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Covers Always Lie / Live-Action Films

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Grossly inaccurate covers for live-action movies.

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  • Taken to magnificent extremes during the 1980s with VHS home video releases. One excellent example is Survivors of the Last Race which at no time features anything at all on the front cover and instead is a film about a small group of bad actors trapped in a fallout bunker.

  • The made-for-TV Christmas movie 12 Wishes of Christmas was released on DVD as 12 Christmas Wishes for My Dog, and prominently features a dog on the cover. There is a dog in this movie, but despite what the cover and new title convey, it factors very little into the events of the film overall.
  • The cover of 13/13/13 depicts a bloody child holding a teddy bear and casting the shadow of a demon. The tagline states that humanity has become demons. The blurb on the back talks about a plague of demons. The film has no demons in it.
  • The DVD cover for the film version of 1776 features Richard Henry Lee twice, flanking Thomas and Martha Jefferson in an embrace and some Congressmen below. Nowhere appears John Adams, the actual protagonist. Now, John Adams did predict, and the line was used in the play, that he would be forgotten by history... but for a musical that specifically sought to give him credit for his role in American independence? Ouch.
    • Lee is a One-Scene Wonder, OK maybe two, but he disappears from the movie entirely after proposing independence. Also missing from the cover is Benjamin Franklin, who is clearly the second lead and acts as Adams' sounding board and advisor.

  • The poster for the DTV movie The Adventures of Young Van Helsing features The Hero, his love interest and a tough-looking black guy. This gives the impression that they are the three main characters of the film, when in fact the last guy is the drummer in the main character's band, appears in maybe two scenes, and neither has any impact on the film's plot.
  • The posters and most promotional material for Air America depict it as a light-hearted buddy romp. The poster features Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. smiling at the audience. However, this is a film set during The Vietnam War, about opium trading and corrupt generals, and it's also based on a non-fiction book.
  • The poster for All I Want for Christmas gives the impression that the kids kidnap Santa in a Home Alone style trap, and demand tons of presents. In the actual film this is just a Mall Santa who appears for a couple scenes, and the film's plot is more in the vein of The Parent Trap.
  • The entire print campaign and video covers for Almost Famous depict it as starring Kate Hudson. The actual lead is Patrick Fugit (with Philip Seymour Hoffman's character having a lot of presence as Fugit's character's idol) and Billy Crudup with Hudson being a glorified supporting character. The studio decided that selling it as a generic 1970's movie instead of the semi-biopic of the director was an easier sell (either way, the film was still an expensive flop despite critical acclaim).
  • A lesser example: American Psycho's uncut edition has a blurb on the back cover that states that Patrick Bateman rapes his female victims too. Yet not once is it shown or implied in the film that he actually rapes anybody. This was probably done as a ploy to get fans who hadn't seen the uncut edition to buy the DVD.
  • The front cover of the original DVD release of Angus slapped on a random publicity photo of the main cast posing with a woman who is never seen in the film. Said woman was the late Dawn Steel, who produced the film. That cover was later replaced with the film's theatrical poster.
  • The cover of a live-action adaptation of Animal Farm made the movie seem like any other nice, kid-friendly movie about talking animals. The plot summary on the back even used words like "delightful" and "charming" in its description...
  • The poster and DVD cover of Apocalypto makes it look like Middle-Eye is the main character. He's actually The Dragon.
  • The original Blu-ray back cover for Atlas Shrugged stated it was a film about "self-sacrifice". Anyone who'd seen the film or read anything Ayn Rand wrote would know she and her protagonists had nothing but contempt for self-sacrifice.
  • The film poster and DVD cover for 2007's Atonement show Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, making it seem as if the film is about star-crossed lovers. The main character, however, is not featured on the cover.
  • Most of the posters and print advertisements for Avengers: Infinity War feature Shuri sporting her hairstyle and battle outfit from Black Panther (2018). In the actual movie, she instead wears an orange lab outfit (since all of her scenes happen in her robotics laboratory), while her hair is done up in an Odango style.

  • The DVD covers for the B-Movie The Barber featuring Malcolm McDowell use a grunge style typically associated with gory slasher flicks. However, the film has no onscreen violence or blood. It is more of a psychological "cat and mouse" thriller with a generous helping of Black Comedy.
  • The DVD cover of BASEketball depicts Jenny McCarthy in between Trey Parker and Matt Stone, seemingly implying that the film is a romantic comedy with sports elements. In actuality, McCarthy's character works for the villain and is never in a relationship with the two characters (Yasmine Bleeth played the love interest).
  • The Blu-ray cover for the "Special Edition" of Batman: The Movie (The 1966 Adam West one) makes it look like one of the later, darker, non-comedy movies.
  • This DVD cover for the boxing film Black Cloud. Although Cloud is the main character, of the four characters displayed he is pushed all the way to the back. Tim McGraw and Ricky Schroder occupy more of the cover than the protagonists.
  • The cover for the movie Blue Valentine features the two leads along with the words "A love story". Oh honey. This is NOT a love story. Far from it.
  • Boa was repackaged and sold under the title New Alcatraz, with the DVD box being rather coy about the fact that it is actually a killer snake Syfy Channel Original Movie.
  • The poster for The Boss depicts Melissa McCarthy as Michelle Darnell sitting on a chair, burning banknotes while two Dobermans sit on either side of her. The Dobermans belong to Peter Dinklage's character, the film's villain, and not Michelle.
  • The cover of Brassed Off makes you think you're about to watch a romantic comedy starring Ewan McGregor and Tara Fitzgerald. They both are in the film, but their love story is one of five equally important plots, which deal with poverty, violence, destruction and death.
  • Hoo boy, The Brides of Dracula had a few:
    • One has a girl holding another, bride style, as she enters into a gate with the boarding school in the background along with other women and Dracula looming over menacingly. Implying the film was going to be about Dracula attacking the school and turning girls his titular brides. Not only is Dracula not in the film, the main vampire, the Baron Meinster, only manages one attack on a girl at the school and that's it. If anything it's more about a French girl unwittingly freeing a vampire and Helsing arriving to stop him. The school is barely even a setting. What's more none of the girls look remotely like the characters in the movie.
    • Another poster featured a row of women in white, about five total, while looking over at Dracula while Marianne and the Baron on in the other corner. This poster was half and half right, four of the people on the poster look like their actions now (Marianne, the Baron, Gina and the unnamed Village Girl). But again, Dracula wasn't in it as well as the other girls that were drawn in.
    • A DVD cover for the movie feature the Baron holding Marianne by a window (it's a image lifted from the movie) with a castle looming ominously in the background a few bats in the sky, implying he was the hero protecting her from vampires. As stated, he is the vampire threat in the movie.
  • The poster and tagline of Robert de Niro's A Bronx Tale makes the movie seem like an outright war between De Niro's and Chazz Palminteri's characters (an ordinary father and a local crime boss, respectively) over the life of the former's son, who is apparently getting caught up in the latter's evil crime syndicate. Their rivalry is barely noticeable, and they spent a mere two scenes together. The crime boss isn't a bad guy either: the movie is actually a Coming-of-Age Story, and he functions as the son's mentor, repeatedly advising him not to follow him in his criminal lifestyle and making sure he doesn't get himself into trouble. Also, at no point in the movie does the son have to run away from a huge explosion.

