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  • Lord Kelvin believed that heavier-than-air flight was impossible and X-rays were probably a hoax. (He changed his mind about the second one after he saw the evidence.) Also, Kelvin insisted that radio had no future in 1897 (he preferred to send messages by a pony) and that it would take human beings two hundred years to land on the moon. Horrible Histories put it best in a section summarising this kind of phenomenon, noting in the section about the predicted short lifespan of talking pictures that "Lord Kelvin was dead by then, so he was not able to tell us that talking films were impossible anyway."

    Kelvin's refusal to accept new ideas is shown in the 2004 movie adaptation of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, where he outright claims that science has reached its peak in his time, and any discoveries are hoaxes. This is one of Lord Kelvin's actual claims, at least with regards to physics.
  • When Robert Goddard pitched the idea that rockets could be used to fly through space, the editor of The New York Times (note: not a rocket scientist) thought the whole concept was patently ridiculous. After all, there's no air in space, so what's the rocket engine supposed to push against? The New York Times later published a correction... in July of 1969.
  • While developing the first turbojet, Frank Whittle was told by the professor of Aeronautical Engineering at Cambridge:
    "Very interesting, Whittle my boy, but it will never work." note 
  • In 1938, aeronautics pioneer Theodor von Karman recommended against investment into turbojet technology when he was serving on an advisory board for the US Navy. To be fair, he merely thought the technology was not ready for practical use just yet, not "impossible." Within a year, a prototype jet airplane was flying in Germany. It took until 1944 before the Germans could put a jet fighter into mass production and it was so plagued by issues that more of it were lost to mechanical failure than enemy action.note  So narrowly on the question "In the likely upcoming war against Germany and/or Japan, would this technology be of much use?" his answer of "no" was entirely correct. But then the people who decide on research budgets don't appreciate such kinds of nuance.
  • "Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible" – Simon Newcomb, 1902.
  • "Aero planes are interesting toys but of no military value" – French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who would later have an aircraft carrier named after him.
    • This was debunked incredibly fast: later that year, the Italians started using airplanes for a scouting military mission (October 22) and, in what at the time had been pre-emptively declared as a war crime (but only from balloons), bombing (on November 1, an Italian pilot on a scouting mission embarked four bombs and dropped them on the enemy).
  • Averted by Wilbur Wright, who remarked in 1906, "I do not believe it [the airplane] will supplant surface transportation. I believe it will always be limited to special purposes. It will be a factor in war. It may have a future as a carrier of mail." While it seems dismissive of his invention, he was, in a sense, correct — while airplanes are very useful, due to the high cost of air travel they have not supplanted surface transportation outside of a few relatively narrow (if important) areas like long-distance passenger transportation (in which case they actually have supplanted surface transportation, most notably ocean liners; while it seemed they might do the same to trains, the advent of High Speed Rail has challenged that claim...) and mail/package delivery where it is cost-competitive. Shorter-distance transportation and long-distance heavy freight remain largely the province of surface vehicles (in particular, air travel never supplanted ships or rail for freight transportation over long distances, especially with the rise of the intermodal container).
    • On the other hand, the Wright Brothers' father, a preacher, once declared in a sermon that man would never fly, even using the old saying, "If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings."
  • After the first flight of their new Boeing 247 in 1933, one engineer of Boeing said that there would never be a bigger plane built. The Boeing 247 is a twin-engined prop plane with room for only ten passengers. For added irony, even at the time there were already bigger planes, like the Soviet TB-3 heavy bomber.
  • When the newly-formed European consortium Airbus released a mid-range widebody airliner, the A300, the CEO of Boeing when asked about it, didn't even know what it was and then when it was described to him, snorted that "sounds like a typical government airliner. They'll build a couple dozen then go out of business." A few years later, Eastern Airlines placed an order for 23 of them. Then Pan Am. Then Japan Air. Then Indonesia. All traditional customers of Boeing at Seattle. By the time Boeing rushed the 757 into production in 1981 to try and compete, Airbus had orders for 300 planes and an option for 200 more. Fast forward to today, and Airbus is at any given time either the biggest or second biggest aircraft manufacturer in the world and Boeing's bitterest commercial rival—and, for what it's worth, not in any substantial way owned by any government (about 25-30% is owned by European government-owned investment companies, but the vast majority of voting shares are held by private investors, and the government investment companies are not entirely under the thumb of their respective political leaderships). However both companies have rather good connections into the political sphere and get big government contracts regularly, to say the least.
    • The biggest irony? A300 sales were faltering due to wide-body twin-engine planes not being popular in an era where only planes with more than two engines were allowed to fly long-distance, and there was just not enough demand for short high-capacity flights... until Boeing lobbied the FAA to introduce ETOPS for their future twin-engine planes, something that Airbus immediately took advantage of. Whoops.
  • When General Ernst Udet, one of the bigwigs of the new German Luftwaffe, saw the prototype BF 109 produced by Willy Messerschmitt, he contemptuously said, "that thing will never make a fighter." Not only did Udet change his opinion within months, but the BF 109 was also the only fighter Germany had in mass-production until halfway through World War II.
  • General Billy Mitchell both faced this trope and engaged in it himself in the early 20th century.
    • On one hand, he was highly prophetic with regards to the military value of airplanes, proclaiming that they would ultimately make the surface fleets of the time, particularly the grand dreadnought battleships that formed the core of any navy worth its salt, obsolete. He felt that America's air power should be organized into a separate Air Force, and faced bitter resistance from the military establishment, who believed that he was overstating the value of military aviation and that airplanes should be under the control of the Army and Navy.
    • On the other hand, he ridiculed spending money on aircraft carriers in the '20s and thought that the money should instead go to building land-based bombers. During World War II, the aircraft that best matched Mitchell's specifications, the B-17 Flying Fortress, was excellent at combating land-based targets but had a notoriously poor record when attacking ships (except for submarines). Carrier aviation was almost singlehandedly responsible for America's victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific, and contrary to Mitchell's predictions, they kept surface fleets very relevant indeed through the 20th century and into the 21st. Mitchell was correct in predicting that battleships would be rendered obsolete... but completely whiffed on the idea that a new type of ship would replace them.
    • Funnily enough, the bomber named after him – the B-25 Mitchell – was a medium, land-based bomber that disproved his theory: it proved to be a very capable anti-shipping/submarine aircraft, though it was ineffective against the capital ships Mitchell predicted such aircraft would be successful against.
  • Nearly no one in the early-mid '50s thought artificial satellites would be a big deal. While both the Soviet Union and the United States were focusing on making satellites for recon purposes, they thought that the technology wouldn't generate any interest outside of military applications. Even then, most military commanders thought that the funds used to develop orbital rockets would be better used to make more efficient ICBMs. The Vostok program in particular, whose goal was to put a man into orbit, was viewed as a pet project that no one would care about even if it was somehow successful. Indeed, Sputnik 1 was launched when it was simply to quiet concerns about the viability of machines to function in space, and throughout the world, its success was announced rather casually. As it turned out, October 4, 1957 ended up becoming one the biggest wham episodes in human history, and saw the entire world reacting with an immediate shock and awe that no other single scientific achievement had ever been able to produce, not even the atomic bomb or the ICBM. Even after this, both the USSR and the USA thought that military endeavors were the future of space out of the logical belief that "lightning couldn't strike twice", but after Yuri Gagarin and Vostok 1 generated just as much hype, suddenly both sides found themselves in a mad scramble to develop space that quickly overshadowed not only Recon satellites or ICBM production, but pretty much every single aspect of the Cold War. Today, most satellites are commercial or scientific in nature, and the military use of space never really moved past recon satellites (albeit partly due to treaties against the militarization of space).
  • During much of the development of the Boeing 747 - easily one of the most iconic jet airplanes and one of two or three a layperson can name and recognize - it was seen as a "demotion" within Boeing to be assigned there instead of the "cool" 2707 supersonic plane. Ironically it was in no small part precisely because it was seen as such an afterthought that many of the things that made the 747 so incredibly successful and iconic happened. It was determined early on that it had to be usable for freight as soon everybody would be flying supersonic and thus the only possible use for subsonic planes would be cargo. So the nose door was developed which still allows the 747 to load bigger pieces of cargo than pretty much any other airliner.note  The nose door necessitated a higher cockpit and for aerodynamic reasons there couldn't just be a straight wall behind the cockpit, so the iconic "hump" came about almost by accident. The jumbo's four engines also gave it good range over water in the days before ETOPS. The fact that Boeing management didn't much care for the project meant key customers like PanAm had unprecedented input on the design of the plane, getting a plane that was very much exactly what they wanted. Boeing was also successful in convincing European buyers (no European planemaker would even attempt something on the 747 scale until the A380) and Lufthansa has ordered a passenger version of every significant variant, including the 747-100, the 747-200, the 747-400 and finally the 747-8I (for which they were launch customer and almost the only one to care about the passenger, not the freight, variant) - brand and product loyalty over half a century.

  • Executives at advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners thought a little campaign called Got Milk? wouldn't work, because its name "was lazy, not to mention grammatically incorrect". The campaign was a runaway success, became a pop culture icon, and was a Trope Codifier for Snowclones.

    Anime & Manga 
  • During the "Electric Soldier Porygon" controversy in 1998, a USA Today journalist predicted that U.S. children wouldn't suffer from seizures because anime, with its "fast-paced style of animation", wasn't airing on many networks at the time. Very soon after, Pokémon: The Series, the inciting program, premiered in the U.S., helping to launch the anime boom of the 2000's (the anime industry undertook anti-seizure guidelines in the aftermath of the incident).
  • In 2010, Bang Zoom! Entertainment's CEO, Eric P. Sherman, made a very controversial statement stating that the studio will most likely will stop producing dubs for anime if the industry doesn't improve (as well as addressing the issue of piracy and fansubs), thus fans thought this will be the end of dubbing as we know it. Years later, Bang Zoom still continues to dub anime for Aniplex USA, Viz Media, and even NIS America with the reissuing of Toradora! with an English dub.
  • Steven Spielberg and George Lucas called AKIRA "unmarketable" in the United States. The manga and its film adaptation are now widely considered to be the greatest of all time by many, and even highly influential in Western media.
  • Before the anime of KonoSuba aired, the editor of Sneaker Bunko that was in charge of publishing the original light novels told Natsume Akatsuki to make sure he was gonna have fond memories about it since there wasn't going to be a second season. Said editor fell victim to this trope again when said show did indeed get a 2nd season, in which he outright stated that this would be the last animation of the franchise. The editor himself tweeted about it.
  • Articles on Shonen Jump-focused 2ch blogs back in Spring 2016, as well as its comment sections, were filled with comments expecting Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba to not last 10 weeks, or that it won't click with Jump readers well and belongs in a more seinen magazine, among other remarks. Scroll down further and you'll see more recent comments laughing at how off-the-mark such notions were. Examples in Japanese can be seen here.
    • What's interesting is that in those same articles Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs was also getting hit with similar sentiments of it not lasting long, despite also getting an Anime adaptationnote  and a 4-year long runnote .
    • Fuji Television passed on broadcasting rights for Kimetsu when Aniplex and Shueisha were looking for a television channel to air the then-upcoming adaptation. Skip to 2020, Fuji found itself having to beg for them to give them the same rights it gave up as the now-super-popular Anime ended up going to smaller, local stationsnote .
  • Shunpei Maruyama, President of Anime studio Actas, was told by his peers when he entered the company that animating tanks is a fool's errand and not worth the effort required to make it work. Maruyama ended up pitching and overseeing the creation of GirlsundPanzernote .

  • In general, a lot of buildings modern critics, tourists, and journalists hail as beautiful and impressive were panned at the time of their construction.
  • Gustave Eiffel designed his famous tower for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair but was turned down by the people in charge on the basis that it was ugly and expensive and didn't fit with the rest of the city. He submitted then the idea to those responsible for the '89 Paris World Fair and was accepted... with the condition that it would be dismantled after the fair was over. During the construction, the project was heavily criticized by the French press, and the famous writers Guy de Maupassant and Alexandre Dumas, fils, together with composer Charles Gounod, wrote a public protest letter where they described the tower as "useless and monstrous", "shame of Paris" and "an unfunny skeleton". Novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans said that it was "a suppository full of holes". To top it, the fair was a public failure... but it turns out that a giant iron tower in the middle of Paris makes an excellent broadcast antenna, so it was never destroyed. This is why it gives you a free Broadcast Tower in every city when you build it in Civilization IV.
    • One protest letter sent to Charles Alphand, the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, wasn't very subtle:
    Excerpt: We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection… of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower… To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years… we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.
    • Eiffel made a pretty penny, too: The fair's organizers let him have the revenue from visitors riding the elevators, figuring no one would want to climb the ugly thing.
    • Guy de Maupassant was known to eat in the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower daily, and when asked why he replied that it was the only place in Paris where he could eat without having to look at the edifice. note  It was also a pretty decent restaurant, but that goes without saying for anywhere de Maupassant would eat.
  • When Chicago hosted the next World Fair in 1893, Eiffel's tower was already an iconic masterpiece. To "out-Eiffel Eiffel" became the rallying cry of the fair's designers, feeling that unless they put up something equally iconic and new, Chicago's fair would never get out from under Paris' shadow. Architects and engineers proposed a multitude of towers, but the designers felt (rightly) that there was no way to make a more beautiful tower, and they shouldn't compete directly with Eiffel. The proposals became steadily more ridiculous (a giant log cabin, a zip line running to New York City). One young engineer had an idea, but everyone who looked at it called it flimsy, impossible to build, and so terrifying that no one would get on it. But he came back with detailed proofs that it would work, and time was running out, and nobody had come up with anything better... and so George Ferris got to build his big wheel.
