David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant all appear as themselves on the Samuel Goldwyn backlot, deciding not to film a trailer because they don't want a trailer to give away the film's surprises.
Before Black Swan won an Oscar, the trailers and TV spots for the film show Nina's disturbing swan morph.
Several trailers for The Boat That Rocked (Pirate Radio in the US) showed the DJs choosing to ignore the new laws passed to ban pirate radio, and the boat flooding.
The trailer for Bratz tells the entire movie's story.
A commercial for Captain America: The First Avenger shows Cap standing in modern-day Times Square flanked by SHIELD agents (including Nick Fury), when the movie is supposed to take place in WWII. Since the Avengers franchise (Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, etc.) is also set in the modern day, this was the inevitable conclusion).
The trailers and TV spots also have several prominent shots of the Winter Soldier unmasked, showing that he's Bucky Barnes. This is hardly a revelation to comic fans, but came as a surprise to audience members who hadn't read the source material.
The trailer for Carrie shows all the climax of the film, including the deaths of every significant character, which begs the question of why anyone, having seen it, would actually go and see the film.
Not a trailer, but "The 101" (a Direct TV exclusive channel) advertised it as "A teenage psychic wreaks havoc at her high school prom". Way to not only skewer the plot, but also portray Carrie White as the villain!
This is common with Robert Zemeckis' films; for instance, the trailer for Cast Away reveals that Tom Hanks makes it off the island in the end. Zemeckis argues that the audience most of his films are targeted toward want to know about the plot twists ahead of time rather than having an Genre Shift sprung on them.
The trailer for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle revealed the identity of the Big Bad despite its being set up as a big surprise in the film itself. As if that's not bad enough, in pre-release promotional interviews and press pieces, everyone involved was frank and forthcoming with the Big Bad's identity.
This trailer for Charlie St. Cloud gives away every plot point from the film.
Collateral treats Tom Cruise/Vincent's occupation as a secret, but you already knew it if you saw any promotion at all. Even critics were unsure how to treat this bit of information, most saying something to the effect of "I guess this is a spoiler, but it's already spoiled." In a hilarious bit of probably accidental hypocrisy, Roger Ebert's review kindly tells you not to finish reading it if you don't already know, but the picture and caption at the top of the webpage give it away anyway.
Likewise, if you watch the trailer for College Road Trip, you probably won't have to see the movie at all, as it seems to summarize the entire plot of the movie quite nicely.
Commando's plot is already razor-thin anyways, and it's transparently obvious that the bad guys will lose since it's a 1980s-style action movie. So just to really rub salt in the wound, the trailer ruins the movie... by ruining almost all of the best catch phrases, including the immortal, "Let Off Some Steam, Bennett!"
Not the only Arnie movie to be spoilt either. Total Recall (1990)'s main trailer is the majority of the movie, especially the best parts ("Consider that a divorce!"). The trailers for Eraser give away that James Caan is the villain.
One of the cinematic trailers for Cowboys and Aliens reveals that Olivia Wilde's character is an alien.
Trailers also showed her stepping naked out of the fire, so when you watch the movie, you know that she can't really be dead because that scene hasn't happened yet.
One DVD release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had the very final scene of the movie as the background for the language menu. Anyone who wanted to see the movie in any format other than English dubs had to spoil the ending for themselves.
In the trailer for Critters IV they give away every turning point, everyone who dies, and how all of the critters are killed.
Granted, the source material for the film, a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is so short that you could pick up a compendium of Fitzgerald's short stories which include "Benjamin Button", flip to where the story is, and within 10 - 15 minutes know how the entire story goes.
The little known horror movie Darkness Falls has a glaring plot hole involving a character getting killed despite not having met the requirements for the token supernatural serial killer to choose to kill her...that is, unless you saw the deleted scene in the trailer.
The case of the VHS of George Romero's original Dawn of the Dead has a picture on the spine of one of the main characters dead and zombified, an event that occurs about ten minutes from the end.
This trailer for DOA: Dead or Alive is notable for including the very last scene in the movie. Now, it's a short gag scene, but it does reveal that Kasumi and Ayane end up on the same side despite Ayane spending most of the movie trying to kill Kasumi.
Watch the trailer for the hip, black version of Death at a Funeral and you don't need to bother seeing either movie because it shows the boyfriend accidentally getting high then getting naked, the elderly uncle's bathroom problems, and the two brothers (who are also rivals) learning their father was having a homosexual affair — with the same actor as the original!