  • The only actor depicted on the DVD cover of Camp Hell is Jesse Eisenberg, in gigantic floating head form. He's also the only one whose name appears on the cover. In reality, he has a cameo that lasts for only a few minutes, and the real leads are Andrew McCarthy and Dana Delany. Eisenberg is actually suing Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment for the misleading marketing.
  • Camp Nowhere:
    • First, there's this poster, which seems to make the movie out to be the second coming of Animal House. In fact, the movie was a kids' movie and NOTHING like Animal House, but you wouldn't know it by looking at that poster. To wit: there were no supermodels in string bikinis and daisy dukes (there was probably only one bikini in the entire movie, and it was far more modest), the kids didn't tie up a guy in a suit and spray him with water, and most of the cast was in junior high school. But there were Super Soakers, so that poster wasn't completely wrong.
    • Likewise this poster. The four leads don't tie Christopher Lloyd's character to a stake at any point in the movie. In fact, that character helps them with their con.
  • Look at the 2006 DVD cover of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, and you'll see Gordon Mcrae whisper sweet nothings into Shirley Jones's ear, as they stand near a carousel while green grass grows and colorful balloons float into the sky. Watch the actual movie, and you'll be treated to a musical about a Domestic Abuser who dies during his wife's pregnancy. Also, when they meet at that carousel, no grass is growing, no balloons float into the sky, and the sun doesn't even shine, since it's nighttime.
  • Posters for The Cave give the impression that the caving team is attacked at one point by a massive waterdwelling fish monster. While there are in fact monsters that do travel through water as well (they can, among others things, even fly), they're all human-sized.
  • Chopping Mall does not feature robots with humanlike, scaly looking arms (instead they have stubby, robotic claws), and no-one's body parts get stuffed into a shopping bag.
  • When The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe hit the cinemas, the BBC re-released their direct to TV version on DVD with ... artwork really resembling the Cinema version.
  • The poster and DVD cover for Clerks would make you think there are five characters with the titular job. There are only two. The others are Silent Bob, who loiters outside the store with his Heterosexual Life-Partner, and the current and former girlfriends of the protagonist.
  • The VHS cover for Clifford has the title character chained up next to a dog house - nothing like this happens in the movie, and there aren't any dogs featured in it. The design is justified by a tagline making a Bait-and-Switch Comparison between Clifford and a Pitbull. However, it seems likely that the marketing department was hoping potential viewers would miss the tagline, read too much into the very prominent dog house, and mistakenly conclude that it was either a live-action adaptation of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books, something similar to the Beethoven films (which also starred Charles Grodin), or both.
    • There is actually a dog in the film which Clifford takes from the airport whom he calls "Sneakers".
  • The 1974 film, Cockfighter which is about cockfighting and bombed upon being released, was re-released under the title "Born to Kill" and given a poster that makes it look like a totally different movie that has nothing to do with cockfighting!
  • Cop Dog. The cover makes it look exactly like every other silly kids' movie about dogs ever. The summary of the movie describes it as " a heartfelt tale about a boy and his dog who set out to solve the death of the young boy's father." What the summary, the cover, and the movie's title fail to tell us, however, is that the dog is dead for most of the movie. That's right, not even a quarter-way through the movie, the dog is run over by a car. The whole movie is actually about helping the dog fulfill his final desire, which is solving his master's murder, so he can cross over.
  • The American release of the Australian film Cosi depicts it as being a Muriel's Wedding-type comedy with Toni Collette as the star. The film is actually a bit darker than that (it's set in a mental institution and Collette plays a recovering drug addict mistakenly placed in one) and Collette is the third-billed actor in the film (Ben Mendelsohn and Barry Otto are the stars, a writer and director who are staging a talent show that becomes "Cosi Fan Tutte").
  • The cover of the American release of Cotton Mary shows a scantily-clad young woman kissing a man, suggesting an incipient sex scene. In reality, the film is about a much older woman who goes crazy in a horrible and very unsexy way, and who actually interrupts the one brief sex scene before it gets very far.
  • The most commonly-used poster for the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors shows Allen and Martin Landau sitting next to each other, implying the film is about the two of them. While each of them is the star of his own story within the film, the two interact with each other exactly once.