  • The expensive and extensive Haussmann renovations of Paris were panned by all sorts of critics for a long time during and after the fact. Of course, some of what was being criticized was exactly what the renovations set out to do, such as making the city easier to control... France had had too many regime changes in recent memory, and Napoleon III was doing his darnedest not to butterfinger it yet again (N.B.: he did anyway, but in the urban planning dimension of the problem, it turns out he had the right idea). Today, its results define much of what tourists admire Paris for, such as the boulevards and parks.
    • To elaborate, the wide beautiful boulevards were designed to be hard to barricade and easy to move artillery on. It didn't work out; although they were in fact pretty easy to move artillery on (a bit too easy, as Germany demonstrated about a century after the renovations started), it turns out that irate Parisians can barricade anything.
  • Another famous example is the Berlin Cathedral opened in 1905, which was absolutely loathed during its lifetime.
  • The original World Trade Center was seen as a blight on the Lower Manhattan skyline when it was constructed from 1968-73. Lewis Mumford referred to it as a pair of "glass-and-metal filing cabinets" built by people obsessed with "purposeless giantism and technological exhibitionism", and argued that its massive footprint had badly disrupted the cityscape, traffic flow, waterfront and weather patternsnote  of Lower Manhattan, an opinion shared by Jane Jacobs. This was to say nothing of the controversy over how its construction saw the demolition of most of the old Radio Row (more here) neighborhood to make room for it, or how it produced a glut of office space in a city that, in the '70s, was already facing serious problems filling the offices it already had. In the '70s, it was seen as a symbol of everything wrong with The Big Rotten Apple. Over time, however, its towering edifice grew on many New Yorkers, to the point where, after the complex's destruction on 9/11, one of the most popular proposals to replace it was simply to rebuild the Twin Towers as they were before, to the point where history arguably repeated itself to an extent when people complained about the Freedom Tower that was built instead. note 
  • Guess what people thought about the Golden Gate Bridge during its planning and construction? Well, suffice it to say, there were about five thousand lawsuits against its construction.
  • King Ludwig II of Bavaria was declared insane and deposed because he spent much of the kingdom's treasury on his extravagant "fairy tale" castles, particularly Neuschwanstein. Within weeks of his death, tourists began visiting his castles, which remain cultural icons of Germany to this day. Neuschwanstein even provided the inspiration for the Cinderella Castle, which is the centerpiece of the Disney Theme Parks.

    Comic Books 
  • "Come on, Stan, people hate spiders. They're creepy. And everybody knows that teenagers are sidekicks, not superheroes. This Spider-Man idea just won't sell." — Martin Goodman, founder of Marvel Comics (paraphrased by Stan Lee), 1962.
    • Speaking of Spider-Man, when John Romita Sr. replaced Steve Ditko on penciling in 1966, he thought he'd only be working on the book for about six months because he thought superheroes had overstayed their welcome. He has been involved with Marvel Comics' Earth 616 in general, and Spidey in particular, on some level ever since.
  • In 1933, two teenage comic strip artists tried to pitch a character they had created, intended for a nationally syndicated strip. It took them six years to find a newspaper publisher who would take it. Every publisher they went to told them the character looked ridiculous and would never catch on. That character? Superman.
  • Originally, publishers at Marvel didn't think Storm of the X-Men would be popular because she had white hair and they thought people would think she would look like an old woman. Guess who is one of the most recognizable female superheroes, as well as the most recognizable black superhero, in the industry?
  • In 1962, DC Comics purchased the rights to republish a Dr. No comic, and only noticed they had the rights to make James Bond comics when they were about to expire a decade later. Jack Kirby and Alex Toth were even contacted at that point, but the higher-ups ultimately discarded as Sean Connery left the series and they did not know if 007 would still be popular. Not only Connery's replacement Roger Moore kept Bond beloved for over a decade, but the movies are still strong to this day!
  • During a 1993 stunt where Marvel introduced a new character in each of their annuals, Mark Gruenwald famously cited Squirrel Girl as an example of the type of character they were trying to avoid. Specifically, he argued that while Squirrel Girl was a fun and interesting character, she was likely never going to be used again. Pretty much all of the characters introduced in the annuals faded into Comic-Book Limbo (save for Genis-Vell, and even he ended up being killed off later), while Squirrel Girl made a comeback in the 2000s and has been appearing as a fan favorite for years. Her series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, even made it on the New York Times best-seller list.
  • In the '80s, Tom Veitch, Cam Kennedy, and Archie Goodwin pitched a comic book sequel to Return of the Jedi called Dark Empire. Marvel was originally going to publish the series, but dropped it after those in charge concluded that nobody would still be interested in Star Wars after the original trilogy had already ended. Not only did Dark Empire prove to be a huge seller for Dark Horse Comics, but the Star Wars franchise as a whole is still extremely popular to this day.
  • When Roger Leloup left Hergé's studios to create Yoko Tsuno, Hergé said a female heroine going on science-fiction adventures isn't going to sell and offered him a place back if he needed a job. He never needed to. Yoko Tsuno became a hit and is still being sold to this day.
  • This is why Wolverine is Canadian. Back then when John Byrne created him, Marvel allowed the character to be from Canada as they thought he lacked appeal to be anything more than a background dweller in a The Incredible Hulk comic. Once Wolverine became as popular as he is, there were several attempts at retconing his backstory to make him American to no avail.

  • Thomas Watson, International Business Machines Corporation, 1943: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
  • In general, its been historically easy to make this mistake given the limitations of early computers and the lack of other technologies to make certain items desirable. The computers of today represent millions of different innovations in hardware, software, content, and configuration.
    • Another thing that tends to get this treatment are optional features in hardware. These features are to make the product stand out from the competition. An example was ATI, and later AMD, for years supported hardware accelerated tessellation, a feature that generates polygons on low-poly models to make them more detailed without needing to spend more memory on a high-poly model. It wasn't used at all until Microsoft standardized the feature, then it suddenly became the must-have thing on GPUs from there on.
  • Linux got this from its creator:
    • Today, Linux has been ported to more platforms than any other kernel, and Linux-based operating system dominates nearly every area besides embedded devices and desktop computers.
  • As mentioned in this Cracked article, Xerox is infamous for this in the computer industry. While they pioneered the personal computer long before Apple and IBM, their sales strategy was flawed and ultimately backfired. As a result, several of the technologies developed at their research facility PARC – the graphical user interface, the mouse, networking, e-mail, laser printing, object-oriented programming and other equally important pillars for today's computer industry – were dismissed and abandoned so other companies could build billion-dollar empires around those technologies. Why? Because the East Coast-based management of Xerox Corporation wasn't interested in anything that had no direct application to photocopying. You may bang your head against the wall now (they sure did).
  • Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, in 1977: "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."note  Later, however, he said, "the personal computer will fall flat on its face in business," which ended up being completely wrong.
  • Media critic Neil Postman, writing from the mid-eighties to the early nineties, believed that there was a fundamental shift afoot in the dominant medium of the day from print to television. When a little thing called the internet came along, he dismissed it as a passing craze.
  • "Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney." – Clifford Stoll in "Newsweek", 1995.note 
  • "I went to see Professor Douglas Hartree, who had built the first differential analyzers in England and had more experience in using these very specialized computers than anyone else. He told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built — one in Cambridge, one in Teddington, and one in Manchester. No one else, he said, would ever need machines of their own, or would be able to afford to buy them." That conversation happened circa 1951 and was published in 1970.
  • Browsing the Web, according to Swedish communication minister Ines Uusmann during The '90s, who claimed that people would not have time to browse aimlessly. During her mandate, Sweden became world-leading in internet usage.
  • Bill Gates himself said in 1993, "The Internet? We are not interested in it." He would change his opinion slightly in his book The Road Ahead two years later, when he wrote, "Today's Internet is not the information highway I imagine, but you can think of it as the beginning of a highway."
  • Intel, the creator of the microprocessor, initially saw the only market for them controlling traffic lights. Even well into The '80s, with the success of the IBM Personal Computer, powered by its chips, Intel still thought it was a fad. To be fair, Intel primarily made memory chips back then.
    • When Apple was drawing up the initial plans for the iPhone, they first went to Intel to ask if they wanted to develop the processor for it. Intel passed, so Apple went with ARM instead, setting a massive trend for the mobile market in the process and contributing to ARM overtaking Intel's x86 as the most used CPU instruction set in the world.
  • The New York Times had Erik Sandberg-Diment, dismiss "windowing" (opening more than one program at a time) in 1984 and laptops in 1985. Sandberg-Diment went on to found one of the earliest magazines dedicated to personal computers later on, when technology caught up with laptops and "windowing".
  • In 1976, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell was approached by one of his employees who asked him for $50,000 in exchange for one-third of the company he was starting. Bushnell turned him down. That employee was Steve Jobs and said company was Apple Computer, which would eventually become the biggest technology company in the world.
  • 3dfx, a manufacturer of 3D graphics accelerators, scoffed at the idea of rival company NVIDIA moving the part that positions polygons in 3D space (known as transforming) into the GPU, saying that a fast enough CPU could do the job. They soon went defunct a couple of years later for not making a GPU that could do such and most of its assets were bought out by said rival company.
  • Apple since the 2010s has been on the receiving end of this a lot:
    • The iPad was initially mocked as a "bigger iPhone without calling capabilities" or even a "just a larger iPod Touch." Today the iPad is still one of the the best selling tablets.
    • Although smartwatches in general have gotten this rap, this was especially the case with Apple's take on it. But it's almost harder to find someone who doesn't have both an iPhone and an Apple Watch.
    • People poked fun at the Air Pods, a set "truly wireless" earbuds. Much of it was simply the idea of having something in your ear all the time much like the Bluetooth earpieces of the mid-2000s. Similarly with the Apple Watch, it's almost harder to find someone who doesn't have Air Pods along with their iPhone these days.
    • Subverted with the ARM based computers. There were rumors floating around for years that Apple would eventually switch to an ARM based computer using the CPU they've developed for the iPhone, but such rumors were always shot down with the notion that there's tons of software on their current hardware platforms and that ARM was too slow to compete. But as the years went on and Apple's CPU was showing its prowess in benchmarks, not to mention Apple made a switch between major CPU architectures before, once the ARM based computer became a reality, people's tune is more "Intel's in trouble now"
  • In late 2018, NVIDIA launched the RTX 20 series of video cards that had two major features: real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced upscaling (called DLSS). But people wrote both features off due to a lack of supported games, confusion about the "RTX" branding with people thinking that ray-tracing was an NVIDIA only thing (DLSS is, but not ray tracing), the huge performance cut when ray tracing was enabled, and issues with DLSS in that the AI had to be "trained" per game and the results were often times lackluster. With improvements to the initial implementations and a better understanding of how to best use ray tracing, not to mention AMD adding hardware support in their RDNA2 GPUs, ray tracing has cemented itself as feature that'll stay. DLSS also got an improvement to the point where it didn't need game specific training and the image quality could now be imperceptible to what it was upscaling to, allowing it to stay as a staple feature. Although DLSS is still NVIDIA only, it pushed AMD to make a similar feature that's compatible on any GPU.
  • Microsoft Windows got this on its first launch from the tech press, until its breakthrough with Windows 3.0 in 1990. Windows NT also got this from the tech press and professionals working with OS/2 and Unix, due to NT's lateness and high memory and processor requirements, both of which OS/2 and Unix were no stranger to themselves as operating systems for servers and workstations. NT would prove successful as an enterprise OS before being merged with the consumer Windows line with XP.
  • Les autoroutes de l’information, aka the Théry report — produced in 1994 by Gérard Théry, Alain Bonnafé, and Michel Guieysse for the French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur — concluded that the Internet is poorly suited for the provision of commercial services, and as such could not displace the Minitel service. Théry might have been a little biased there, as he was one of Minitel's creators. note 

    Other Electronics 
  • Once Sony unveiled the Walkman, many thought it would be a failure for being a tape deck that didn't record or have loudspeakers. Others thought that consumers wouldn't want to use headphones in public. Akio Morita made a bet that he would resign if the product failed. Not only did it sell well, but portable music players have also become a mainstay.
  • A review of the iPod at launch: "No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." The Creative NOMAD was discontinued in 2004. Granted, by the time iDevices really took over the world they'd picked up wireless and way, way more space than a NOMAD, but even in the mid-'00s the iPod, with help from Apple iTunes, was quickly becoming the standard for MP3 players.
  • Likewise, a lot of people mocked the iPad for being "just a bigger iPod". It didn't help that Microsoft had attempted to kickstart the tablet computer trend in the early '00s, and fell flat on their face. The iPad was so successful that it single-handedly created an entire market of tablet computers.note 
    • A great experiment is to read this Gizmodo article from 2010. It correctly predicted that the naysayers would be wrong... and the comments section is filled with people mocking the writer and claiming that he didn't know what he was talking about and that the iPad was the second coming of Pogs, if anything. More recent comments, in turn, have a field day by pointing out who really didn't know what they were talking about.
  • The iPhone (and by extension, all modern smartphones) also got its share of this at launch. Naysayers argued that its touchscreen was imprecise compared to physical keypads (especially when it came to typing), the battery life wasn't long enough, and that a cellphone with uncompromised access to the Internet would overwhelm mobile networks (which admittedly it did for a while). Most of these problems were either ironed out as time went on or were non-issues to begin with for most people and now the smartphone paradigm codified by the iPhone is the overwhelming norm in the cellphone industry with very few exceptions.