Death Race's trailer appears to cover the entire plot. If anyone was watching for that rather than Jason Statham based violence, they'd be disappointed.
The trailer for the ridiculous and sub-par Slasher MovieDetention (2010) (best known as one of DavidCarradine's last appearances before his rather unusual death) tells you absolutely everything. Who our group of victims is, who gets killed, the entire back-story for the killer's rampage, exactly which two characters survive until the end, and who the Large Ham killer is. About the only detail it leaves out is whether or not those last two make it to the end-credits, but it's a Foregone Conclusion.
Double Jeopardy was infamous for its trailer revealing that: Ashley Judd goes to jail for the murder of her husband, she finds out her husband is alive, a fellow inmate informs her that she cannot be convicted for the same crime twice, and that she menacingly points a gun on her husband while Tommy Lee Jones (who was investigating Judd) sits back and watches.
The teaser for Elysium was fairly opaque, but one of the full-length trailers has two specific shots (Max yelling "I have five days to live!"; Max carrying the Ill Girl) give away pretty much the entire plot. Another goes into even more detail, basically summarizing the entire first half-hour. The only thing any of them preserve is Kruger (though, to be fair, he is one of the major Plot Twists).
The first trailer for the movie adaptation of Enderís Game ends with Ender shouting "Now!" as he orders his fleet to destroy a planet- the Buggers' homeworld. This would happen to be the absolute climax moment for the film.
One of the posters even has the tagline "This Is Not A Game."
The Jennifer Lopez movie Enough is about an abused wife who goes on the run, but her husband tracks her down and she realizes the only way to stop him is to Take a Level in Badass. The trailers showed her confronting him after her training, which is the climax of the movie.
While not spoiling any plot points, and anyone who's read up on the movie should see this coming, but the trailer for The Expendables shows clips from the meeting between Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis. A good way to get people to see the movie, but it's similar to the above Transformers example.
The Fall starts out as a cute story about a couple of patients in a hospital narrating and imagining a fantastical epic. It slowly sinks into a darker tone when you realize that one of the main characters is suicidal, eventually becoming very dark indeed. The trailer showed the main character attempting suicide, explained outright that he had made up the story to get his friend to steal morphine for him, and showed the death of nearly every main character.
The trailers for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer reveal the plot point that the team exchanges powers, and shows the climax where they combine all their powers into Human Torch.
At least one trailer for From Dusk Till Dawn makes explicitly clear that the inhabitants of the bar are vampires, which is a twist halfway through the movie.
The trailer for Judd Apatow's Funny People shows that Adam Sandler's character has a life-threatening disease. That's part of the premise that's been widely-known. Then it goes and says outright that he may have beaten the damn thing. According to many online script reviews, this happens two-thirds into the film. Yep.
The trailer for the 1987 movie The Gate included every single special effect in the entire film except one.
The General's Daughter is a thriller full of plot twists. The trailer spoiled every single one of them. (It even almost spoiled the actual murderer. While it didn't show the murderer, it showed a short clip from the final scene, where the murderer is revealed.)
Since the Eiffel Tower's collapse is the Money Making Shot of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, its inclusion on the trailer kinda ruins some of the tension of the Paris scenes. A scene from the final part of the movie involving an airplane being devoured by Nanomachines is also in the previews.
The original theatrical trailer for The Godfather features stills from the movie, including almost every single murder.
The trailer for GoldenEye revealed the plot twist that Bond's old partner 006 (Trevelyan) was the film's main villain.
The trailer for Film/Dr.No told the audience the whole plot, including the final scenes.
The box art for You Only Live Twice prominently shows the full likeness of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, which is shown in that movie for the first time. It isn't exactly a major plot twist, but it doesn't seem appropriate for a villain who famously spent at least two a half movies with his face just off-camera.
Watch the trailer for Gray Matter. Congratulations, you have just seen the entire movie. Sure, there was a lot of Gayngst in the middle, but that was the whole movie right there.
The trailer for The Great Escape reveals that a bunch of men do, in fact, escape, which happens very late in the film.
The original Halloween (1978) theatrical trailer gives away the first scene's twist - that the killer is the victim's six-year old brother.
The DVD trailer for The Hangover spoils almost every significant plot event, including that Ed Helms marries a hooker, that the group is attacked by an Asian gang, the poker scene, and the fact that there are two Dougs in the film.