  • One of the several covers under which Day of the Dead (1985) has been marketed features many arms reaching to grab at a frightened woman, an event that occurs only in a brief dream-sequence. Another depicts an open-mouthed alligator among a crowd of zombies and other threats, as if it's one of the dangers the characters will face. An alligator briefly appears on-screen, but it's merely hauling itself out of the way of some zombies, and none of the living characters even see the creature.
  • The box art for The Devil Inside features a very scary-looking blind nun. She does appear in the film. For a few seconds as a background character.
  • A poster for Seltzerand Friedberg's Disaster Movie references The Simpsons Movie. The film has absolutely nothing to do with The Simpsons in the least, yet there's a poster showing nothing but it. It may be the most misleading movie poster ever created.
  • The cover art for Doctor Mordrid shows the titular character wearing clothes that never appear in the film. It also implies that at least some of the film takes place in outer space, when it's actually in another dimension.
  • The DVD box-art for Dracula 3000 features a grotesque alien-looking vampire as if it was designed by H. R. Giger. Yet, no vampire even looks close to that. The main villain is just a rather silly-looking Classical Movie Vampire. To top it off, despite the story being a sci-fi adaptation of the Dracula novel IN SPACE!, the Big Bad is not Dracula, rather he is named Orlock instead.
  • The poster for Dreamscape is almost an inversion, as all the images in the outer "framework" of the picture actually happen in the film. The exceptions are that the Snake Man's nature as a Humanoid Abomination are concealed, making the creature appear like a regular limbless snake, and the poster's central image - Alex holding a torch, standing protectively in front of Buddy and Jane - never happens. (He does protect Buddy in one of the nightmare sequences, but Jane is never directly endangered at any point in the film.)
  • Drinking Buddies: The cover art shows both Luke and Chris as clean-shaven. They have a full beard and permastubble respectively. Presumably, this was done so people would recognize Jake Johnson from his role in New Girl.

  • Look at any poster for Escape from New York and one of the big things they often show is the head of the decapitated Statue of Liberty lying in the street. In actuality, the statue only appears very briefly in the opening scene (the only moment in the film actually shot in New York), during which it is perfectly intact. (This brazen deceit was so outrageous that it actually inspired the creators of Cloverfield to make it happen for real in their movie.) Other minor details, such as the location of Snake's tattoo and the weapon he carries, are off-model too. The poster art was later given a Shout-Out in the boom! comic series of the same name, where Snake pulls The Duke/President Harker past the Statue's head and asks, "Don't you recognize her?"
  • Escape from Sobibór is a drama about the massive breakout of prisoners from a Nazi extermination camp in eastern Poland in 1943. At least one particularely puzzling poster depicts its most recognizable star Rutger Hauer (who plays a captured Red Army soldier) in a wife beater and holding a BFG while he runs away from a huge explosion. Needless to say it's far from an 80s action film...
  • One DVD cover for Evidence of Love shows star Barbara Hershey with long straight hair, even though she sports a short curly hairstyle in the movie.
  • The Italian poster for The Evil Dead (1981), which not only implies a Haunted House movie right from the title, but also tricks people by using the freaking Bates House as their 'Haunted House'.
  • Looking at the poster from the film version of Evita, one would think it to be about a tempestuous romance between the title character and Antonio Banderas. Banderas's character, Che, is in fact the narrator and Greek Chorus, and has no real interaction with Eva Peron. Che appears throughout the film as several characters, who are unlikely to "really" be the same person (he's seen as a both a poor railroad worker and a guest at a high-society party, for instance), showing up wherever he needs to be to tell the story. The scene depicted on the poster is in the film, but it's actually a dream sequence where Eva hallucinates a waltz between herself and Che, who in this scene takes on the role of Eva's conscience; rather than a love scene, this sequence depicts Eva struggling with herself. Eva's actual love interest, as per history, is her husband Juan Peron, who is played by Jonathan Pryce.
  • On the back of the DVD for the 1981 slasher Eyes of a Stranger, it says boldly, "Jennifer Jason Leigh is stalked by a killer." While Leigh's character does confront the killer at the end in true Final Girl fashion, it is her character's sister (played by the lesser-known Lauren Tewes) who is actually the investigative protagonist of the film. Despite all this, it can be argued that Tewes' character stalks the killer more than the other way around.

  • The famous poster for Falling Down shows D-Fens in a white shirt and tie with a shotgun in one hand and a briefcase in the other. He is never actually seen with that combination in the movie.
  • Final Girl: The poster makes it seem like William is part of the group of psychopaths hunting girls in the woods, when in fact he's the one who trained Veronica to be an effective Serial-Killer Killer.
  • The original poster for The Final Sacrifice depicts a warrior holding a sword in a mystical city. Neither the warrior nor the sword show up in the film, though the city does appear to resemble the Ziox civilization model seen briefly at the end of the movie.
    • A different release of the film, Quest for the Lost City, depicts none of the actual actors in the film and appears to depict a Grecian ruin as the supposed city. In fact, the only thing on the cover that does appear in the film is the crude map that starts the plot in the first place.
      • The second example is worse because Rowsdower is not a hunky young Kevin Sorbo nor is Troy a teenage, darker-haired Val Kilmer clone (back when Kilmer was slim and hot).
  • The Troma Collectors' Edition cover of the godawful sex comedy The First Turn-On! boasts that co-star Vincent D'Onofrio (in his rather embarrassing film debut) is an Academy Award nominee. Vincent D'Onofrio has yet to be nominated for an Academy Awardnote .
  • The DVD cover for the 2009 film Frenemy (or if you watched it before Lionsgate realized they had a bomb on their hands, Little Fish, Strange Pond) makes it seem like Zach Galifianakis (with a huge head badly Photoshopped onto another body) is the star of the film, but he barely appears. It's really an anthology film connected by two characters played by Matthew Modine and Callum Blue wandering around Los Angeles watching people do dark things.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn: The poster looks like a typical crime movie. The incredibly vague tagline would make sense to those who have seen the film, but those who haven't would have no idea of the vampire twist halfway through the film
    • The 2011 Echo Bridge release of the film on Blu-ray mistakenly included a picture of Rebecca Gayheart on the back cover even though she doesn't actually appear in the film. The picture was taken from the prequel The Hangman's Daughter.
  • Feast your eyes on this DVD cover for Future War. No one resembling the African American man on the left appears at any time in the film.