    • Famously Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft at the time, publicly laughed at the iPhone - saying that it "doesn't appeal to business customers" due to the lack of a physical keyboard, while the $500 price point made it unattractive to everyday consumers, and said that their more traditional Windows Mobile ecosystem and Zune music players offered greater value. Despite that, just a few years later, Microsoft was forced to compete with the iPhone directly by dumping Windows Mobile and bringing out a new touch-focused "Windows Phone" OS while buying Apple competitor Nokia,note  but by that point it was too late and the products struggled to gain marketshare from either the iPhone or the increasingly popular Android ecosystem.
    • A more microcostic example of this was iOS's lack of support for Adobe Flash due to an Executive Veto from Apple. Critics argued that this undercut Apple's claim that the iPhone and iPad supported the "full Internet", and that Android would win the Smartphone War hands down simply due to its willingness to support Flash. In response, Steve Jobs published an open letter outlining the problems with Flash, especially when it came to mobile devices; namely that it was too inflexible (due to being entirely proprietary and controlled by Adobe, unlike most other web standards) and power hungry. Sure enough, Adobe ran into the same problems that Jobs had mentioned when they tried to implement Flash on Android, and eventually gave up on Flash on mobile completely after just a few years, vindicating Apple and Jobs in the process. The rise of smartphones in The New '10s was a major contributor Flash's eventual retirement at the end of 2020, alongside its numerous performance and security issues.
  • Thomas Edison:
    • He once said the phonograph was "a mere toy, it has no commercial value." But he also admitted it was one of his personal favorite inventions. Interestingly enough, he would then go on to say that there was no way that radio would ever replace phonographs. His insistence on continuing to focus on phonograph production (which were expensive) over radios (which were relatively cheap) was what ended up causing Edison Records to ultimately go under.
    • Edison was, later in life, phenominally uninterested in running the part of his company that produced electric lights and motors, thinking such things wouldn't be as valuable as phonographs. So he sold his shares to an employee. The company's name? General Electric.
  • During the HD-DVD vs Blu Ray war, the writers at Cracked said "HD-DVD format will win this format war handily. congratulations HD-DVD!"— but it was a comedic article, basing its choice on what format had the least stupid name.
  • "TV will never be a serious competitor for radio because people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it." from the New York Times, 1939. Perfectly logical, but completely wrong.
    • The television was deemed an "idiot's" machine when it was released by most people, and that it was a crap idea. People mocked it with one of the most quoted phrases being: "The television is a radio with pictures. Why even bother? In another 5 years, no one will even remember the television." Guess what became the most popular electronic just 20 years later?
  • The phone, of all things, was mocked by most people when the idea was presented back in the day. Theodore Roosevelt Sr. (father of the president), of all people, is noted as having thought Alexander Graham Bell's telephone was an interesting toy but had no future.
    • Texting. There was a time when people thought, "Why would I want to spend more time typing a message to a friend when I can just talk directly?" These days, it'd be more like, "Why would I want to spend more time talking to a friend, possibly interrupting them at an inopportune moment, when I can just send a text?"
  • E-readers. Most people thought that paper books would still be the preferred method of reading when the Sony E-reader, Amazon Kindle, and later the Barnes and Noble Nook were released, respectively; and Borders was so insistent the technology had no market that they refused to release one as these units began to sell, up until it was too late for them catch up. To date, millions of E-readers and E-books have been sold from Sony, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and Borders filed for bankruptcy in late 2011note .
  • David Sarnoff wanted people to invest in radio in the 1920′s. Their response?
    “No imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?“
  • US President William McKinley died when he was shot at the Pan-American Exposition. Surgeons refused to use the newfangled x-ray machine exhibited there to find the bullet (they didn't know the long term effects), and had to operate with only reflected sunlight for visibility due to the inability to use candles (as their anesthetic was flammable), despite electric lights being everywhere at the fair.
  • An unidentified Boston newspaper said in 1865 "it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires as may be done with dots and dashes of Morse code, and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value."
  • Videophones have proven to be a huge subversion of I Want My Jetpack. Not so long ago, they were placed alongside flying cars and robotic maids in the "things silly 1960s people predicted we'd have in the future" category. Now we have webcams, camera phones, and numerous other devices which are essentially videophones. They have also proven to not be the complete replacements for audio-only phones people thought they would be; for various reasons both technical (e.g. the much greater bandwidth required to do proper video) and cultural (e.g. the fact that nobody wants to be on videophone in their pajamas, while people regularly take audio-only phone calls in all kinds of odd situations, assuming that they don't simply text each other instead) they are generally reserved for situations where the video call was pre-planned. Videophones are especially popular with Japanese and Koreans whose culture demands that conversation be held eye-to-eye, and thus they are basically the earliest of early adopters of videophones. Videoconferencing was also more widely adopted in the West during the COVID-19 Pandemic, for similar reasons, as people could have eye contact with loved ones and business associates while maintaining physical distancing.
  • In 1977, President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the roof of the White House as a way of encouraging energy conservation through the 1970s' energy crisis, prompting much ridicule. His successor Ronald Reagan had the panels removed during his presidency. But by the 2000s, oil prices reached record highs and given greater concern about climate change, alternative energy became more favorable. President George W. Bush installed a new set of solar panels on the White House in 2003, and President Barack Obama added more in 2013.
  • After the home video market emerged in the 1980s, Blockbuster Video was the video rental store, all but holding a monopoly on the market. In 2000, entrepreneur Reed Hastings came to them with a proposal, having recently created a service that mailed DVDs directly to people's homes, he offered to set up a partnership in which he handled such a service for Blockbuster, and was laughed out of the room. He started the service as Netflix and it became a huge hit. Blockbuster attempted to copy Netflix's business model by offering DVDs by mail and eliminating late fees, but it was too little, too late, and Netflix's brand identity was too strong to overcome. Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010, closed all but about 40 locations between the US and Australia in 2013, and, by 2019, had closed all of them except for a single one that was maintained mostly as a historical relic than anything. Meanwhile, Netflix would adapt to changing times by The New '10s by transitioning to video streaming, attracting the general public, rivaling the likes of HBO and AMC as amongst the most important players in original programming, and ultimately ended up as one of the most important entertainment industries of the decade.
  • Remember Motorola? It was once a giant in the telephone business and even led the way when cell phones took off. However, during the rise of digital receivers and transmitters, Motorola stuck to keeping everything analog, figuring there was no need to throw away the extensive and fully-functioning analog infrastructure already in place and that customers would not be interested in paying more simply to get a clearer signal. The result was that Motorola fizzled out as a company before smartphones even existed, being forced to split into Motorola Solutions (which makes walkie-talkies, video security, and such) and Motorola Mobility (which makes smartphones, after being purchased first by Google and then by Lenovo).
  • The Roland TB-303 bassline synthesizer was practically stillborn. When it came out in late 1981, it seemed quite underwhelming and outdated with only one single oscillator, limited envelopes and no patch memory. It was mostly intended to be a rehearsal companion for guitar players, but still. Its VAT was $400. When it was phased out in early 1984, the store price was down to $100, or if you bought a Roland drum machine, you got a free 303. On the second-hand market, it was worth $50 or even less, so many ended up on landfills because trying to sell them wasn't worth the effort, and many of those that survived spent some time at thrift stores.
    In 1987 when analog synthesizers had been declared a dying species altogether, along came acid house that made a lot of use of the 303. Suddenly, everyone and their dog wanted to sound like that and therefore wanted a 303. Before you knew it, this little silver box was a Cult Classic, and second-hand units sold for $2,000 and more. It is now one of the most often cloned vintage synthesizers ever along with the Minimoog.
  • A similar case is the TR-808, released a year later. At the time, it was derided for not sounding "realistic," as it used analog synthesis to generate its sounds, while the most popular drum machine at the time, the Linn Drum, used digital samples. Its price fell dramatically, which meant it could reach a new audience: the burgeoning genre of Hip-Hop. The 808's boomy kick drum and dry upper end fit perfectly with the vocal power of rap, and the device was rugged enough to be used in in streets and block parties. As Hip-Hop's popularity rose, the TR-808 kept getting more usage, until it had become one of the most sought-after piece of gear in music production. The 808 is now rightfully considered the Stratocaster of drum machines, and is still widely used by most contemporary artists. In contrast, while the Linn Drum isn't considered bad gear by any measure, it is almost exclusively used by musicians who want to emulate 80s music, as it has not aged nearly as well as its original rival.

    Fashion and Apparel 
  • During the mid-Victorian era, many fashionable men at the time would scoff off at the ditto suit, a kind of three-piece suit that has a matching fabric and color, which was considered informal and unsuitable for day wear. Men loved it for its economic design and many more eventually gave in.
  • In the spring of 1947, a rising couturier named Christian Dior launched his first line of clothing that was untypical and different from the silhouette used During the War. Some said that it was a waste of money and fabric due to wartime rationing, not to mention the corsetting, full skirt, and high heels made it uncomfortable to wear with. Women immediately adored it and Dior's silhouette lingered on during The '50s.
  • "Not one man I have spoken to likes a woman in mini skirts." – Coco Chanel, 1969. This coming from a fashion icon who revolutionized modern fashion. She also frowned upon women wearing trousers on everyday wear, because before closing and reopening her shop, pants for women were considered sportswear and negligee. This would bite her at the end of her life because these were essential articles to her suits.
    • Chanel herself had been ridiculed during her early career as her designs were considered plain at best and boring at worst by fashionistas at the time. By the end of World War I, all things bold, theatrical, and flashy, like couturier Paul Poiret's were thrown into the bin, and all eyes were now turned to Chanel, who, up to this day, is admired for her simplicity, sophistication, and innovation. A chance meeting with Poiret serves this statement:
    Poiret: To whom are you mourning, madame?
    Chanel: To you, monsieur.
    • Chanel had been ridiculed the second time when she reopened her fashion house in 1954. Competing against Christian Dior's ultra-feminine New Look silhouette, when her designs consisting of streamlined, knee-length, black-and-white tweed suits were presented in Paris, the critics ruthlessly panned it for being too plain and avant-garde. Not to mention that Parisians were not too fond of Chanel for "sleeping with the enemy." during World War II. Despite all of the criticism, British and American journalists loved the designs, and it became the silhouette for the rest of the 1950s and of the early 1960s.
  • When Wunderkind designer Yves Saint Laurent took over Christian Dior's fashion house the age of 21, his first collection was declared a triumph. However, in subsequent collections the young designer moved away from Dior's signature look in favor of more mod, Beatnik inspired looks that were panned. Most of Dior's clients were older and couldn't pull off Saint Laurent's styles and he was let go after being conscripted into the army note . He and his partner sued The House of Dior's owner and won. Saint Laurent opened his own house in 1961 and his mod designs such as The Mondrian Color Block Dress and the Le Smoking women's tuxedo came to define The '60s in the way his mentor Dior's had done for The '50s. He was also the first Parisian designer to release a ready-to-wear collection, which was dismissed at the time by fashion purists, but was a spectacular success and most other houses quickly followed.
  • Many people during the late 1910s-early 1920s had thought that the "bob" was merely passé before 1924 would end. By 1924, millions of young women had adopted the hairstyle in different variations, and it remained short for the rest of the decade, and the decade after that. And it came back in the 1960s, along with miniskirts.

    Films — Animation 
  • This has happened with various revolutions in filmmaking – firstly with audio, then color, then special effects, and most recently 3D.
  • Walt Disney was rejected by MGM CEO Louis B. Mayer because his concept of a big, talking mouse might scare pregnant women. While The Walt Disney Company is now a huge enterprise, MGM is still around but is not as big of a player in the film industry as it used to be.
  • Disney had to fight to get Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs produced. Both his brother and business partner Roy Disney and his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it, telling him that "nobody wants to watch a movie about dwarfs", since at the time, dwarfs were mostly associated with carnival freakshows. The Hollywood movie industry referred to the film derisively as "Disney's Folly" while it was in production, since at the time the only other feature-length animated films were commercial flops and/or had not been released in the US, and Snow White was monstrously expensive – the film's cost overran the expected budget by 400% and production incurred debts that were, at the time, higher than the total value of Disney's studio. In the end though, Snow White ended up becoming a huge success and paved the way for Disney's animated canon.
  • Walt himself tried to avert this with the vultures from The Jungle Book (1967). Hence, the vultures, despite talking like The Beatles, sing like a barbershop quartet instead of a rock band. Suffice it to say that a Beatles-style number would have aged far better, but considering that barbershop dates back to the early 1880s while the Beatles were still a fairly new fad, it's hard to fault Walt on this example.
  • After Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, two films started being produced at Walt Disney Feature Animation. Most of the A-list animators went to Pocahontas, believing it would be a critical/box office/award-sweeping hit like Beast was... instead this status ended up happening to the other movie, The Lion King, while Pocahontas had a mixed reception.
  • Another Disney miss: 3D animation in general, up to and including firing people like John Lasseter. Said people went on to found Pixar (funded by Steve Jobs), and the rest is history.
  • When The LEGO Movie was first announced, people everywhere said it was the stupidest idea they'd ever heard. Guess what became the biggest surprise hit of the 1st quarter of 2014? It ended up getting nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song for "Everything Is Awesome" (despite a much-mocked snub for a Best Animated Feature nom), got a sequel in 2019, and has received two Spin-Off films as of this writing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Going back to the very invention of cinema as a concept, Thomas Edison patented the Kinetograph, which made motion pictures possible. However, he scoffed at the idea of projecting the images onto a large screen to show to an audience in a theater. This is because he preferred to sell his Kinetoscope, which played very short moving pictures for one person at a time, for a steady stream of revenue. Needless to say, Edison was not on the money with this one, as cinemas soon became the preferred way of watching motion pictures for well over a century and remain in place even with streaming services taking up a lot of the viewing market.