The trailer for Hanna gives away the minor plot twist when Marissa sends a double into the holding cell where Hanna is(from the back the person looks and sounds exactly like Marissa), and Hanna starts crying and then snaps the woman's neck.
Both the trailer and the description on the back of Happy Accidents give away that Sam may or may not be from the future and he is trying to save Ruby from dying. The movie is great either way, but it's more effective if you don't know this information beforehand.
Harry and Voldemort fight! Ollivander isn't dead! Hogwarts erupts into battle! Ron uses the sword! There's a dragon! Griphook comes back! Harry hands himself over to Voldemort! The worst part about all of it is that most of this stuff is from what has to be the second part. So not only are they spoiling a good section of the book, they're spoiling a good section of the second movie.
You thought that was bad? Just wait until you see the theatrical trailer for Part 2! It shows two of the most important parts of the battle of Hogwarts. The first, though only a flash, is Ron visibly cradling Fred's dead body. The second Lupin and Tonks hold hands before what is most likely their death, and the third is Molly and Bellatrix fighting. Might as well spoil the fact that Snape loved Lily.
But Wait, There's More!! The trailers for Part 2 also show a scene where Harry speaks to dead friends and loved ones, like his parents — as well as a certain character (Prof. Remus Lupin) who was still alive last time we checked. And said character is quite prominent, meaning it's hard to miss. Whoops.
A lot of the scenes from said trailer show Harry after his death and resurrection, removing the dramatic tension leading up to his death.
According to William Goldman, producer Joseph E. Levine started this with the 1960 Hercules movie (the Steve Reeves one).
Not exactly a trailer yet, but the New York Times' profile for the upcoming adaptation of Here There Be Dragons flat out advertises what was supposed to be a big surprise at the end of the book, namely that John, Jack and Charles are J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams.
In the John Woo film Heroes Shed No Tears, the film's trailer spoils Every. Single. Named Protagonist death with the exception of two, both of which would be too gruesome for the trailer.
Home Alone was really bad about this. The trailer showed every booby trap and pratfall. And let's face it, anyone who watched that movie watched it for the "Straw Dogs for kids"-style pratfalls, not the chance to see Macaulay Culkin act out every young boy's fantasies of living without parental supervision while bonding with the creepy neighbor who turns out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
The trailer for Hot Fuzz focuses almost entirely on the two main characters fighting against the entire population of a surprisingly well armed rural community, despite the fact that not only does this not happen until two thirds through the movie, but it reveals that Danny does a Heel-Face Turn, before he is ever revealed to be on the same side as the townsfolk.
The trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine spoiled that Lou is Jacob's father, which is an event that occurs fairly late in the film and is a bit of a twist.
Both the poster and the DVD/VHS cover art for The Hudsucker Proxy spoil one of the funniest jokes in the movie.
The trailer for I Can't Think Straight sums up all the major plot points in the movie, which is a shame since Lisa Ray and Sheemal Sheth give great performances as Tala and Leyla, respectively.
And you can tell too, the last shot of Norton doing the green eye thing is clearly meant to be the the last thing you see before the credits roll. Then they roll The Stinger and it breaks the whole mood.
They pushed the Tony Stark appearance for fan-boy appeal. They knew they had hit something big with Samuel L. Jackson showing up in Iron Man, and also knew the last attempt at Hulk was dismal. Showing a connection to a proven blockbuster powerhouse was pushed from above to try and harness the salivating geekdom.
Besides that, the theatrical trailer shows you everything else in the movie: that the Hulk is being pursued around the world by an elite military force, that one member has a pretty bad grudge against him, that they capture the Hulk and derive a Hulk-making serum from him, which they use on said soldier, which turns him into another Hulk, and the two have a big showdown fight.
On the other hand, the post-credits scene from Iron Man is the only really cool thing in the movie that wasn't shown in the trailer.
For Iron Man 2, the briefcase armour was supposed to be an nod to the fandom, if they'd been paying attention to it. Otherwise, it's just a mysterious briefcase, right up until it opens up.
Speaking of Iron Man and Hulk, several websites involving both movies and comics include a article which spoiled the ending to Captain America: The First Avengerwhich involves Cap in modern-day New York with Nick Fury along with a teaser to the next Marvel Cinematic Film The Avengers so if you've seen the spoiler then you don't have to stay during the credits. You can thank the Internet for ruining the moment we've been waiting for.