  • The UK DVD cover for girlhouse depicts the eponymous house as a sleazy No-Tell Motel, complete with a 'Vacancy' sign. In the movie, the house is a privately-owned sumptuous mansion in a secret location, to ensure that no fans can locate it and bother the girls. The killer is depicted wearing a balaclava, rather the much creepier Live Doll mask he actually wears. He is, however, carrying an axe, which is one of the weapons he uses.
  • The cover for the MGM/CBS Home Video release of the 1974 film of a Bolshoi Ballet production of Giselle actually shows a still from their production of Romeo and Juliet, which MGM/CBS would release on videocassette the next year.
  • Godzilla movie posters most frequently tend to exaggerate the size of Godzilla and the other Kaiju (yes, even compared to how huge they actually are), though there are other misleading aspects as well:
    • One poster for King Kong vs. Godzilla shows Kong swinging Godzilla by the tail over a burning city. No such scene is in the actual movie.
    • The US marketing campaign and poster art for Mothra vs. Godzilla renamed the film "Godzilla Vs The Thing" and depicted Mothra as an entirely different, tentacled monster that towers over Godzilla, a monster claimed to be so terrifying that the art of it had to be censored—quite the opposite of Mothra herself, who is a good monster who isn't remotely terrifying.
    • The American poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon shows the two title characters attacking each other from atop the Twin Towers in New York. None of the film takes place in New York, let alone on top of the World Trade Center.
    • The poster for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla implies that Godzilla, Anguirus and King Caesar all get in a big brawl with Mechagodzilla, with Anguirus being fired upon with Mechagodzilla's vast arsenal of energy weapons. In the actual movie, Anguirus only fights Mechagodzilla briefly near the beginning before disappearing for the rest of the time to nurse his wounds, and Mechagodzilla was still in his Godzilla disguise at the time.
    • Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth shows two Mothra larvae hatching from an egg. There is only one Mothra larva that hatches from an egg, and while there is another larva in the movie, it's the Battra larva.
    • The poster for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II depicts Mechagodzilla as looking vastly different from how he looks in the film proper. No Tron Lines or big exterior pumps and wires to be found. It's based on an early pitch of the film where Mechagodzilla was a full-blown Combining Mecha, and you can even see the vehicles that would have comprised him (in the final film, the only thing that made it in was a wing pack for a Super Mode).
    • The Hungarian VHS cover of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla omits Godzilla entirely, featuring King Caesar and Mechagodzilla instead.
    • The theatrical poster for the first fully American Godzilla film is also not accurate; in the movie itself, Zilla is depicted as 300 feet tall, with his feet barely being big enough to act as a ramp for a taxi. The poster would have you believe that Zilla was way bigger than that.
  • Of the blurb variety. Golden Winter mentions a "bank robbery" on the back. No such bank robbery happens. The heist is at an Elk's Club, trying to steal a donation for a local Boy's Club.
  • Gregory's Girl: The DVD cover shows Gregory in a white suit jacket and Dorothy in a blue blouse. They're never together when he's wearing the jacket, which he borrowed specifically for their date.
  • The poster of Gremlins 2: The New Batch makes it look a lot darker than it is; in reality it's a much more slapsticky movie than the first one. The DVD cover is more straightforward about this.
  • Both the old VHS and the DVD covers of the Guyver live-action film adaptation show the Guyver armor mergin with Mark Hamill's face... but Mark Hamill does not portray the lead character who becomes the Guyver.

  • A poster for The Heiress shows Olivia de Havilland with her hair down, even though she never wears her hair that way in the film.
  • The cover for The Help looks like some kind of awkward romantic comedy. It certainly does not suggest a serious period drama about a young woman secretly discovering what life is like for black maids in the 1960's and trying to expose the truth whilst avoiding persecution by her racist peers.
  • The American Hogfather DVD case goes out of its way to obscure the central concept of the movie (that Death is replacing the Discworld's Santa Claus for a night... for instance, his servant Albert appears on the cover, but not Death himself), and prominently features the young actors who play Bilious and Violet (who aren't really involved in the action). The whole effect is to make the whole thing seem much less dark.
    • A second edition DVD released in the States is only a marginal improvement; the new cover art focuses on Susan Sto Helit, who is more central to the plotline than Albert, with the two kids. But there's no images of Death on either the front or back of the cover.
  • Every DVD cover for the 1951 film Hometown Story boasts Marilyn Monroe on the front cover with top billing, as if she's the star. In reality, she only had a small part as a secretary, on screen for maybe five minutes. The (otherwise forgettable) film has seen so many DVD releases because it has fallen into the Public Domain. There's even a box set of 100 public domain films with Monroe featured rather boldly on the front cover as the set's "big star". Hometown Story, and her very brief appearance in it, is actually all you get.
  • Katniss never donned the red Spy Catsuit she wears in the posters and promotional materials for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

  • The Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs is a subtle thriller with four male leads, but all the female leads are as window dressing. Unfortunately for the international poster, a random chick with a gun who never appears in the movie was added for titillation. The poster looks a campy Bond knockoff instead of a cop movie.
  • The poster for It Comes at Night depicts the family dog barking into a forest nightscape, clearly hinting that the dog is barking at the "it" of the title "coming at night". The scene this is taken from occurs during the day, and it's never made clear what the title refers to.