  • Before making Citizen Kane, Orson Welles wanted to make a movie out of The Smiler With the Knife, a comedic thriller. The studio turned him down flat because the actress he had chosen for the lead was thought to be a B-actress with no comedic talent. The actress's name? Lucille Ball.
  • Michael Eisner, CEO of The Walt Disney Company at the time, remarked in response to an early preview of Johnny Depp's portrayal of (Captain) Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, "He's ruining the movie!". Depp was nominated for an Oscar for that role. Eisner had several moments like this, and that's the primary reason he's no longer the CEO.
    • In a way, Depp did ruin what the movie was supposed to be – a story of Will Turner and Elisabeth Swan. Depp hijacked the movie... And the rest is amazing history.
  • "No Civil War picture ever made a nickel!" — Irving Thalberg to Louis B. Mayer on Gone with the Wind, which ended up making over 4 billion of them, before inflation.
    • Gary Cooper also turned down the lead role of Rhett Butler in the film, allowing Clark Gable to have it: "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face, and not Gary Cooper."
    • The fact that The Birth of a Nation (1915), a civil war film that debuted 20 years earlier, was the first 'blockbuster' in History makes Mayer's belief particularly strange.
  • While the Lumière brothers are often credited with being the first filmmakers, they themselves claimed: "the cinema is an invention without any future". The Horrible Histories spinoff The Knowledge parodied this with a drawing of the Lumières looking at a shop window advertising their "New! Sliced bread!" and saying It Will Never Catch On.
  • In the late 1920s, many who worked in show business thought that sound film was nothing but a fad and would never work. Silent movie acting was a finely crafted artform by that point, and the inclusion of sound meant that everyone basically had to start over from scratch. Also, movie cameras were considered very noisy – to simultaneously record sound, the camera had to be enclosed in a soundproofing box, which made panning and dolly shots impossible. H. M. Warner, who owned Warner Bros., famously said "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? The music—that's the big plus about this", as if to say that talkies were doomed to being a fad. In the end, talkies would dominate the film industry for years to come. As for Warner Bros.? They ended up releasing The Jazz Singer, the first talkie to be a major hit.
  • Heather Graham's role in The Hangover was supposed to go to Lindsay Lohan, but Lohan turned down the role because she thought it would flop. The film ended up being a box office smash hit.
  • Jack Nicholson in his first Oscar acceptance speech: "And last, but not least, my agent, who about ten years ago advised me that I had no business being an actor. Thank you."
  • George Lucas had this really stupid idea for a space movie, which most studios passed on, and the executives at 20th Century Fox were this close to pulling the plug to avoid losing money.
    • Steven Spielberg claims that when Lucas showed an early version of Star Wars to a roomful of friends, Spielberg himself was the only one who thought it had any potential. In fact, Lucas was so convinced that Star Wars would bomb at the box office he made a wager with Spielberg that if Spielberg's film Close Encounters of the Third Kind grossed more at the box office, Lucas would receive 2.5 percent of the film's box office gross, and vice versa for Spielberg if Star Wars grossed more. To this day, Spielberg is still receiving a new cheque every year.
      • Spielberg could relate: his own film, Jaws, faced a similar battle against the execs, this time regarding Spielberg's insistence on releasing the film nationwide (until 1978, the standard practice was to release films first in major cities). Incidentally, both films were what helped jump-start The Blockbuster Age of Hollywood.
      • Ironically, when Lucas showed a later cut to the Fox board of directors, the very people who gave him so many problems during production, they loved it.
    • Doubly amusing about this is that 20th Century Fox had their hopes set on a cheesy B-movie they produced titled Damnation Alley which had a larger budget and better marketing. Today, Star Wars is one of the most well-known movies in the world and only people who want to see Hannibal, Stringfellow Hawke and Rorshach in the same movie have an interest in Damnation Alley.
    • Due to theater owners' reluctance to screen Star Wars at the time, 20th Century Fox threatened to withhold screening rights to the highly-anticipated period drama The Other Side of Midnight, based on the best-selling novel by Sidney Sheldon, unless they also booked Star Wars. Ultimately, The Other Side of Midnight made only a tenth of what Star Wars made from 1977 to 1979. And to think that The Other Side of Midnight was full of sex and nudity...
    • Another twist: Fox gave Lucas the merchandising rights to his movie because, well, the rights to making odd posters and tie-in books weren't worth much. This movie became the reason you can get everything from action figures to promotional toothbrushes now, an industry that can bring in more money for production than the film itself (as well as why no other director got a similar merchandising deal ever again).
      • On top of that, Kenner was the only toy company that made a licensing agreement with Lucasfilm. Their product line for Star Wars was extremely limited until the film became a surprise hit. Because of that, they were completely off-guard to fulfill orders for Christmas and had to do an "empty box" campaign in which they mailed action figures from purchase vouchers.
    • In an interview, Mark Hamill shared an anecdote about sitting in a movie theater and watching a preview for the first Star Wars film. After the thunderous John Williams score died down and the announcer told viewers, "Coming soon...," a heckler in the audience shouted back, "Yeah, to late night television in about a month!" Heh, don't bet on it!
    • Even after the smash success of Star Wars, Irvin Kershner had doubts when Lucas asked him to direct the sequel, thinking it would only be known as "the second one."
    • At the time, it was so controversial that A New Hope didn't have opening credits. The Directors Guild of America let it slide in ANH because (A) they thought the movie would bomb, and (B) Lucas was keeping himself out of the credits (the Guild's main issue with no credits was the director would not be credited). It obviously didn't, but when Lucas did it again in The Empire Strikes Back, he got issued a hefty fine by the DGA, which he paid before leaving. Today, so many filmmakers forgo opening titles and credits that now, it seems like the DGA overreacted.
  • Early plans for The Film of the Book Twilight were not accurate to the book, it was far more action-y because it was believed that a film so heavily geared toward girls wouldn't be successful. They ended up sticking to a script more faithful to the book, and considering how much money they made from that (not to mention the merchandise, at the height of Twilight's popularity, you could find anything from clothing to bedsets to band-aids with the characters' faces on them) they probably didn't regret that decision.
  • Back in the 1950s, critics in Japan panned a monster movie named Gojira, claiming that it would never be popular. Now that film is regarded as one of the all-time greats of Japanese cinema, and twenty-seven sequels, two cartoons, two American adaptations, an assortment of toy lines, and multiple comic book series later, you've got not only the longest-running film series in history, but one of the biggest franchises ever. And even then, when the decision was made to export the film outside of Japan, critics had similar thoughts — Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956), the U.S. adaptation of Gojira, "an incredibly awful film" in his review, proceeding to tear the film apart for being similar to King Kong and saying that it was "too bad that a respectable theater has to lure children and gullible grown-ups with such fare". Nevertheless, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! succeeded as well, grossing up to $2 million in the United States alone and kickstarting the global popularity of Godzilla, and while Godzilla, King of the Monsters! and the original Gojira continue to be popular with fans and critics alike today and the former even has a release by The Criterion Collection, most of the foreign-language films Bosley championed are rather unknown in comparison.
  • Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were given a rather low budget for a little spy film starring an ex-bodybuilder, who nobody thought would be a hit...
    • When he became James Bond, George Lazenby had a seven-movie deal. His agent convinced him to stop after one since said agent believed that spy movies were becoming outdated (as a side-note, Lazenby fired his agent after a string of flops in various hippy movies that his agent believed were going to be the next big thing).
    • Similarly, DC Comics did not make a Bond comic because they did not know if the series would still be popular without Sean Connery.
  • A talent agent early in his career said of Fred Astaire, "Can't sing, can't act, slightly bald – can dance a little." Astaire had that talent agent's report framed and put over the fireplace in his mansion.
  • Subversion: The head of MGM showed M to his writers and directors and asked why the hell they weren't making movies like that... but also admitted that, if somebody had pitched M to him, he would've turned it down.
  • Back to the Future was passed on by practically all the major studios for not having raunchy enough humor note , while Disney passed it on for being too raunchy by their standards note . It was only after the box office success of Romancing the Stone that Amblin Entertainment started expressing hope in Robert Zemeckis' and Bob Gale's science fiction comedy...which would later become the highest-grossing movie of its year.
    • One executive, in particular, was quoted by the film's producers as saying "Time travel movies don't work. They just don't work."
  • As Dennis Hopper's wife was driving him to the airport, where he would fly to Louisiana and shoot Easy Rider, she said the film would bomb and he'd become a mockery. He replied by asking for divorce... and when settling the terms, she only didn't ask half his winnings from Easy Rider because Hopper was so drugged and paranoid those days that she thought he'd kill her.
  • According to Word Of God, throughout the development of Halloween (1978), they were told the movie would never catch on; that it was "disgusting," "not scary," and it was "pretentious to assume it would do well." It ended up becoming the most successful independent film of all time.
  • In his autobiography, Jackie Chan says that the first director he worked under discouraged him from doing action comedies and actively blocked the release of the first couple of films that Jackie made.
  • In one of his interviews, Arnold Schwarzenegger had told the audience that when he first voiced his desire to be a Hollywood actor people told him he would not catch on because of his hard-to-spell-read-and-pronounce-last-name, and because of his Austrian accent. On his first feature film Hercules in New York he was credited as "Arnold Strong" and his lines were dubbed over. But once he got the chance, he got to define the action star stereotype, people had begun to expect buffed-up men to have Austrian accents, and his name has become anything but forgettable—so unforgettable that people voted for him to be the Governator of California!
    • Schwarzenegger himself fell into this trope. While filming Conan the Barbarian, an interviewer asked what his next project was. His response: "Some shit movie about robots."
  • After the film Manhunter flopped at the box office, producer/distributor Dino De Laurentiis sold the rights to make the sequel for a small price, fearing a similar outcome. After said sequel actually came out, he spent much more money buying the rights back for the rest of the franchise.
  • Planet of the Apes got this repeatedly before Fox okayed the idea. And adequately, to offset the living hell the film's producer had doing what the studio hoped would be a huge success, Doctor Dolittle
  • Columbia Pictures was furious when Steven Spielberg turned what they expected to be a Spiritual Sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind into "a wimpy Walt Disney movie" about a little boy that befriended an extraterrestrial. They sold the rights to MCA for $1M and retained only 5% of the film's net profits. That year, Columbia made more money with that 5% of the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial box office than with all of their produced films put together.
    • They weren't the only ones that passed up a good deal. When the script called for the use of M&Ms, Mars flat out rejected the use of their candy-coated chocolates, stating that they did not want their product to be associated with what they perceived as a grotesque creature. Hershey offered their newer product, Reese's Pieces, in place of M&Ms. The result: a 65% profit increase after their candies were prominently featured in a movie which even today is universally acclaimed.
  • United Artists executives were not keen on casting a little-known actor for the boxing movie he wrote, but the producers insisted on it. The studio ultimately agreed to make Rocky with him (after reducing its budget), because they had Martin Scorsese's New York, New York in production, and they were so confident in that movie they assumed they could write off the losses from this risky undertaking easily. Quoted one former vice president: "Rocky wound up paying for whatever losses we had on New York, New York."
  • As shown in The Disaster Artist, nearly every cast and crew member of The Room, aside from Tommy Wiseau, believed that the film would never see the light of day. This attitude eventually contributed to professionalism on the set falling apart as production dragged on. Also, Tommy's on-set treatment of the cast and crew lead to two directors of photography quitting, bringing practically the entire crew with them on both occasions, which nearly ensured the film would never be finished. Greg Sestero thought that even if the film was completed, it'd be direct-to-video anyway. Tommy held eternal optimism that his film would be universally loved and a box office smash, discussed for years to come. If you are at all familiar with the film, you'd know that Tommy succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
  • In an interview, Hugh Jackman mentioned that he sang "Stars" from Les Misérables for his audition as Gaston in the Beauty and the Beast musical. The person in the charge of the audition told him that he would never be in Les Mis. Then, Jackman was in the movie version of the musical (as Jean Valjean, not Javert which went to his best mate, Russell Crowe) and got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
    • While on the subject of Hugh Jackman, many people thought he was a terrible choice to play Wolverine, and that the film itself was doomed to failure due to having a director not known for action movies, as well as massive amounts of backlash from the fans over the casting choices and lack of costumes. X-Men was such a surprise hit that not even Marvel bothered to do much to cash in on the film, leading to Bob Harras being fired from his position as Editor in Chief.
  • Michael Bay was working as an intern at Lucasfilm and thought Raiders of the Lost Ark would stink. He ate his words when he saw the final film, and watching it even inspired him to get into film-making.
  • Norma Jean Baker was told by a modeling agent to consider secretarial work rather than modeling or acting.
  • In January 2014, Forbes contributor John Furrier wrote an article claiming that the biggest flops of 2014 would be Godzilla, RoboCop, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The box office results thoroughly disagree with Mr. Furrier. (RoboCop being saved through worldwide grosses.)
    • A lot of people felt both Godzilla and Guardians of the Galaxy would be flops – Godzilla due to fears of it flopping as bad as Godzilla (1998) and Guardians of the Galaxy being a massive untested franchise (many critics felt that, if Guardians failed, it would utterly derail Marvel movies). The Continuity Reboot of Godzilla ended being a surprise critical and commercial success, and Guardians of the Galaxy ended up being the biggest domestic hit of the summer of 2014, setting a new August record at the box office.
    • Amanda Seyfried also turned down the role of Gamora because she thought the movie would bomb.
  • Iron Man 2 writer Justin Theroux said he told Kevin Feige that he wasn't sure if The Avengers would work, as he didn't know if it was a good idea to team Iron Man up with a bunch of other comic book heroes.