The Avengers subverted this trope. All you could tell from the trailer that the villain really, REALLY hated cars because there they were being destroyed.
...Until the SECOND trailer, which clearly shows and has several voice-overs from Loki.
The Island built up suspense in the beginning that was impacted by revealing in the trailer that the people shown were clones and showing the escape into the real world which all was part of the midway twist along with figuring out what the island was.
The remake of the horror and revenge film I Spit on Your Grave, about a woman who spends over a month taking systematic revenge on the individuals in a group that gang-rapes her, actually says what the story and ending are plainly straight, clearly with no attempt in allowing the slightest bit of suspense. It states right in your face what happens after describing the entire first half in a few sentences with the words: "When the carnage clears, victim has become victor."
A cross between this and Never Trust a Trailer; everything from the trailers to the box art of Jason X market Jason's futuristic upgrades which he only gets within the last 15 minutes of the movie.
The trailers for the original Friday the 13th (1980) and its first sequel showed enough of every death scene in the movie to know who was going to die before ever seeing the film. Also a case of Never Trust a Trailer as both trailers implied that there were thirteen deaths in each movie, when in fact there were only ten in each (if you count the killer in the first one).
It was bad enough that Jurassic Park had trailers that showed off the impressive special effects in the film, spoiling key moments in the film. There were also special programs that gave away the rest of the special effects, so by the time you made it to the theater, the only part you hadn't seen was the character development.
However, the original marketing deliberately did not show ANY of the dinosaurs. You actually had to buy a ticket to see them in action for the first time. Audiences in 1993 audibly gasped at the first reveal (which is actually quite a ways into the film). After the first week or so, the trailers became much more revealing.
When the actors went on late-night talk shows to promote the movie, they showed scenes of the initial reveal of the brachiosaurus to the paleontologists... but cut every shot of the brachiosaur. The best you saw was a tailtip and the back of a foot. The show host was unamused.
Trailers of The Kindred and Centipede spoil the demise of the monsters.
The trailer for The Kite Runner bizarrely chooses to focus on the last third of the movie and reveals that Hassan dies and makes it seem like the whole movie is about Amir trying to save Hassan's son, even though most of the movie is about their childhood friendship.
Subverted in the case of Larry Crowne. While people might think that the trailer gives away the entire film, it mostly only shows what happens in the first hour. Most of the film's third act was not shown in the trailer.
Most of the footage for the theatrical trailer of The Last Starfighter comes from the last half hour of the movie.
If you watched the trailer for Law Abiding Citizen, you see every single murder that is committed in the movie. Plus a clip of the last scene, just for good measure.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had most plot points which were intended to be a big twist end up getting spoiled by the trailer. The worst offender is probably Dorian Gray's immortality and Mina Harker's vampirism, both of which were clearly intended to be a surprise to the audience, but both of which were shamelessly spoiled by every single trailer.
Anyone familiar with the original works the movie draws characters from wouldn't find those spoilers at all; Dorian Grey in particular boarders more on It Was His Sled.
Anyone who's seen the trailer for The Lone Ranger knows the climax involves the Ranger and Tonto fighting the antagonists on board a moving train.
In certain circles (that is, the obsessive ones), the trailer for The Two Towers is rather notorious for giving away what is clearly set up in the film (and more so in the book) as a point of mystery and contention — the identity of the mysterious White Wizard who is following Aragorn's Terrific Trio around.
In the book, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas were surprised to find out that Gandalf had returned from the dead, and when they heard about a "White Wizard", and at first when they finally came across him, they thought it was Saruman, not Gandalf. In the movie, to maintain this, Peter Jackson actually went so far as to have Gandalf the White speak with the voices of both Lee and McKellen imitating each other's voice, with their voices overlaid on top of each other. You can hear the transitions quite well, and for a moment Gandalf sounds like he's talking with the Voice of the Legion because of this.
Well, it might have been somewhat hard to keep the revelation that Gandalf's alive out of the trailer, since he shows up at the end of the first fourth of the movie. Then again, he leaves shortly after not to return until the end, so it might have been feasible...
The fact that he was also on all the merchandise for the film (and there was a lot of it) didn't help either.
The people editing the trailer for The Machinist thought it would be a brilliant idea to hint at the plot twist at the end too heavily, including the answer to hangman game, "KILLER".