  • If one is to see the Mexican advertisements for Jack and Jill, you would believe that Eugenio Derbez had a bigger role in the movie, since he's predominantly featured next to Adam Sandler.
  • The cover of the 1985 movie The Journey of Natty Gann might make the viewer think that John Cusack was one half of an established pairing, or at least in most of the movie. The viewer would be wrong on both counts. Not only does his presence not contribute all that much to the story, but it's all of twenty minutes.
  • This VHS cover of Julius Caesar starring Charlton Heston. The problem: the cover art proclaims that Heston plays Caesar; he actually plays Marc Antony. Just because he has top billing doesn't generally mean he played the title character.

  • The poster and DVD cover of Killer Party show a boy and girl dancing at a prom (or other formal occasion). No such scene happens in the movie. The 'party' of the title is an April Fools Day costume party.
  • Kings and Desperate Men: This 1981 cult film starring Patrick McGoohan and Alexis Kanner (a fellow alumnus from The Prisoner (1967)) didn't get released in the U.S until 1989, and that was on home video. The cover for this video release had a picture of McGoohan looking very action ready, and somewhat reminiscent of Bruce Willis on the classic Die Hard poster. This is also a terrorist hostage film that took place during Christmas season, but unlike its 1988 Spiritual Successor (Kanner was noted for calling Die Hard a ripoff), this is not an action thriller. It's actually a dialogue-driven character drama which could have been written as a stage play. Also, there is the fact that the picture of McGoohan on the cover of the video release is based on what he looked like in 1968's Ice Station Zebra thirteen years prior to the making of this film. It doesn't represent the stooped, greying McGoohan seen in Kings, let alone what he looked like in 1989.
  • One of the posters for Kiss of the Spider Woman makes it look like, as Cracked put it, "a ghost-faced monster lady who catches people in a giant spider web and eats them to death, or a superheroine with powers comparable to Spider-Woman breaking up cartel supply rings in the South American jungle". In reality, it's a film about two political prisoners sharing a cell in Brazil.

  • The reprint of The Last House on the Left (1972) makes the cover look so modern that it is easily mistaken for the 2009 remake of the film; it also doesn't appear to use the original actress on the cover. Only in tiny-text does it say on the bottom of the box that it is the 1972 version of the film. Arguably it says that it is written and directed by Wes Craven on the front, which the remake was not.
  • The Last Stand is about five Big Damn Heroes who are all that stand in the way of an escaped druglord reaching the Mexican border, but of course only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Johnny Knoxville were deemed worthy of appearing on the cover.
  • Releases of The Lavender Hill Mob make much of the fact that Audrey Hepburn has a role in it - the blurb spends more time talking about that than it does about the plot of the film, in fact. In reality, the film was made long before Hepburn was famous, and she's in it for maybe ten seconds.
  • After Casino Royale (2006) came out, Daniel Craig's earlier film Layer Cake was given a new DVD release. Instead of the original cover, which showed a group photo of some of the film's ensemble cast, the new cover shows Craig in a very James Bond-style pose holding a Luger pistol. He does carry that pistol in the film...for exactly one scene. And he does pose like a gag (and, again, only in that one scene). The cover also features an example of Billing Displacement: Sienna Miller is the only other cast member now deemed worthy to appear alongside Craig. In the film, she has a very minor role (which was reflected in the credits: she was listed third from the last in the opening titles). But she had become more famous since the film's original release due to her role in the remake of Alfie, so there she is.
  • There exists a DVD/Blu-Ray cover of Left Behind (2014) which includes screenshots on the back of the cover of Nicolas Cage walking in front of a crashed plane and a crowd during daytime. While this is seen at the end of the film, it is during the night time when it happens and Cage's character is wearing his pilot-captain's uniform insted of a casual looking jacket. It turns out that the screenshots in question are actually from the other apocalyptic disaster-themed Nic Cage movie, Knowing.
  • This VHS cover of the 1958 French film of Les Misérables doesn't lie, per se, but is clearly trying to trick buyers into thinking it's the musical. It features an illustration of little Cosette (not Émile Bayard's iconic one, but in a similar style), its font is similar to the Caslon Antique the musical's ads use, and it reads (in smaller letters) "A vivid retelling of the French classic that inspired the award-winning..." (in bigger letters) "... musical!"
  • Look at this video cover for The Little Shop of Horrors. What's wrong with this picture? Jack Nicholson's part is only about two minutes long, and the plant isn't even in that scene.
  • Looking at the poster for the British musical Little Voice, one would think that it's a warm, fluffy tale about a young woman's (Jane Horrocks) rise to stardom, and the colorful cast of characters, including Michael Caine, who help her get there. In actuality, the story is an extremely dark one about Horrocks being bullied into a singing career she doesn't want by Caine's character, a corrupt talent agent, in order to cover his debts to the mob.
  • The DVD synopsis for Live and Let Die states Kanaga wants to Take Over the World, when he actually only wants to make a considerable sum of money by flooding the heroin market with his own supply.
  • Posters of The Long Goodbye show Marlowe holding a Colt snub nose revolver with the tagline "Nothing says goodbye like a bullet", despite neither showing up in the film (the line was from an early draft), and the DVD release shows him holding a Beretta 92SB. He only uses one gun in the entire film, a Smith and Wesson Model 10, at the very end.