  • For years, former Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter argued that there would be no money in a Black Panther movie, due to his racist belief that audiences would not be interested in a black superhero. When the Black Panther movie was finally made years later (after a restructuring of Marvel Studios gave Kevin Feige greater control and largely locked out Perlmutter), it ended up being the highest-grossing solo film of the entire MCU, as well as one of the most successful movies of all time.
    • Perlmutter had similar reservations about Captain Marvel, claiming that female leads in superhero movies were box-office poison. Once again, the box office success of the Captain Marvel movie suggests otherwise.
  • TRON pioneered the use of CGI, but was refused a nomination for Best Visual Effects by the Academy Awards because they believed the use of computers was "cheating". CGI has since become an integral part of visual effects.
  • 20th Century Fox, for the longest time, was unwilling to make a Deadpool movie because notorious micromanager Tom Rothman (who infamously mandated the In Name Only take on Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and whose last greenlit superhero movie for Fox was Fant4stic) felt the character wouldn't click with audiences. Ultimately, after Rothman left, and after test footage was leaked, the film was officially greenlit, and ultimately became a huge hit, making more money in its opening weekend alone than Fant4stic's entire theatrical run.
  • For Independence Day, Dean Devlin wanted to cast his high school friend Kevin Spacey as President Whitmore. However, Fox refused, thinking he didn't have the potential to be a big star. Spacey already won an Oscar for The Usual Suspects by the time Independence Day came out.
  • When Paul Rudd told his nine-year-old son that he was going to play Ant-Man, he was told: "I can't wait to see how stupid that will be." The film ended up being a surprise hit, doing fairly well with critics and doing better at the box office than Fantastic Four (2015), leading to the character being given more presence in future Marvel films (such as a well-received appearance in Captain America: Civil War the following year and a sequel in 2018).
  • Bruce Willis turned down the male lead in Ghost (1990) because he thought the film would flop. He freely admitted that wasn't the smartest move of his career. His then-wife Demi Moore had no such fears.
  • In his 1993 review of the film, Washington Post film critic Desson Howe recommended Groundhog Day but tempered his praise by stating that it would "never be designated a national film treasure by the Library of Congress"; in 2006 the movie was designated a national film treasure by the Library of Congress.
  • Dirty Dancing was hated by executives, producers, and test audiences. The studio expected a flop and made preparations to screen it for a single weekend before pulling out of theatres and releasing it on home video. Producer Aaron Russo suggested to "burn the negative, and collect the insurance" after watching it. What they got was a box office break both domestically and abroad, the first position in video rentals the next year, and even one Oscar win for best song. The reason for this discrepancy was that the movie was made with teenagers in mind, and the studio was right when they expected it to underperform with teenagers. What they did not see coming at all was that it was going to be a massive hit among adults, and especially among adult women.
  • When Universal Pictures was looking to reboot their Universal Horror franchise, they passed on Guillermo del Toro's pitch for a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon. Del Toro eventually refined his pitch into a standalone movie called The Shape of Water, which went on to become not only a hit with critics and the box office, but won Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards, whilst The Mummy (2017), intended by Universal to be the start of a much-ballyhooed Dark Universe, ended up as a Box Office Bomb.
  • When Universal Pictures first began developing a live-action adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics series Howard the Duck in the 1980s, artist Frank Brunner (who drew Howard the Duck at the time) tried to convince Universal that it would be a horrible idea to put a live actor in an anthropomorphic duck costume, since it would inevitably just look creepy. He tried to sell them on a different idea: rendering Howard in hand-drawn cel animation, but having him interact with live actors. Universal was convinced that it could never possibly work and that making a movie with both live actors and animated characters was effectively impossible. Then Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out — just two years after Howard the Duck. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was hailed as an innovative masterpiece for its blending of animation and live-action, while Howard the Duck, while now a Cult Classic in a way, was panned as a disastrous mess for (among other things) the main character's unintentionally creepy costume.
  • When James Cameron pitched his idea for The Terminator to his agent, which was inspired by a nightmare he had, he was told to not pursue it. He fired his agent and did it anyway.
  • Will Smith turned down the role of Neo for The Matrix because The Wachowskis spent the entire pitch talking about the Bullet Time effects they were working on instead of the plot and Smith thought it was too gimmicky. Unlike other actors who passed on what would be huge roles, he later said he doesn't regret this decision, believing that he wasn't mature enough as an actor at the time and that he would have ruined the film.
  • Roger Ebert panned Stargate as a Cliché Storm (listing examples such as the snare-drum "military" music as Daniel arrives at headquarters) and placed it on his most hated film list. Cue the Stargate-verse and a successful TV series continuation.
    • He also hated Flashdance and also placed it on his most hated list. Cue the film making $201.5 million at the box office and becoming one of the most recognizable films of the 80's. Swing and a huge miss, Ebert.
    • Years later, he added Tommy Boy to the list, claiming no one in the film was funny and the script had no memorable lines. The film went on to be a modest hit (and would have done better had Paramount not botched the marketing and distribution) with an overwhelmingly positive audience reception, became one of the best selling video/DVD comedies of all time, and had several lines ("Holy schnikes!", "Fat guy in a little coat", etc.) become popular memes.
  • Halliwell's Film Guide described Dr. Who and the Daleks as "limply put together, and only for indulgent children", if not dismissing the Doctor Who franchise as a whole. The Doctor Who franchise is still going strong to this day, while Leslie Halliwell didn't get to live to see its fandom grow to millions as he died in 1989.
  • As related by The Movies That Made Us, the people making the original Friday the 13th apparently never thought anyone would ever see it, let alone that it would become such a huge franchise.
  • The Filmmaker's Exam, a late-90s joke exam which is failed if the aspiring filmmaker taking it answers "yes" to any question, opens with "Have you hired a professional wrestler to act in a starring role?". At the time the exam was created, using professional wrestlers in starring roles was seen as box-office poison. Within a decade, a few pro wrestlers like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena would go on to transition well into the world of acting, becoming popular stars in Hollywood and breaking box office records.
  • Donald Sutherland was utterly convinced Animal House was going to completely flop. Offered a percent gross of the film's profits, Sutherland turned it down and took a 75 grand flat fee for his work on the movie. This decision cost him millions, as Animal House would turn out to be a smash hit at the box office. He often cites it as the biggest blunder he's ever made.

    Land and Water Transportation 
  • Volkswagen got a lot of this after the war from Ford, the Rootes Group, and a bunch of other companies from France, Britain and the United States, who all thought that the beetle-shaped "people's car" would never see the light of mass production. Sir William Rootes himself reckoned that it would fail in just two years. The Volkswagen Beetle would become one of the most iconic cars of all time, with 21,529,464 units produced from 1938–2003; while The Rootes Group was sold to Chrysler in 1967, and then to Peugeot in 1978.
  • General Motors executives once derided the Toyota Prius, thinking that the hybrid tech was too expensive to be profitable at the asking price Toyota set (about $20,000 to start), that it was too small for American tastes, and that the price of gas at the time (about $2 a gallon) was so low as to make any fuel savings moot. Fast forward years later: gas prices have risen repeatedly, Toyota have sold 6.1 million and counting Prius over four generations, and many carmakers have tried their hands at making equally-successful hybrid, alternative fuel and electric cars.
  • The man who invented traffic laws (William Phelps Eno) amusingly never drove a car himself. He assumed the automobile to just be a fad.
  • "You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense!"Napoléon Bonaparte to Robert Fulton, on the subject of steamships.
    • He wasn't the only one who didn't think much of the steamboat. Until it ultimately proved successful, it was widely known as "Fulton's Folly." Admittedly, it didn't take terribly long for it to become successful: Fulton made working prototypes throughout the 1780s and 90s, had a successful demonstrator by 1810, and had people suing each other over the right to use his technology by 1820.
      • Napolean and others weren't completely wrong. Combine a heavy and inefficient boiler prone to exploding without warning with an unreliable engine, a fragile drive system (paddle wheels can be taken out with one cannon shot), a dangerous fuel (coal dust and wood shavings can also go ka-boom without warning), a difficult to use fuel (it had to be hand shoveled into the boilers and the ash had to be dumped overboard by hand), and a wooden hull. That's a floating disaster area just waiting to happen. They didn't dismiss it out of hand because steam engines were already being used to pump water out of mines. The steam engines of the time simply weren't useful for much else.
  • Ernest Seton-Thompson's autobiography states that his father wanted to become an engineer for railroad construction. However:
    My grandfather's reply was simple and final: "All nothing but nonsense. The railways are a mere fad, and will soon be done away with. Yes, within three years; and then we shall be entirely back to the horses and coaches again."
  • When plans for the Shinkansen were being drawn out in the late 1950s, even people within the Japanese National Railways were unsure whether this new train line practically built from scratchnote  would be successful. Even the World Bank (who gave Japan credits for the capital costs) was skeptical insisting on a 210 km/h speed limit (which was raised as soon as Japan legally could). Given that this was around the time when Europe and America were ditching railways in favor of automobiles and airplanes, their doubt was somewhat understandable. Instead, it ushered in an era of global High Speed Rail expansion that seems to show no sign of slowing down as of the early 2020s.
  • In the 1850s, French businessman Ferdinand de Lesseps had a dream: to build a canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez, vastly reducing shipping times from Europe to India (good for the British), Southeast Asia (good for the French, British, and Dutch), and East Asia (good for everybody). He got the necessary approvals from the Egyptian government, but when he tried to sell shares in the company building the canal in Britain and France, nobody would buy them...the public didn't think it would work. So he sweet-talked the Egyptian government into borrowing more than it could afford to fund the scheme (which, combined with unsustainable loans Egypt had taken to fund pointless and ruinous wars with Ethiopia, is why Egypt ended up part of The British Empire thirty years later). Suffice it to say, the Suez Canal was a great success, doing everything de Lesseps promised and more; it remains one of the major money earners for modern Egypt (which nationalized the Canal in 1956).
    • He had another dream, to build a canal connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic somewhere in Panama. His attempt in the 1880s failed miserably due to difficult geography, tropical diseases, and corruption. The idea was completely discredited until Americans tried it only a decade and a half later and completed the canal in 1914, albeit with a major design innovation (a system of locks—something the Americans, who had a history with running canals with locks over rugged terrain, quickly seized on. Digging all the way to the sea level, as de Lesseps tried, probably is impractical given the terrain involved).
  • The Aircraft Carrier is a complicated example. There were a lot of people in the USN who thought that aircraft carriers, even if they couldn't replace battleships, were more than worth the price tag. However the American navy wasn't the forerunner of carrier technology, Japan and Britain were. Japan even failed to comprehend that aircraft carriers were the next step in naval evolution even when their own carriers were tearing up the Pacific. As a consequence, their carriers didn't receive much-needed upgrades because that would mean funding had to be diverted from battleships. And then Midway happened.
  • Though the first submarine was deployed in the American Revolution, up until the 20th Century, it was seen as Awesome, but Impractical. They were typically much more dangerous to the men operating them than to any enemy. Then, in the opening weeks of World War I, the German submarine U-9 sank three British warships in less than an hour. Having a submarine with 24 men take down three cruisers and 1500 enemy sailors proved hard to resist, and the Germans quickly capitalized on their success. Ironically, Germany had been the last major naval power to build a submarine.
  • Amtrak was created under Richard Nixon as a "last hurrah" of passenger rail travel in the US, to be shut down a few years down the line at the most. As of 2016, it is still going strong, carrying almost double the amount of ridership it had in the 1970s and even going toe to toe with the airlines along the Northeast Corridor, where it has something approaching High Speed Rail.
  • In the 1960s one Richard Beeching – then head of British Rail – believed that railroads were a thing of the past and people would soon all travel by automobile or airplane instead of the 19th-century technology that is the railway. Hence he proposed severe cuts to the rail network to keep the losses at bay. Fast forward fifty years and not only is National Rail handling more passengers than all private railroads combined ever in the history of Britain, but there is also very serious talk of expanding the network and Building High Speed Rail lines due to capacity constraints on virtually all main lines. And many stations and lines closed by the "Beeching Axe" are being reopened.
  • When French automaker Citroën unveiled the newfangled 2CV as the in the 1948 Paris Motor Show as the new people's car of Postwar France, the eccentric design became the butt of many jokes and quips, with one American critic remarking "Does it come with a can opener?". However, the practicality and durability of the 2CV made it an instant success nontheless, and the design also grew on the French people, eventually becoming one of the most iconic French cars of the 20th century, lasting in production all the way until 1990.
  • When Japanese automaker Subaru entered the US market by way of Philadelphia businessman Malcolm Bricklin in 1968, they made the Subaru 360 kei car their debut model for American consumers, marketed by Bricklin as "Cheap and Ugly". The model quickly gained a reputation for being unsafe and was gone from the U.S. market within two years. At that point, most people assumed Subaru would abandon the US market after the failure of the 360. Come a decade later, and Subaru is still in the US market, with a huge customer base that loves their range of cars with drive train, all-wheel drive and rough-road capabilities, especially in the winter weather-embattled Northeast.

  • Some believed that Twilight, with its Purple Prose, would never catch on. Then again, the style of books that it was a part of ("Sexy vampire dudes seducing Hollywood Homely women and getting away with it", nowadays called Vampire or Gothic Romance) had been on-and-off popular for about forty years, so it might have been the case of Twilight being published at just the right time.
  • The first Harry Potter book was turned down by three publishers who thought it was too long for children. Not only did the novels go on to become the best-selling book series of all time, but the first installment ended up being the SHORTEST one in the series.