Magnolia: Not a major twist, but posters for the movie reveal the final unexpected scenes of frogs raining from the sky.
The trailer for TheMask made people want to watch the film more for the humor and less for the story. Unfortunately for them the trailer pretty much gave most of it all away.
Given the young target audience, it's not surprising that the trailer for Matilda showed the headmistress getting her comeuppance.
The trailer for The Matrix Reloaded revealed that Agent Smith was not only still alive, but has gone rogue and could replicate himself by jamming his hand into other people/programs. Though all of this was shown fairly early on in the film, many scenes were clearly meant to be reveals that would surprise and confuse the viewers, such as the scene where Smith speaks to another Agent only for the camera to pan over and reveal the other Agent is also Smith.
A more minor example would be the Twins and their ghosting ability. Within the progression of the story itself, their ability to phase into intangible ghost-like forms came as a surprise to the main characters, but scenes with them using said ability were featured pretty heavily in the film's marketing. As such, as soon as the Twins first showed up on screen, probably everybody in the theater started eagerly anticipating when they'd get to see their powers in action, which actually didn't happen until a good chunk of time after their first appearance.
The trailer (and the VHS cover art) for Meet the Feebles shows the surprise ending in action.
Meet the Parents would have been lot funnier if the trailer hadn't given away that the girl's father isn't really a retired florist but actually an ex-interrogator for the CIA.
Much of what made Men In Black enjoyable was its striking visuals and special effects - all of which seem to be in the trailer.
A more subtle example occurs in the trailer for Million Dollar Baby, which clearly shows Maggie lying on the ground with a doctor kneeling over her. This one is somewhat excusable because they didn't actually show her getting punched or landing on the stool before hand, and the viewer might not easily guess that she ends up paralyzed after this scene. Also to be fair, they also had the decency not to spoil the incredibly dark turn taken by the last quarter of the film, where Maggie is paralyzed from the neck down and the story becomes about Frankie's efforts to cope with what's happened.
The trailer for the movie The Million Dollar Hotel shows a scene of Jeremy Davies' character TomTom confessing that he "went ahead and pushed him off".
The trailer for Multiplicity gave away that the movie has four Michael Keatons, a development that does not happen until about 80 minutes into the 120 minute movie. Though it's not so much that there is four of them, since the whole premise is basically Cloning Blues: The Movie, but that Keaton #4 is a copy of a copy, and is developmentally disabled as a result.
In the trailer for Muppets from Space, the very first Muppets that you see are none other than Gonzo's family.
The trailer for the Martin Lawrence film National Security gives away the film's ending where Steve Zahn's character gets his job back and Lawrence fulfills his dream about being a cop...at the very beginning of the trailer. A few seconds later, you see the tail end of the film.
National Treasure 2 was pretty bad about trailer spoilers. Ben kidnaps the president, Ben was just kidding when it looks like he loses his hand to the eagle, the treasure is hidden under Mt. Rushmore. It's pretty bad when a movie's trailers subject it to You Should Have Forgotten This By Now spoiler tagging.
Trailers for The Negotiator revealed that Spacey's character would eventually side with Jackson's.
David Letterman parodied the trope using an expanded version of this particular trailer. His version included an announcer who summed up the entire movie plotline beginning to end ("Oh, and this guy dies too.")
Try watching the trailer for Never Been Kissed, and then once you see the movie it will be as though you just watched it twice.
In A Nightmare on Elm Street, only four characters are killed; the trailer shows all of the deaths and the order they happen.
The trailer of Now You See Me shows Michael Caine's character ordering Morgan Freeman's character to expose and ruin the Four Horsemen. While this isn't as a bad a spoiler as some, given the movie's extra twists, it does completely deflate the tension out of an earlier scene where Caine is trying to threaten and intimidate Freeman to refrain from exposing the Four Horseman that takes place before the Horsemen have double-crossed Caine.
Oblivion (2013) : The fact that humanity isn't completely dead and there's a resistance led by Morgan Freeman would have been a great plot twist if it hadn't been included in the very first trailer. Fortunately, there are other twists that the trailer managed to omit.
New trailers for Paranormal Activity show a shot of Micah's body flying toward the camera from the final scene.
The trailer for Piranha 3D finishes up with the last scene of the film! Which happens to be a stinger showing the death of one of the main characters.
The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End trailer clearly shows Will Turner on the helm of the Flying Dutchman as he becomes Captain. You can even see the scar on his chest.