  • The cover for Mazes and Monsters makes it appear to be a dark fantasy story, with a picture of a labyrinth, a dark tower, and a night sky filled with bats. Turns out it's just an Anvilicious story based on the D&D scare of the early '80s. Also, the picture of Tom Hanks on the cover was taken years after the movie was made.
  • The Meg: The poster exaggerates the size of the Megalodon quite a bit, making it seem to be the size of a blue whale when it's actually the equivalent size of a modern whale shark.
  • The DVD cover for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie depicts Maligore behind the Rangers as an Evil Overlooker and the main antagonist. Ironically, Maligore isn't in the film at all and only appears in Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
  • The poster for the Disney Channel Original Movie Model Behavior contains no references whatsoever to the Identical Stranger plot.
  • The cover for the direct-to-video movie My Pet Monster showed the actual toy that the movie was named after (and loosely based on), but the monster in the actual movie looks nothing like that.
  • Mythica: A Quest for Heroes:
    • The UK DVD cover shows our heroine Marek wearing a combat mini dress and wielding a sword. In the film, she wears a long dress and does not have a sword.
    • The US and German covers show her wearing a white blouse and leather trousers. Instead of a sword, she has a staff glowing with magical power. She doesn't have one of those in the film either.

  • The Blu-Ray DVD cover for Near Dark is apparently meant to appeal to Twilight fans, who may be in for a bit of a shock.
  • The covers for The New Barbarians, aka Warriors of the Wasteland largely ignore Scorpion in favor of every other character, including the lead villain. As a bonus, Fred Williamson gets a Race Lift into a white man.
  • The official poster art for the 1982 Australian horror film Next of Kin (not to be confused with the Patrick Swayze film of the same name) makes the film look like a straightforward slasher flick rather than the suspenseful psychological thriller it actually is.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The Theatrical release poster depicts two Dream Warriors (one would possibly be Kincaid) wielding a baseball bat and a mace, which never appear in the actual film. Taryn is shown with 80s white punk hair when in reality she has a mohawk hairstyle and she's wielding what appear to be dagger rather than switchblade. The cover also features a brunette woman who doesn't resemble the main character Kristen, although she has white streak (which Nancy usually has in the film).
  • One poster for The Night Walker features the lead Barbara Stanwyck being menaced by a demonic goat horned creature, which never appears in the film.
  • This cover for the film Norma Rae, which features a cheerful Sally Field in jeans and a t-shirt and the film's title in pink cursive, implies "cheerful romantic comedy!" Norma Rae is actually a gritty and powerful drama about the title character's attempt to unionize textile workers, which won Sally Field an Academy Award for Best Actress and an enduring place in the pantheon of great American actresses.

  • The poster for Oblivion (2013) shows a waterfall cascading down by the Empire State Building, but in the film is buried up to the observation deck all around. Another poster shows the George Washington Bridge free and at an angle, while in the movie it is half-buried and standing straight.
  • The DVD cover for the Mike Judge movie Office Space features Jennifer Aniston on all 3 pictures on the back and the spine, but she's only on screen for barely 1/4 of the movie.
  • Operation: Dumbo Drop: The poster depicts an African elephant in camouflage depicted as going to war. The movie is about the delivery of an Asian elephant.

  • The international posters and US home video covers for Pain and Gain put the Sorina character with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, despite the fact that the character appears for less than 10 minutes and has little to do with the film's plot. The US poster sold the film much more accurately (and paired Anthony Mackie with the two leads).
  • The original poster of The Phantom of the Opera (1962) depicts the Phantom swinging on the soon-to-be-falling chandelier as the audience below looks up in terror. Actually, he is not in any way responsible for the chandelier's fall in this version - in fact, he dies after he sees it coming down and pushes Christine out of its way. The Phantom also never holds the swooning Christine in his arms as the inset image would have you believe.
  • This early '90s VHS release of the 1960 Peter Pan starring Mary Martin is obviously trying to trick buyers into thinking it's the VHS of Hook. Even though Peter Pan is the title, Hook's name is billed in equally big letters, in a similar font and red color to the Spielberg film's title, and Hook's picture is the biggest of all the characters'. Tiger Lily's costume is inaccurate too.
  • Chow Yun-fat is featured on the DVD cover of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and is even given top billing along with the other four leads in the film. His actual role consists mostly of dying so Kiera Knightley can get a MacGuffin.
  • Of the five "Arcade posters" for Pixels, three show the aliens attacking cities they don't even visit in the film itself, and two have Pac-Man and Donkey Kong as an Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever instead of being barely twice the height of human as they are in the film. Moreover, Donkey Kong is seen attacking a city, while in the movie he's the final boss and doesn't leave the Mothership.
  • Plan B: The DVD blurb and pretty much every other summary of the film say that Bruno comes up with his "Plan B" to get revenge after Laura dumps him for Pablo, despite the first five minutes of the film establishing that Bruno was the one who dumped Laura long ago and he wasn't even upset about it until he became jealous after seeing her happy with another man. The DVD blurb also says that one of Bruno's plans was to find another woman to seduce Pablo away from Laura, when there's absolutely no indication in the film that he considers any plans other than "seduce Laura and get her to leave Pablo for me" or "seduce Pablo away from Laura myself".