  • "If you believe it is a work of genius, then you may lose a thousand pounds." — Stanley Unwin, permitting to publish a work that everyone in the publishing house feared would lose money. Even Stanley's son Rayner feared it would lose money — but he wanted to publish The Lord of the Rings anyway.
  • Anne Frank thought her diary would never interest someone. It was also rejected by 15 publishers before Doubleday accepted it.
  • The Marquise of Sévigné wrote "Racine would pass like the coffee", expressing her belief both would not have success.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune was rejected 20 times before being published — by Chilton, of the DIY car service manuals fame.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Daniel Handler thought the series was an awful idea, and when his editor said she liked it, he thought she was drunk.
  • Paris in the Twentieth Century. One of the reasons it was initially rejected for publication was that Jules Verne's predictions about the far-off future of 1960 were considered wildly implausible. He got a few things wrong, but the gist of the novel is either clearly correct (horseless carriages!) or correct if you're cynical (Corrupt Corporate Executives run the world!).
  • According to the intro in the book Freakonomics, the publishers of the book hated the name and wanted to change it, but the writers Steven and Stephen disagreed and insisted that the name stay. The book has since inspired a sequel, a blog, a radio show, and a consulting company. So successful was the book, that the publishing company begrudgingly let the sequel book be called "Super Freakonomics".
  • The Berenstain Bears almost didn't become a series. After their first book the Big Honey Hunt was completed in 1962, publishing editor, Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss), actually warned Stan and Jan Berenstain against doing any more books with the bears; he argued that the market was already saturated with too many bear characters like the Three Bears, Yogi Bear, Maurice Sendak's Little Bear, etc. The Berenstains initially agreed and came up with another book about a penguin titled Nothing Ever Happens At The South Pole. Ted changed his mind though when he learned that Honey Hunt was selling well according to his field agents and even had the initial print run raised. He asked the Berenstains for another bear book and the rest is history. The aforementioned penguin book was published around 2012, not long after Jan Berenstain's death.
  • Speaking of Dr. Seuss, he nearly didn't become an author. His first manuscript, originally titled A Story No One Can Beat, was shopped around to many publishers in 1936 and 1937. They all rejected Seuss, dismissing his manuscript because of its fantasy content, the lack of An Aesop, being written in verse and even because it might encourage children to lie to authority figures. Seuss was dejected and was planning to burn the manuscript when he ran into a friend, Mike McClintock, an editor at Vanguard Press. After meeting with McClintock and his superiors, Vanguard agreed to publish the book because the title was changed. That book became And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, which launched the career of Seuss.
  • Neil Gaiman started writing Coraline in 1991, until his publisher told him it was brilliant but that horror aimed at young children simply wasn't publishable.
    Gaiman: And before people start laughing at him, in 1991 he was absolutely right.

    Live Action TV 
  • When Bob Stewart created The Price Is Right in 1956, comedian Dick Van Dyke was asked to try out as host. He passed on it, saying there was no entertainment value in watching four people guess how much things cost. The job went to Bill Cullen, and the original lasted nine years; the CBS version is now in its 45th year.
  • A Disney casting director told Selena Gomez that she would never have her own show and that she "wasn't strong enough to be part of the Disney company".
  • An idea for a TV show was pitched to CBS, but a key executive hated it, saying it had no urban appeal. The first episode was sneaked onto the schedule while that exec was on vacation. He was angry when he came back to work and saw the show on the schedule, but he was helpless to do anything about it because that week's TV Guide had already been printed. That show became one of the biggest hits of its season.
  • Lewis Erlicht, president of ABC Entertainment, said in 1984 that TV comedy was "dead. Forever. Bury it." He also considered an educated, middle class, happy African-American family "unrealistic". As such, he rejected a stand-up comedian's pitch for a domestic sitcom. The show was eventually greenlit by Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, where it (The Cosby Show) became a ratings giant (one of three shows ever to rank #1 in the Neilsen ratings for five consecutive seasons), as well as setting the bar for both African-American roles on television and intelligent family-friendly comedy. In fact, as a result of the show's mega-popularity, many other NBC shows, a lot of them heretofore struggling to win viewership, became hugely popular in the Nielsen ratings as well. All of this gave NBC much needed revenue to avoid going bankrupt. ABC, for their part, saw many of their once mega-successful programs take a tremendous nosedive in the ratings, which in turn, led to a huge decline in revenue, causing the network to be bought out by a company only a tenth of their size, Capital Cities Communications. As a result of the missed opportunity for ABC caused by his poor judgment, Erlicht was abruptly and humiliatingly demoted to a position of senior vice president and head of the network's in-house production company, ABC Circle Films, and replaced by Brandon Stoddard, president of the network's former theatrical films division, ABC Motion Pictures.
  • In 1963, the producers of Doctor Who planned to do a serial featuring a certain race of mechanical aliens, but were bitterly resisted by higher-ups (including the show's primary developer, Sydney Newman), who thought the show worked best as a purely historical-style drama and thought including "bug-eyed monsters" would cheapen and ruin the format. The Daleks went on to become one of the most popular and instantly-recognized things about the show.
    • Forty-odd years later, certain people in the UK TV industry were skeptical about relaunching Who. It wasn't like families watched television together these days. Even Jane Tranter, who commissioned the relaunch, thought at the time it was probably the riskiest thing she'd ever commissioned. Her gamble paid off beyond her wildest dreams.
  • When Jeremy Clarkson was hired to present a BBC 2 show about metal boxes fighting each other, he clearly didn't think very highly of it and spent most of his screen time disparaging the contestants. When it proved a modest success, the show was renewed for a second series and Clarkson was replaced with Craig Charles. On his first day of filming, Charles watched a broken-down robot getting dragged into the arena and thought, "Oh my God, what have I done with my career?", but unlike Clarkson, he decided to make an honest go of it. Series 2 promptly exploded in popularity, and by the Grand Final, Robot Wars was the top-rated show on BBC 2 with seven million viewers. As for Clarkson? He had better luck with the Top Gear reboot, which was also hugely popular and spawned The Grand Tour once Clarkson and his co-hosts left.
  • Brandon Tartikoff reluctantly allowed Michael J. Fox to be cast as Alex Keaton in Family Ties, telling the show's creator, Gary David Goldberg, that "you'll never see Fox's face on a lunchbox". After that show (and Back to the Future) became hits, Fox sent Tartikoff a lunchbox with his face on it, along with an inscription that read:
    “To Brandon: This is for you to put your crow in. Love and Kisses, Michael J. Fox.”
    • Tartikoff kept Fox's lunchbox.
  • In the late 1960s, ABC considered extremely risky the very thought of a sitcom about a bigot and his hippie daughter and son-in-law in such turbulent times, even if it was based on a formula that had been proven in Britain. CBS had its' own doubts when it picked the show up, not guaranteeing that it would ever see the light of day. It did anyhow, and All in the Family became the #1 show on TV for five seasons.
  • Incredibly, this happened to Pat Sajak during his early days as host of Wheel of Fortune on NBC's daytime lineup, when he replaced Chuck Woolery when the latter left the show due to a salary dispute. Although Sajak was already employed by NBC as a meteorologist on their Los Angeles station, KNBC, then-NBC president and CEO Fred Silverman rejected his hiring for Wheel, claiming he was "too local." Wheel's creator, Merv Griffin, responded by imposing a moratorium on new episode tapings until Sajak was hired, but Silverman refused to budge. During the interim period between Sajak's recruitment and Woolery's final episode, however, Silverman (who, you might recall, was the center of the famous "Limo for the Lame-o" affair) was abruptly ousted at NBC for greenlighting one too many failures on the network's prime time lineup, as well as almost bankrupting the network by spending a ton of money to produce a whopping 150 hours of coverage for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, only to end up canceling said programming after Jimmy Carter pulled the U.S. team out of the event in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. His replacement, Grant Tinker, approved Sajak as host, and Sajak managed to go on unharmed, and he and hostess Vanna White continue to host the show to this day. Amusingly, Tinker previously knew Griffin when he worked at NBC as a junior assistant during the mid-1960s, and, in fact, had previously persuaded Mort Werner, NBC's then senior vice president for programming and talent, to green light Griffin's other best-known creation, Jeopardy!.
  • Patrick Stewart was so convinced that Star Trek: The Next Generation would fail that for the first six weeks of shooting he refused to unpack any of his suitcases.
  • This was the prevailing attitude towards Power Rangers, Haim Saban's idea for adapting action footage from Toei's Super Sentai shows for American audiences. It took him years to convince a network to give it a chance. It wasn't much of one, the show (which used footage and costumes from the recently-ended So Okay, It's Average Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger) was only set to run for one short season of forty episodes. But Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers proved to be a colossal hit, and Fox Kids extended and renewed the show at the last minute (literally — they had to hurriedly alter the intended finale and it shows). Additional action footage was commissioned from Toei, with the handful of leftover monster fights being used to fill the gap until the first reels of this arrived. Power Rangers endures to this day, and has been Uncanceled multiple times. As the original "Go Go Power Rangers" theme song says:
    No one will ever take them down... the power lies on their si-i-i-i-i-iiiide!
    • Of course, that's only considering when the damn thing finally got on the air. Saban had been attempting to adapt Sentai all the way back to Bioman, seven years prior. And it was by sheer chance that it even did get picked up. After being impressed by Toei's take on Spider-Man, Stan Lee wanted to bring Super Sentai to America. Lee had a dubbed pilot of Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan made and tasked executive Margaret Loesch with pitching the show to networks (HBO, then young and desperate for programming, was a potential home). Despite having a previous reputation for such programs as Muppet Babies, she was laughed out of buildings. Eventually, she gave up and Marvel gave back the Super Sentai adaptation rights back to Toei. Seven years later and now an executive at the fledgling Fox Kids Network (where she and Lee had teamed up again to give another rejected idea of theirs, an animated series based on the Marvel comic X-Men, a shot), Loesch meets a children's producer named Haim Saban. He demoed a few shows to Loesch from his European studio that failed to impress. She asks if he has something that's "new". Saban leaves and a few minutes comes back with a demo tape; he asks her not to laugh at it. Loesch jumps on it and gives the green light to produce the show. Even then the plug was almost pulled on Power Rangers before it even aired, but Loesch told her doubters at Fox that she had a back up if the show failed (and to convince the Fox affiliates to air the show, she cut a deal where they'd get a share of the profits from the toy sales; one can imagine they were happy to air the show once toys started flying off the shelves). The Nostalgia Critic admits that he thought this about Power Rangers... then goes on to add "And that's why I'm not in the stock market."
  • NBC said this when they were pitched an idea for a show about forensic scientists. They thought viewers would be intimidated by the science and not understand it enough. CBS picked it up and CSI and one of its spinoffs have both been the highest rated scripted show on TV at times.
  • Jerry Van Dyke was offered the lead in Gilligan's Island. He claimed it was the dumbest thing he ever read. He passed up this show for another sitcom called My Mother the Car. Remember that show?
  • In this Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast reunion, Sarah Michelle Gellar talks about when she first got cast as Buffy for the Pilot. She mentions that her friends thought the show would never last because it was to be a midseason replacement, it was adapted from an unpopular movie, and was going to air on a channel not very popular at the time.
  • This is discussed on the Cosmos reboot with Neil deGrasse Tyson, where scientists came up with spot-on hypothoses long before they had the capability of actually confirming them. For example, Albert Wegener figured out continental drift to explain the similarity of fossils across continents and how neatly South America's east coast fits Africa's west, but in his lifetime it made him a laughingstock. It wasn't until long after his death that Marie Tharp confirmed it while mapping sonar images of the seafloor. Similarly, there are several ideas (like the scientific method) that have been repeatedly discovered in different times and places.
  • Other than creator Robert Small, everybody at MTV believed that MTV Unplugged would fail, with the main arguments being that nobody would want to see mellowed-out folk/acoustic renditions of their favorite rock or pop songs and that such music clashed with MTV's flamboyant/rebellious style. Small fought tooth and nail for MTV's higher-ups to give him the money to produce even one "unplugged" show, and even then, he was given very little to work with. Sure enough, Unplugged immediately became one of MTV's most popular music shows, with groups/musicians ranging from Nirvana to LL Cool J doing shows, and Unplugged Version even becoming part of common music vernacular.
  • While filming a sketch for Monty Python's Flying Circus in Folkstone Harbor, John Cleese became seasick and threw up repeatedly. During the ride back, Graham Chapman said he should eat something, and Cleese replied that he fancied some cheese. They came across a chemist's shop, which Cleese wondered about asking for cheese there, and this eventually evolved into a sketch about someone asking for cheese in a cheese shop which had no cheese whatsoever. However, Cleese initially did not think the sketch was funny while writing it, despite Chapman's insistence. When it was presented to the other Pythons, they were equally unimpressed...until Michael Palin laughed so hard he fell out of his chair.
  • According to Tom Riccio in ESPN's 2016 documentary, O.J.: Made in America, O.J. said that Keeping Up with the Kardashians "wouldn't last two weeks".
  • Child actor Rider Strong was so convinced that he would become a star working opposite Julie Andrews on her sitcom Julie, that when it was canceled after only six episodes, he became so pessimistic that he was convinced that his next series gig, a children's sitcom, wouldn't make it past the pilot phase. That show: Boy Meets World, which ran for seven seasons and made Strong famous for playing Shawn Hunter.
  • There were once two brothers who pitched a paranormal mystery show to several cable networks, and every single one of them rejected it. The main reason? The execs thought it was impossible to have an adult, horror-themed show starring four kids as its lead characters, and it either had to focus on an adult detective character, or it had to be a children's series. Luckily, Netflix disagreed, and the show quickly became their biggest hit ever, earning four hugely popular seasons and becoming a generational touchstone much like the '80s movies that inspired it. Stranger things have happened.