Every single trailer showed Jack Sparrow, clearly back from the dead. Sure, it was pretty obvious that would be happening in the last movie, but it still might have been more tense had they avoided showing him at all in the trailers.
And the poster/DVD cover for At World's End spoils the twist ending from the second movie (Barbossa is Back from the Dead).
Even the first trailer spoils to a lesser extent: when a viewer remembers that, in the trailer, he saw Jack standing in front of the gallows, he won't be concerned that Jack is really dead when Barbossa impales him, since that scene hasn't happened yet.
One piece of merchandise for the third movie (which came out before the film) was called "Will Turner, Captain of the Flying Dutchman"
The "shocking" revelation that they're all not on Earth, but another planet on Predators might have been more surprising if it hadn't been seen in EVERY theatrical trailer and TV spot.
The theatrical trailer for The Princess Bride spoils the Clergyman's funny voice, Count Rugen going into a battle stance before running away, the outcome of the battle of wits, and Wesley's "death".
All trailers for Prometheus show things that happen in the last 10 minutes into the film. The same is true for one of the international posters advertising the film. Namely, that titular ship Prometheus crashes into the alien vessel. To be fair, that was a very quick shot which only lasted about two seconds, so it's pretty easy to miss unless you've actually seen the movie.
Psycho unfortunately unveils the murderer's identity in the synopsis included with every home video release from 2008 onward. Some home video trailers even have the nerve to show Norma Bates' stuffed corpse!
You know the part of the trailer for Quarantine where the lady gets dragged screaming into the darkness? That was the ending to the movie. This is also featured on the DVD cover, TV spots, and every piece of marketing for the film.
The Icelandic national TV station (R√öV) makes a habit of giving a brief description of each film they show before the airing. These descriptions are usually summaries of about 2/3rds of the movie's plot.
Repo! The Genetic Opera treats Nathan Wallace's secret identity as the Repo Man like it's a big secret, and "Legal Assassin," his first big solo a third of the way into the movie, is The Reveal. The official website's designers were clued into this: they treat Nathan and the Repo Man as separate characters. The people who made the trailer did not get that memo, however: they used part of "Legal Assassin" in the trailer, complete with visuals of Nathan donning the uniform, and declared that the film starred "Anthony Stewart Head as Repo Man"!
Heck, almost the whole movie is spoiled by the trailer. The good news being that such scenes as Nate's death flash by so quickly and without any suitable context that most people won't notice them, let alone realize why they're spoilers.
The green-band trailer for Repo Men appears to show the death of Liev Schreiber's character, in addition to most of the plot.
At least one of the trailers for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith clearly begins by showing Darth Vader as seen in the original trilogy (who doesn't appear as such until the last five minutes of the movie). Granted, this was something of a Foregone Conclusion, but they didn't need to also show every piece of Anakin's fall, including some of the climatic duel between him and Obi-Wan.
The Rocketeer trailer was a mini version of the movie, leading some people to blame it for the movie's poor box office — people felt they had already seen it.
The trailer for Rocky IV completely spoiled the death of Apollo Creed as one of the main plot points, so nobody was shocked when he did within the film. On the other hand, the trailer for Rocky III averted this by giving no indication whatsoever Mickey would die.
Old example: Rope drew all its drama from the fact that they hid the corpse in the trunk and whenever someone would open it. Too bad that the trailer included the climactic shot of the trunk flying open and the ensuing fight.
The trailers for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World give away the fact that one of Ramona's exes is not an ex-boyfriend which was supposed to be a minor twist.
The Seventh Seal had part of its resolution narrated in the trailer: the reason for the spilled chess pieces.
The menu screen on the first edition DVD release of The Shawshank Redemption uses the pivotal scene of Andy Dufresne escaping from Shawshank by crawling through a sewage pipe as its background. This is particularly egregious as the movie was something of a sleeper hit, so many viewers would not have already seen it in theaters.
The trailer itself contains a major spoiler. The scenes leading up to Andy's escape are obviously intended to create a credible suspicion that he has committed suicide. The trailer entirely gives away the conclusion to this suspenseful scene.