  • The Raid UK DVD cover modified the original cover/poster adding helicopters and multiple explosions on the outside of the building. First of all, only one explosion happens in the movie and two: no helicopters appear in the film at all. This is really odd because when the movie was first released in theaters internationally, they all used the same original poster.
  • While most versions of the Re-Animator poster avert this, the Japanese version of the poster that was also used for the VHS covers along with having the amazing title of Zombio only shows stills from the climax, mainly the re-animated head of Dr. Hill and the scene where he tries to rape Megan giving the impression that it's an Eroguro film. Likely resulting in thousands of Otakus disappointed in the lack of Fanservice.
  • The cover to Red Riding Hood mentions Gary Oldman on top billing next to Amanda Seyfried (who's on the cover), and next to the two hearthrobs of the movie, with no figure of Oldman at all on the cover.
  • The cover for the DVD release of Return to Oz. There, we see Dorothy, Billina, Tik Tok and Jack Pumpkinhead flying over The Gump, but then you see the Tin Man among them... Why? The Tin Man appears about a total of a minute or so in the whole movie, he doesn't take any important part in the plot and doesn't even have lines. Someone in the Design Department for some reason photoshoped the Tin Man in there...
    • And let's not forget that those bright and happy colors can be a bit misleading about the real feeling of the film, if you compare it with The Wizard of Oz.
    • But also, there's the theatrical poster for the movie. Not only the Tin Man, but also the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion... How can The Gump fly with all that weight?
    • An old Japanese VHS cover is more accurate to the actual film overall, showing Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump, with the Nome King, Mombi and a Wheeler as Evil Overlookers. However, it also depicts the Nome King's larger form slightly behind the actual character, implying they're separate characters, when they aren't in the actual movie - plus it implies the Wheelers as major antagonists, when they're minor henchmen in the film itself.
  • The posters for both Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us show the Gill-Man rampaging in a city, which doesn't happen in either film.
  • The cover for the 2000 made-for-TV film Road Rage shows a truck tailgating a mustang, but unfortunately in the actual film the protagonists are in a Lincoln, not a Mustang.
  • Robot World: That humanoid robot wielding two guns? Never appears.
  • The poster for the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R. depicts an armored robot firing in an apocalyptic wasteland, two points that do not appear in the movie.

  • Compare the US cover of the Australian film The Sapphires (left) with the Australian cover (right). You could say it's a clear cut case of institutional racism or just a marketing team doing its job while bearing in mind the fact that a white story simply sells better than a black story, and that O'Dowd is the film's biggest drawcard in the US, unlike in Australia where Jessica Mauboy and Deborah Mailman are both better known. Either way there are Unfortunate Implications.
  • All of the many covers for the movie Saved! depict Mandy Moore in the center as the star, while Jena Malone is off to the side, and given devil horns as if she is the antagonist. The exact opposite is true.
  • The poster for Saving Christmas suggests it to be a deliberately cheesy action-comedy flick with Kirk Cameron leaping through explosions and beating people up with a candy cane. The film is actually an Author Filibuster shot mostly in what appears to be Kirk Cameron's living room, and the only jokes or action are half-assed slapstick sequences aimed at the Straw Atheists who disagree with the film's bizarre message.
  • All of the marketing for Scary Movie 3 makes it look like Denise Richards has a prominent role in the film as a love interest to Charlie Sheen (they were married at the time) or playing a role similar to Carmen Electra's. She has a grand total of one scene in the movie (in a flashback parodying a scene from Signs) and adds no importance to the film.
  • The poster for Scary Movie 4 features among the others King Kong smoking a cigar, but there are no parodies of King Kong (2005) (or any other King Kong for that matter) in the actual film.
  • Not as major as most of these, but early promotional images for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World implied Lucas Lee was the leader of the League of Evil Exes, as he is depicted in the center of the group and looming directly over Scott. Later promos used the proper character for the position, Gideon Graves.
  • On the DVD cover for Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, Elmo is featured prominently on the cover. The film was made before Elmo became a major character and only appears as an extra towards the very end. Later prints rectify this and only feature Big Bird on the cover.
  • Judging by the poster for She Gods of Shark Reef, you'd think the movie was all kinds of awesome. In reality it's an hour long slog, badly shot and horribly dubbed, with nothing happening.
  • The cover for the Silent Night, Deadly Night box set of films III, IV and V shows a killer Santa, which is ironic, as they're the only films in the series without a killer Santa.
  • One version of the DVD cover for Siren (2010) shows a bikini-clad woman (the head is cut off so it is unclear if it is supposed to be Rachel or Silka) holding a large knife; strongly implying that it is a Slasher Movie rather than the psychological/supernatural thriller it really is. Needless to say, neither Rachel nor Silka hold a Bowie knife at any point in the film.
  • The poster for Sky High (2005) chose some... interesting positions to place the actors in relative to their characters' roles in the film. In particular, Layla is crammed into the back-right corner, and Warren is posed to look as menacing as possible.
  • The cover of the film Slaughter In The Ring declares the star of the film to be a muscular fellow named Lee Van Dorn....except no one named Lee Van Dorn is in the movie. The cover also features a blonde woman holding a shotgun who doesn't appear in the movie, and the back cover has a picture of a funeral scene that is nowhere to be found in the film.
  • Both Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland feature hot, psycho chicks on the cover who are not Pamela Springsteen.
  • The posters and DVD cover for Soul Survivors had Eliza Dushku in the centre placed in front of three other cast members, and a demonic evil eyed face above them, implying that the film was a Final Destination-ish supernatural 'slasher' film with Eliza Dusku as the Final Girl. In the film itself, Eliza Dushku doesn't play the main character. The main character is played by Melissa Sagemiller, who is in the background on the cover. The events in the film are a bit random and confusing, but the plot, such as it is, isn't so much a supernatural 'slasher' film as a ghost story set around a car accident.
  • The 90's indie film Spanking the Monkey has a cover depicting the typical twenty-something slacker known to star in this sort of movie, making it seem to be a Sex Comedy in the vein of Clerks, possibly about having A Date with Rosie Palms. In reality, it is a Dark Comedy about Parental Incest.
  • The DVD cover to Stand and Deliver showed what many people thought that Lou Diamond Phillips was the main character, but in reality it was Edward James Olmos.
  • One the most widespread movie poster images for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan depicts a space battle between the Enterprise and the Regula I space station instead of the stolen starship Reliant. Regula I was an unarmed science research station.
  • Star Wars:
    • One of the posters for the American release of A New Hope shows Luke as incredibly muscular and wearing an open shirt while Leia has bare legs, an Impossibly-Low Neckline, and a cape. In the vast majority of ANH covers in general, Luke tends to be holding a lightsaber in a fighting pose; in the movie, he only used one in the training scene, and wouldn't fight with one until the next movie.
    • The official promotional posters for the first Soviet release of A New Hope: 3 alien heads, a scrapyard-assembled cowboy, a panther with lightsaber mane and a rock head. By painters off their meds. The texts are technically correct: "Star Wars: a galactic Western" or "Star Wars: a space Western".
    • This article collects various international posters, including the aforementioned Soviet Russian release. The Hungarian posters feature only aliens that never appear in the movie and a vaguely Darth Vader-esque figure who looks almost nothing like him. One of the Polish posters for the series looks like a the cover to a Sega Master System flight sim as opposed to anything related to Star Wars. Another Polish poster depicts only C3-PO, as if he is the star of the film and not merely a supporting cast member. Safe to say, the posters from former communist states tend to be the most bizarre.
    • Several posters for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi feature Luke wielding a blue lightsaber as he does in the first two films. In the actual movie, it's green.
    • Then there's the somewhat notorious Polish poster for Return of the Jedi, which depicts Darth Vader's head exploding. According to the artist, he was told that Darth Vader was going to die, so he felt free to go nuts with how it'd happen. Weirdly, Darth Vader's head sort of does explode in a dream sequence in The Empire Strikes Back, which could be where he got the idea.
    • This poster for the Special Edition of Return of the Jedi depicts Luke fighting Vader in his Empire Strikes Back attire (note the blue lightsaber and blaster pistol) [1].
  • The video cover to the B-movie Street Asylum features G. Gordon Liddy as a cyborg, when he actually turns out to be an S&M obsessed, facist human politician.