  • Upon hearing a pitch on a high school chemistry teacher cooking meth after getting cancer, an executive called it "the single worst idea for a television show I've heard in my whole life". Six years later, Breaking Bad ended with one of the most watched series finales in cable television and recognition as one of the greatest dramas in television history.
  • Back in 2004, What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History lambasted the idea of AMC transitioning to making original series as it strayed far from its roots as a classic movie channel. One decade and a trio of smash hits later, guess who had the last laugh?
  • Sometime in the early 1990s, an American aspiring actor named Jason Geiger went to a talent agency for help with scoring his first role. An avid martial artist, Geiger hoped to put his skills to use in an action series with plenty of stunt work. His agent's first piece of advice to him was that he adopt a stage name since she thought "Jason" sounded too ordinary and whitebread for an action hero. The agent's advice seemed pretty ironic a few years later, when Geiger (professionally known as "Austin St. John" by then) actually did score his first major role—as Jason the Red Ranger on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • The premiere of a little Canadian sitcom called Schitt's Creek was met with dismissive reviews by most American critics in 2015, even though it starred comedy legends Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. It didn't help that it was on the obscure Pop TV in the US, a channel whose origins lay in the Prevue/TV Guide Channel, the old scrolling listings channel on cable systems. It went on to run for six seasons, become a Sleeper Hit and swept the 2020 Emmy Awards, with Eugene Levy, O'Hara, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy each winning acting trophies and the show itself winning multiple other awards including Best Comedy.
  • After a mini-Disaster Dominoes situation in 1989, WSVN-7 in Miami, the city's former NBC station, had been left to affiliate with Fox (and at the time, Fox was so tiny the station called themselves independent because, essentially, they were). Most people had expected WSVN — long mired in third place ratings-wise — to scrap their news operation, or else reduce it to only a 10 PM newscast as many independents ran at the time. Critics had a field day with their plans to instead expand their news to even more than they had going as an NBC station — the article linked predicted they would've gone to a movie-heavy format. That never happened — thanks to more appetite for news, and news director Joel Cheatwood's If It Bleeds, It Leads philosophy (driven by Miami's high levels of crime), WSVN soon saw their ratings skyrocket, and have placed number one in the ratings for years. WSVN's news — with crazy, violent stories, slick, dark 3D graphics, Scott Chapin's growly, overdramatic voiceovers, loud techno music, and the massive, monitor-covered "Newsplex" behind the anchors — began to be cloned, both within the Miami market and outside it. Fox themselves felt WSVN's influence first-hand — their stations and affiliates with news operations began going in WSVN's direction (emphasizing tabloid stories, flashy graphics and bold music), and even the early years of the infamous Fox News Channel owed more to WSVN's style than anything else.
  • A unique example espoused by its own creator: The [1] loved a little high school drama series by the name of Degrassi Junior High so much that the programming chief informed creator Linda Schuyler that they were moving the series to primetime. Schuyler disagreed, telling him that the series wouldn't succeed in that slot. She relented upon his insistence under the condition that the show be moved back to its original slot and not cancelled. The show's viewership increased by 40%, and the show became the highest-rated domestic drama in Canada, establishing Degrassi as a significant part of Canadian pop culture.
  • In 2009, Korean writer and director Hwang Dong-hyuk produced a script for his new drama series - only for studios to reject it for an entire decade. Due to his financial troubles, he even once had to cease writing and sell his $675 laptop. Eventually, in late 2021 Netflix gave his series a shot: and it ended up not only reaching #1 in 90 countries, but also became the most-watched show in Netflix history. Its name? Squid Game.
  • Ted Turner had a knack for making his critics eat their words — people kept predicting his "crazy ideas" (24-hour satellite-delivered television, a 24-hour news channel, a 24-hour animation network) would fail. He proved them wrong time and again.
  • In the book about the making of Iron Chef, both Iron Chefs Michiba and Sakai had said that the producers believed the show would only last six months, as an incentive for both of them to sign up. Try six years, becoming the Trope Codifier for Cooking Duel and a genre unto itself, with a few spinoffs and a reboot. (For the record, poor health eventually forced Michiba to retire, while Sakai stuck it out to the end and became King of Iron Chefs.
  • Yutaka Matsushige, who plays Goro Inokashira in Kodoku no Gurume, has admitted that he couldn't see why someone would watch a show that's nothing but his character eating food on TV when he was first offered the role.

  • Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter had a garage rock band named Darlin' with their friend Laurent Brancowitz. The band received a negative review by a critic from Melody Maker that their rock music was "a daft punky thrash". The magazine was right and their rock band fizzled, but the two decided that "Daft Punk" was A Good Name For a House band. As for Brancowitz? Instead of becoming The Pete Best of this situation, he co-founded the highly popular indie rock band Phoenix.
  • When The Avalanches were making their Since I Left You album, the group initially thought that no one would care about it. They were wrong.
  • Georges Bizet's last opera, Carmen, was hated by the critics and struggled commercially when first released in 1875, with the theater giving away tickets to improve attendance. Today, it is one of the world's most performed operas and an essential part of every opera performer's repertoire.
  • A review of UHF ended with: ""Weird Al" Yankovic, your fifteen minutes are up." He gets this every few years in the form of people being surprised that Weird Al is "back." Perhaps because people associate him with specific eras and genres of music he has parodied (mostly the 1980s). By now, people have figured out that parody adapts. He has been supposedly quoted as saying (Paraphrased) "I have been making albums consistently for several years, and each one is called 'Weird Al's comeback'. Comeback? I never went anywhere!" Especially when he was getting started, because it was a novelty act, no one expected him to last. Capitol Records, in particular, had him pegged as a one-hit-wonder and refused to listen to any songs he made after "My Bologna", forcing him to leave Capitol Records for Scotti Bros, and at one of his first paying gigs, the audience began booing and throwing things at him as soon as they saw his accordion.
    • Speaking of Weird Al, his song "Dare to be Stupid" was included in the soundtrack for The Transformers: The Movie, which was mostly made up of hard rock, metal and synth-heavy songs. Rock and metal were at the height of their popularity at the time: Weird Al stuck out like a sore thumb with his wacky Devo pastiche, and was seen as just a flash-in-the-pan comedy artist. However, his career went on for more than three decades since then, he's considered the most influential artist in the genre of music parody, while many of the artists featured in the soundtrack were either totally forgotten or forever linked to that one song of theirs (Stan Bush, Lion).
  • In 1954, Elvis Presley was auditioning for a musician called Eddie Bond. Bond said to him: "Stick to driving a truck, because you'll never make it as a singer." Elvis recorded his first hit a few months later.
  • Rock and roll music, in general, got this at first. Many record labels in the early days of rock and roll objected to signing rock acts for two reasons: (1) they didn't see rock as being as civilized of music as classical music and big band music like Sinatra, and (2) they thought there was no chance of rock and roll ever being commercially successful on the levels of the aforementioned styles. Cutting forward to the present day, big band music is mostly relegated to oldies and adult standards stations, with most modern-day love for the genre coming from older people and music critics (but it maintains a cult following amongst some younger people), and classical music, though still fairly popular in certain circles, isn't even 1% as commercially successful as rock.
  • The Beatles got this a lot.
    • John Lennon's Aunt Mimi told him as a teenager, "Guitar is a good hobby, John, but you'll never make a living of it." In 1964, a group of fans had that quote put on a plaque and sent it to her.
    • The Beatles were turned down by Decca, Pye, Columbia, and HMV, and that was just among the recording companies. Decca executive Dick Rowe, in particular, claiming that "groups are out", especially four-person ones with guitars. It's been suggested that the executive who told them about guitars being on the way out was taking a polite out and that it just wasn't a very good audition. Records show that their setlist was mostly covers, which wasn't where they were strongest, and the few Lennon/McCartney originals weren't songs that featured on their later albums. Decca was embarrassed when The Beatles became successful, and immediately signed the next young rock band that came through their doors. Lucky for them that band was The Rolling Stones.
    • In The Jungle Book (1967), Mowgli is met by four vultures obviously based off the Beatles (mop-top haircuts, Liverpool accents) but when they sing a song, it's not in the style of the band. They instead form a barbershop quartet. This was a decision by Walt Disney himself, basically because he believed that, between the Beatles and barbershop quartets, it was the former that would become hopelessly dated and irrelevant.
  • Dick Clark has confessed to having this reaction twice in regards to KISS. The first time was in the early Eighties when it was announced that they would be taking off their makeup, and the second time when it was announced they would be putting the makeup back on.
  • Rock journalist Judy Willis cheerfully admits she once said of David Bowie, "He's not going to go far, is he? He's just not star material."
  • When The Graduate first came out, Roger Ebert famously called the film's Simon & Garfunkel songs "instantly forgettable". He joked about it decades later.
  • "Male vocal in the 1968 feeling—thin, piercing voice with no emotional appeal...dreary singer...pretentious material." — A panel review of a BBC audition in 1968 of Sir Elton John to promote his first single, "Lady Samantha", and curry favor for more BBC performances in the future.
  • Once, a guitarist was told by his buddy Keith Moon that his idea for a band "would sink like a lead zeppelin." That guitarist, Jimmy Page, decided to name his band after that flippant remark. The rest is history
  • Kanye West struggled to find a record label for his album The College Dropout, due to being known as a producer first and foremost, with many doubting that he could actually rap. One record executive told him "No one's gonna wanna buy a CD from a rapper who looks like Carlton". Of course, when the album was eventually signed on by Roc-a-fella records, it became a massive hit and Kanye eventually became one of the best selling artists of all time.
  • During one interview, Jimi Hendrix, after praising the Beatles, had this to say about Pink Floyd: "I've heard they have beautiful lights but they don't sound like nothing."
  • When Wilco finished their fourth album, their label, Reprise Records, thought it would never sell. This led to an argument between record executive and the band (particularly Jeff Tweedy. The album also came out around the time Reprise's parent company Time Warner was merging with AOL, which resulted in the loss of several key personell, including label president Howie Klein, who had personally championed the band. Because the band were a favorite of Klein's, they knew their days were numbered at Reprise. The new regime at Reprise offered to sell Wilco the rights to the album for $55,000 (hefty, but not prohibitive) if they would leave the label. Reprise eventually offered to hand the rights to them for free—basically saying, "we'll give you something if you'll just go away", at which point Wilco said, "Sure." The band hopped to Nonesuch Records shortly thereafter and released the album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Which is their best-received and most commercially successful album to date (it went gold, no small feat for a band like Wilco). Reprise was kicking itself for quite sometime after that.
  • The reason Nick Lowe, who produced Pretenders' debut single, chose not to produce their debut album? He thought they "weren't going anywhere."
    • Several years later, a reviewer for People described "I'll Stand by You" as the "weakest track" of Last of the Independents and "an anthem of blind support." It ended up becoming one of their most popular songs.
  • While Jacky Wu was impressed enough with Jay Chou's songwriting skills to scout him for songwriting, he didn't think Jay had the looks or singing skills to be a successful singer. Jay released his self-titled album in 2000 and would go on to dominate the Mandopop scene for over a decade after. The songs in said album also count, as they had been rejected by even big-name singers for being too weird and/or complicated to be usable, so he ended up using them for himself instead.
  • When Jethro Tull were first getting recognized (as a blues-rock band rather than a prog-rock band), their manager felt Ian Anderson should give up the flute and let then-guitarist Mick Abrams do all the singing. That manager didn't last too long (neither did Abrams, who left shortly after Tull's first album was released).
  • Simon Cowell once said that none of a bunch of prospective groups he was overseeing for The X Factor would be successful in "a million, billion years" and that no teenage girl would hang posters of them on her wall. This was the 2010 season of the show, and one of the groups he was talking about was a five-piece boy band called One Direction.
    • Years before, Cowell managed boy band Five. He tried to get Max Martin’s “…Baby One More Time” for his band, but Martin had already promised the song to an up-and-comer called Britney Spears. Cowell reacted: “You’re mad. No one can be successful with a name like that.” Also, later one of the bandmembers dissed on "Bye Bye Bye" and made them pass the song, which was such a success for *NSYNC that Cowell admitted it could be enough to make 5ive break across The Pond. In the end, Britney Spears and NSYNC (and by extension, their frontman Justin Timberlake) would become amongst the biggest stars in pop music history. As for 5ive? They had one hit in the United States, and quickly faded into obscurity after their breakup. 5ive, however, would later re-unite successfully in the early 2010s after gaining a cult following.
    • And before all that, Cowell rather famously refused to sign Take That, because he didn't think the songs were good, and he didn't think frontman Gary Barlow had star quality (allegedly he said of Barlow, "fire the fat one and I'll sign them," but this has never been confirmed). They then went on to be the biggest British boy band of all time before One Direction came along. He changed his mind once he realized what a following they were getting, but by that point, they'd already been signed by another label. Apparently, Barlow didn't hold a grudge, however, as he agreed to serve as Cowell's replacement as head judge on The X Factor for a few seasons.
  • Rick Wakeman has mentioned that, back in the '80s, he believed that the keyboard had taken the place of the guitar in popular music, and that guitar-driven rock was essentially obsolete. Wakeman wrily alluded to how Nirvana proved him wrong, though you'd think the popularity of hair and thrash metal during the mid-to-late '80s alone would've given him second thoughts.
  • According to the liner notes of his first Greatest Hits Album, Alan Jackson thought that "Chattahoochee" was too dependent on a localized reference (the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama/Georgia border) to become a hit. His worries were for naught, as it was the biggest country song of 1993.