To be fair, only a few bits and pieces of this scene are shown and out of context. To someone unfamiliar with the film, the sequence leading to the big reveal ( the scene where the guard angrily walks over to Andy's cell after he fails to show up) could have been referring to anything. Also, assuming the viewer didn't log onto IMDB and memorize the last names of all the characters they had no real way of knowing that the guard was referring to Andy. Another argument you could make is that while they show that Andy escapes they don't show in too much detail how he escapes so the sudden twist where it turns out Andy had been tunnelling his way out of prison for 20 years, and many of his seemingly trivial actions were in fact vital parts of his plan still can come as a suprise.
The trailer for Sideways reveals that Miles accidentally lets slip that Jack is getting married, and Stephanie beating Jack up when she finds out.
The trailer of The Sixth Sense spoiled a major revelation, which made a large chunk of the film rather lame since everyone knew what was going on. Luckily, that's not all there is to it.
That said, the soundtrack album does give away a fairly major plot twist in the title of the final track ("Malcolm Is Dead").
Sky High's trailer makes it seem like the main conflict of the movie is the main character's lack of super powers. Then, approximately 10 seconds later, it shows him with super strength and flight — at which point the viewer realizes there's probably more to this movie that they're not telling him, and there goes the element of surprise.
The trailer for Snake Eyes reveals that Gary Sinise is the villain even though this is supposed to be a twist revelation over half an hour into the film.
Solanin's trailer spoils Taneda's death and Meiko taking his place in the band. Which is kind of the whole plot.
Soylent Green had this, in that in one part of the trailer, it shows the main character seeing a conveyor belt with body bags on it, and in the next cut, you can see soylent green on the same conveyor belt. Then the trailer voice asks, "What is the secret of Soylent Green?"
The trailer for Spider-Man 2 shows the strain Peter is under as Spider-Man, him quitting the superhero biz, Doc Ock's origin, his deal with Harry Osborn, him kidnapping Mary Jane, Peter becoming Spider-Man again only to be delivered to Harry by Ock and unmasked; essentially, the first four-fifths of the movie.
The Spider-Man 3 trailer shows Spider-Man's new popularity, Peter's decision to marry Mary Jane, Harry attacking Peter as the New Goblin, Harry being hospitalised, Sandman's origin, Peter discovering that Sandman killed his uncle, being taken over by the symbiote and turning evil, fighting Sandman, Sandman being dissolved in water, Peter fighting Eddie Brock, throwing a bomb at Harry, hurting Mary Jane, realising he's gone too far and tearing the black suit off.
The online version of the first trailer had a stinger that showed a bit of the symbiote fall on Eddie, and it ends with a shot of Venom.
By this standard, the original Spider-Man trailer seems restrained in only revealing about two thirds of the plot; Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, Norman Osborn becomes the Green Goblin, and the two end up fighting one another.
The trailer for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock ended with the shot of the Enterprise spectacularly exploding while the narrator says "Join us on this, the final voyage of the Starship Enterprise!" Although this is not really the "ending" - it occurs about midway through the film - the producers had wanted the ship's destruction to come as a complete surprise to the audience. Obviously, that didn't happen.
Inversion: The soundtrack to Star Trek: Generations was delayed a month before being released because one of the tracks was "Kirk's Death".
In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku's effectiveness as a mysterious villain (as parodied in a Thumbnail Theatre) would undoubtedly have been more effective if his action figure packaging hadn't given away the fact that he was a Sith Lord months before the movie was released.
Even if you never saw anything that gave away his Sith Lord status, the movie still did a horrible job of hiding it.
The action figures for "Count Dooku" and "Lord Tyranus" clearly depict the same man, ruining the very last reveal of the film: that both the Republic and the Separatists are being bankrolled by the Sith.
Episode I's soundtrack had a couple of track names that gave away the fact that a major character died. In the "Humorous Version" script parody, the soon-to-be-dead character refers to this spoiler, and the ensuing altercation is joined by George Lucas and John Williamsnote who is notorious for giving away key plot points in his track titles:
JW: What was I supposed to do? Label Track 15 as "Some Nifty Jazzy-Type Music Followed by Heartwrenching Violin Music" and Track 16 as "The High Council Meeting and A Bunch of Basses That Sound Like They're Singing a Catholic Monk Death Chant"? GL: (thinking) You know, that could've worked. JW: Really? I thought about it, but then I decided that it would be a lot cheaper to go with the labels already on there.
The soundtrack of X2: X-Men United also has a track named after a character death (and it's punny: "Death Strikes Deathstryke").
This plotline was the reason that Harrison Ford refused to reprise his role as Jack Ryan.