  • A fan-made Photoshopped poster for Thor: The Dark World, with brothers Thor and Loki in a rather homoerotic embrace, accidentally wound up as legitimate advertising in Shanghai!
  • This poster for the 1960 version of The Time Machine will make one wonder if the designer had actually seen the film. The titular contraption bears no resemblance to the one featured in the movie.
  • The back of the DVD cover for Tootsie features an image of Dustin Hoffman's character, Michael, kissing his coworker Julie while in full Dorothy Michaels regalia, even though the two never kiss at any time while he is dressed as a woman.
  • The DVD cover of the '80s heavy-metal horror film Trick or Treat has Gene Simmons' and Ozzy Osbourne's floating heads, and their names above the title. However, each one of them has a mere cameo in the film.
  • Just take a look at this hilariously misleading cover art for Troll 2. Three guesses as to whether the big beastie actually appears in the film or not and the first two don't count. The plot synopsis on the back of the VHS cover is also misleading. It's like a mix between that movie's plot and the plot of the original Troll.
  • True Grit was re-released on DVD around the time of The Coen Brothers remake, with a monochrome gray tone and typography similar to the latter. The original was more of a comedy compared to the recent one.
  • The poster and cover for Two Weeks Notice show Sandra Bullock wearing a purple jumper that is never seen in the film.

  • The British and French DVD covers for Valhalla Rising show a charging Viking horde. It's also sold in a 2-DVD boxset alongside Outlander. The film is actually a slow-paced and hypnotic art film that is more in line with Aguirre, the Wrath of God than the historic action flick it's presented to be. Some covers show the main character set against a desolate landscape, which is keeping more in line with the actual plot.
  • The girl standing with Nicolas Cage in the movie poster for Valley Girl is not actually the titular character played by Deborah Foreman. Word of God says that the model in the poster is the actress who actually plays the ex-girlfriend of Cage's character. A budget DVD release of Valley Girl with The Sure Thing (as the Totally Awesome 80s Double Feature: The Sure Thing / Valley Girl) has Foreman's head obviously Photoshopped onto the other actress' body on the front cover.
  • The back cover of the 1996 Vampirella movie shows the heroine in her traditional comic book costume, concealing the fact that it was actually substituted with a less skimpy version.
  • Virtual Combat: The VHS cover depicts the female lead in a white uniform that she doesn't wear at any point in the film.

  • The original poster for When Time Ran Out... shows only the three main stars, some helicopters, a vague explosion, and a man dangling from some sort of sci-fi elevator. Combined with the tagline - "Caught in a game of power. Playing time: 24 hours. Prize: Untold riches. Rules: None." - it makes it seem like some sort of action-packed political thriller. It's actually a disaster movie about a volcanic eruption; the "game of power" is just one of many subplots that sets up character conflicts before the mountain blows.
  • The DVD covers issued for the Korean horror movies The Wig and Voice are given bad direct to video horror covers, with a disturbing picture of a bloody hand reaching out from a stitched-up shaved head, and a bloody hand coming out of some woman's mouth, respectably. Both are advertised as unrated, even though both movies could probably just as easily get an R-rating as most. The cover to Voice is perhaps the most unreliable one ever seen, as it's unrelated to the movie's plot; the movie is a weird ghost/killer movie with some blood and gore, but no hands coming out of people's mouths. Likewise, there is also no hand coming out of anybody's stitched-up head in Wig, just a killer hair piece.
  • The Wishmaster DVD cover suggests the villain is a vampire; he's actually a genie.
  • Speaking of The Wizard of Oz, an Italian poster for the movie depicts Professor Marvel showing a crystal ball to Dorothy, which reflects an image of the Wicked Witch, and her gasping in horror. Obviously, this does not happen in the actual movie.
  • One poster for the film Would You Rather shows someone cutting a woman's eye with a razor blade. In the film it's a man's eye that's cut, and he does it to himself.

  • Several of the posters for X-Men: The Last Stand showed Angel clad in an X-Men uniform and acting as part of the team. Not only does Angel not wear a costume in the movie, he doesn't even officially join the X-Men either.
    • Scott was also shown in his X-Men uniform on the back of the DVD cover, but never dons it once in the film.

Alternative Title(s): Live Action Film


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