The trailer for Superman III showed that not only does Gus Gorman (Richard Pryor) become a good guy, but that Superman beats the computer. Granted, it's a Superman film so you probably could have figured out that last part, but still.
The entire campaign for Surrogates was a spoiler: James Cromwell's character (who invented the surrogates) describes them as "an addiction", which makes him easy to guess as the killer, and every trailer and TV spot showed the surrogates shutting down and collapsing in the street, which is the ending to the movie.
The horror anthology Tales from the Hood trailer spoiled quite a bit of the film... including the end of the framing sequence that connected the tales together where the mortician turned out to be Satan himself.
The trailers for Terminator Salvation give away the fact that Marcus is a Terminator, something that's set up as a big reveal in the film. The third movie has scenes from all over the film in the trailer, but at least without spoiling much.
The trailer for The Town has a fairly mild example, in that The last line in the trailer is actually the last line in the film. Granted it's tough to tell outside of context.
The trailer to the 1994 movie Trading Mom gives away the entire plot from start to finish and shows the ending too.
Also, Devastator would have been a kickass awesome surprise. He just ended up being kickass awesome.
There were also several TV spots released, and made available on the director's website, that showed the entire Sideways chase-sequence, including his death at the bladed hands of Sideswipe.
The theatrical trailer for Dark of the Moon clearly revealed Starscream's death, while later TV spots even showed glimpses of how it happens. Likewise, the TV spots spoiled the death of Shockwave, showing how Optimus punches a hole in him.
The trailer (or at least one of them) for Twilight gave away absolutely everything. The sequel, New Moon, is even worse! The first trailer for it was fine, it stopped at the first major plot revelation. But the second trailer? Well that just takes one scene from every plot point in the movie, save the VERY last one, and mashes it all together in a sequential montage! You could nearly write the Wikipedia plot summary with just that trailer alone!
Unknown's trailer shows the people telling him that the person he thinks he is does not exist - the HUGE twist (although it only gives the line, not much context of it), and it shows the explosion, and one even showed them faking the picture.
There is no reason to see the film Warm Bodies because the trailer casually spoils the fact that it's a reverse parody of Twilight where the zombie boy gets turned back into a human by the love of a human girl. Unless the producers do a Double Subversion where she gets turned and the plot occurred for naught, but since this is Hollywood, they'll never do anything that creative. Or would they?
Enforced Trope in the case of The Watch, about a neighborhood watch group that stumbles on an Alien Invasion in progress. The movie, whose original title was Neighborhood Watch, had its marketing pulled from movie theaters in the wake of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch person in Sanford, Florida. The film was subsequently renamed The Watch, with the marketing revamped to focus more on the alien aspect than the neighborhood watch. However, upon watching the film it's obvious that the alien invasion was meant to be a surprise.
The trailers for What Lies Beneath, they reveal the identity of the ghost, which makes watching the wife sneak around suspecting the neighbor of killing his wife painful and awkward to watch.
However, the trailer doesn't give away that Harrison Ford is the bad guy.
What Lies Beneath was Harrison Ford's most recent film when he received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar. The clip they used for the montage of his body of work to date gave away one of those two details. It's hard to discern changes in Ford's expression, but he didn't look happy.
The TV-movie When a Stranger Calls suffered from this in that the promos spoiled every single plot point. The kicker? When it was recently remade into a theatrical film, the theatrical film had the exact same issue.
The movie is based on an old campfire ghost story, so this really should be an issue of Late Arrival Spoiler.
Although the trailer for Worlds Greatest Dad presents the film as a standard disconnected father/uninterested son plot, the first words on the back cover are: After his son dies in an embarrassing accident...
The trailer for Enderís Game features a shot of the bugger homeworld being destroyed, through people unfamiliar with the book might not realize the context. Also, the casting of Ben Kingsley couldn't really help but reveal that Mazer Rackham is still alive.
Invoked with the trailer for Femme Fatale which shows the movie in fast forward.
Watch ANY of Melancholia's trailers and you've seen the whole movie.
Trailers for You're Next showcase the very first member of the party to die.
The original The Rocky Horror Picture Show trailer shows parts of the last few minutes of the film, specifically Columbia getting shot by Riff-Raff, the radio tower falling on Frank and Rocky, and the castle blasting off.
The two-minute long trailer of The Room is essentially a mini-version of the film itself, giving away every plot twist and development with the exception of Johnny's suicide.