  • Duane Allen, lead singer of The Oak Ridge Boys, didn't think that their 1978 hit "I'll Be True to You" would work as a single because it was a slow song with a Downer Ending. It wound up being the band's very first #1 hit.
  • In 1983, musicians Hilel Slovak and Jack Irons were members of the band What Is This?, and had formed a goofy side-project band called Red Hot Chili Peppers on a lark with a few other local musicians. Neither thought the Peppers would become a serious endeavor...and then they got signed to EMI. The duo couldn't split time between the two bands, and they both thought that What Is This? would be the more commercially successful band, so they quit the Peppers to remain with it. Slovak would be back in 1985 and Irons in 1987. The two of them are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as members of the Peppers. As for the more serious, commercial What Is This?, the most success that band ever got was one single that reached #62 on the Hot 100 and an appearance on American Bandstand shortly after Slovak left the band.
  • "Qué Será, Será". Doris Day initially was extremely reluctant to even record the song, calling it "forgettable children's song". It went on to win Oscar for the Best Original Song, ran second on US Billboard chart and first on UK Singles Chart and, ironically, ended up as a theme song for Doris' own The Doris Day Show. It is now #48 on American Film Institute's 100 Songs list.
  • Lindsey Stirling washed out of the fifth season quarterfinals of America's Got Talent and was told by Piers Morgan that she wasn't talented enough to play the violin and dance simultaneously. Unbeknownst to Morgan, however, her performance caught the attention of cinematographer Devin Graham and the two started making music videos on YouTube. Stirling is now one of the most popular artists on the Internet and has three studio albums and multiple awards.
  • In 2003, a 13-year-old girl from just outside of Reading, PA spent her spring break in Nashville, TN trying to convince music producers to give her a chance to be a Country Music star. Every single one of them said that her planned target demographic, kids and teens, weren't listening to Country. That girl's name, you ask? Taylor Swift. For bonus points: Swift is credited with almost single-handedly bringing Country Music back to the mainstream and causing "Pop Music" to return to its origins as a blanket term used for music of any genre that achieves mainstream recognition and popularity.
  • In 1990, the hosts of KROQ's The Kevin and Bean Show made several episodes of a TV extension of their morning show, during which they introduce a brand new song called "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The two hosts then chuckle to themselves and state, "That is not a good name."
  • At the height of Michael Jackson and Prince's solo success, neither artist was a fan of Hip-Hop, refusing to incorporate its elements into their music like Michael's sister had started doing, because they thought it would just be a fad. Prince in particular seemed to despise hip-hop, openly mocking it as a workaround for tone-deaf vocalists in his parody of the genre, "Dead on It". However, both Jackson and Prince warmed up to the genre come the 1990's (with Jackson especially embracing it in the 2000's), but by then it was clearly an attempt to appeal to a younger audience.
  • Janet Jackson's father, Joseph Jackson—who infamously lorded over the early careers of all his children—is famous for saying Janet's breakout album, Control, would never sell, and that she could be as big as her brothers, especially Michael, if she listened more to him. Control would go quintuple-Platinum in the US and sell 10 million copies worldwide. And her next two albums, Rhythm Nation 1814 and janet., would each sell more than the last.
  • Michael Jackson's record label privately thought Thriller would bomb upon release, and even his producer laughed in his face when he mentioned his goal to make it the biggest album of all time. Within a year, all of his naysayers were forced to eat their words, and Jackson was credited for almost singlehandedly pulling the music industry out of a severe recession with Thriller.
  • In 2003 upon the release of Beyoncé's first solo album, Dangerously in Love, the New York Times described her as being "no Ashanti", claiming that she was much better with her Destiny's Child bandmates supporting her. Over a decade later and she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with all of her solo albums debuting at the top of the charts. Ironically, Ashanti's career cooled off after her third album.
  • Felix Mendelssohn thought that the second part of his Festgesang cantata, celebrating Gutenberg and the invention of movable type, could become a popular song if someone wrote a different set of lyrics for it, but reportedly felt that "it will never do for sacred words". You know this piece: it's the melody of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".
  • "Contrived." "Meandering and meaningless." "Continues to come off as wannabe Led Zeppelin." "A brazen hodgepodge." The band that got these reviews in 1975? Queen. The song that they are referring to? "Bohemian Rhapsody."
  • "Up Where We Belong", written for the ending scene of An Officer and a Gentleman, was rejected at every turn. Joe Cocker didn't think the song would be a hit until after he and Jennifer Warnes had finished recording it. Paramount's executives (including Michael Eisner; see Films - Live Action) hated the song, and it only stayed in the film because none of the artists they contacted to write a replacement were able to come up with something fitting enough. A record executive the song was presented to turned it down, saying, "Jennifer Warnes has never had a hit songnote  and Joe Cocker's a has-been", but eventually Island Records took it on. Several major radio stations hated the song to the extent that they sent their copies back to Island. Then the film came out... "Up Where We Belong" was swiftly propelled to #1, won "Best Original Song" at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, and was listed as one of the "Songs of the Century".
  • Jean-Michel Jarre experienced the very same thing as The Beatles when Oxygène was completed and ready to be released. Every last major label turned him down. "Electronic Music? Like, no guitars? No vocals? Eight-minute songs with no clear verse and chorus structure? Who would ever want to listen to that?" All they signed in the mid-1970s France was Disco or Punk Rock. So Jarre returned to his former publisher, Francis Dreyfus' label Disques Motors. He signed him, expecting to sell some five million copies—-and they sold ten million copies within no time. Not to mention that Oxygène was just part of a huge wave of Electronic Music that had only just started to change the music scene forever.
  • According to his autobiography, Travis Tritt was told by various executives that "I'm Gonna Be Somebody" would not be successful because it didn't have a rhyme scheme. It went on to become one of his biggest hits.
  • Back in 1913, Igor Stravinsky composed the music for one of the hugest premeir riots in music history. It got so bad that, at one point, the choreographer had to peek his head from the curtain and shout out the counting to the dancers due to the noise of the crowd. Today, the chaotic, strange, and primal influence of "The Rite of Spring" is most evident in game and movie soundtracks the world over, but can be heard in other kinds of music. Also of note, the piece was incorporated into one of Walt Disney's biggest projects ever, Fantasia; Stravinsky was the only composer featured who lived to see it, and while he disliked it, he admitted it did keep well to the themes of the source material (him: primal Russian rites, Disney: dinosaurs).
  • In 1987, Teddy Riley and Keith Sweat released the latter's Riley-produced debut single "I Want Her" to radio stations, and it wound up on Frankie Crocker's "Jam It or Slam It" program on WBLS, which Riley knew its audience was tough as nails when it came to music. When Sweat's song came on, it was universally slammed by the listenership almost immediately, but Crocker himself defied this trope, saying to the listeners, "Y'all may Slam this record, but I’m gonna Jam this record 'cause y’all don't understand this is the new sound!" Riley credits this event with making the single and it's album, Make It Last Forever, a hit, and putting both Sweat and Riley on the map, kicking off the true start of the New Jack Swing era.
  • In October 6, 2016 Alex Shephard wrote an article in The New Republic about who will win the Nobel Prize in Literature in that year and stated: "Bob Dylan 100 percent is not going to win. Stop saying Bob Dylan should win the Nobel Prize." A week later, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize.
  • The Byrds thought that The Monkees would never succeed as a serious musical group due to their manufactured origins, and produced the song "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" as a Take That! to the group. Come some 20 years later, and The Monkees would be Vindicated by History due to their legitimate innovations and influences, while The Byrds got a more Bittersweet Ending, breaking up in 1973 with brief reunions in 1989-1991 and 2000, but still becoming recognized as one of the greatest classic rock groups of the time and as pioneers of folk rock.
  • The Spice Girls are a weird case, as everyone involved thought they would be successful, just not as successful as Simon Fuller, the band's then-manager and head of 19 Entertainment, correctly thought — it was more of a case of good timing than anything really, as when they appeared the popular music scene was at somewhat of a crossroad. Grunge was dying and beginning to metamorphosis into the very polarizing Post-Grunge, Britpop was collapsing amidst an identity crisis, Heavy Metal was in the midst of its own identity crisis following the demise of Hair Metal and Thrash Metal at the start of the Grunge era and the rise of genres such as Nu Metal, Groove Metal and Black Metal, and Hip-Hop was in the middle of the brutal East and West Coast Gangsta Rap feud and subsequent reconfigurement after the deaths of Tupac and Biggie. While pop music had continued in the UK and other areas, it was seemingly stone-dead in the US after the backlash cause by the Milli Vanilli lip-syncing scandal, leaving The Girls likely out of luck in the biggest potential market area... except they wound up just as popular there as in the UK and helped to revive pop music in the US.
  • Many people thought The Human League's "artsy" brand of Synth-Pop would never leave the punk fandom. Northern Irish punk band The Undertones even mocked the group in a lyric from their song "My Perfect Cousin": "His mother bought him a synthesiser / Got the Human League in to advise her / Now he's making lots of noise / Playing along with the art school boys". Then, in 1981, The Human League released Dare. It was a huge success on both sides of the pond, spawning the international hit "Don't You Want Me". Today, The Human League are regarded as one of the leading artists of the 1980s Second British Invasion of the US and pioneers of the Synth-Pop genre. As for The Undertones? They broke up two years later, and while they still maintain popularity in British and Irish punk rock circles, their popularity outside the UK and Ireland is limited to a cult following.
  • For many years, there was declared to be no chance whatsoever of a Pop Punk revival. While the Defend Pop Punk movement was popular in Alternative Rock circles, it never reached mainstream success. Not helping matters was the Warped Tour's death due to a combination of declining attendance and many, many sexual harassment-related controversies. In addition, the dominance of Trap Music led to rock being displaced by hip hop as the "most popular form of music" in 2018 according to Nielsen Data, which many interpreted as the death knell for all forms of rock in the mainstream. Then, in 2019, many emo rap performers began releasing Pop Punk-inspired material. Add to that Machine Gun Kelly doing a Genre Shift from party rap to Pop Punk. In September 2020, MGK's Tickets To My Downfall became the first rock album to top the Billboard 200 since tool's Fear Inoculum in September 2019. Helping matters was the backlash against trap growing more and more as people got tired of the memes the genre's fans kept spawning, along with TikTok users making meme after meme out of Pop Punk songs. In 2021, Olivia Rodrigo's "Good 4 U" topped the Billboard Hot 100, which made it rock in general's first Hot 100 #1 in many, many years, with "Good 4 U" easily beating out a new panoply of tracks rapper J. Cole dropped the same week in streaming numbers. Add to that The Kid Laroi's pop punk and New Wave Music-influenced collab with Justin Bieber, "Stay", also going to the top of the charts. In addition, Lil Nas X, who previously released several trap and pop rap tracks, released the #10 hit "THATS WHAT I WANT", which was influenced by one of pop punk's direct ancestors, Power Pop. To say that the naysayers' predictions about a Pop Punk revival never reaching the mainstream were wrong is an understatement.

  • Margaret Thatcher:
  • The modern election campaign process; door-knocking/canvassing, public rallies, signs, etc., was invented by Aaron Burr in 1800 as a way of accomplishing what his party had intended to be an Impossible Task. The government generally thought Burr's methods would prove to be nothing more than a fad, which would completely disappear once they were done destroying Burr. While they did succeed in destroying Burr, his electioneering process caught on big-time.
  • Richard Nixon. Two years after losing the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy, Nixon ran for governor of California against incumbent Pat Brown but was defeated by a comfortable margin. The next morning, an exhausted Nixon gave his notorious "last press conference", lashing out against the media for discrediting his candidacy. Political pundits at the time claimed Nixon's political career was over and labeled him a sore loser. ABC even aired a documentary titled The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon a few days later. Six years later Nixon won the presidency, and in 1972 was re-elected carrying 49 out of 50 states. Though his second term didn't end well...
  • In 1958, a high school student named Robert G. Heft designed a new variation of the United States flag that had 50 stars to account for the addition of Hawaii and Alaska as states. He received a B-minus as a grade but agreed with his teacher that the grade would be upped to an A if it was accepted by Congress and made the official flag. Heft's design was selected from over 1,500 designs submitted, and his grade was adjusted.
  • Most American school kids learn about the first ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, but less known is that two other amendments were proposed – one of them was about prohibiting Congress from raising their own salaries until after an election. This did not get the required ratification of 3/4 of the states needed to make it a part of the constitution, but thanks to a 1939 Supreme Court ruling (Coleman v. Miller) it didn't die and could still become an amendment if enough states ratified it. Gregory Watson was an undergraduate studying at the University of Texas at Austin, who wrote a paper in 1982, a paper in which he got a "C" from his professor because she thought it was unrealistic. Ten years later, it's now the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, over 200 years after it was first presented by Congress to the states for ratification, thanks in part to Watson's campaigning to have it ratified. When the professor (retired by then) heard of his successful efforts she submitted paperwork to have Watson's grade changed to an A.
    • The other forgotten amendment would set the size of the House of Representatives. By an error in its transcription, it would have been logically incoherent between a certain population margin. There has been no campaign to revive it, though some have tried.
    • A lot of subsequent proposed constitutional amendments had a time limit on the possibility of being ratified to avoid such a potentially undemocratic scenario (should the 1814 Kentucky state legislature really get much of a say on what gets added to the constitution in the 21st century?) But one of the reasons the Supreme Court accepted that an amendment proposed without an "expiry date" can be ratified and become part of the constitution even literal centuries after being proposed is that Congress always had the power to set such an expiry date but in some cases simply chose not to. Besides the Congressional Apportionment Amendment there are still Three proposed amendments definitely pending but for various political (not legal) reasons their passage seems extremly unlikely. One would've constitutionally protected slavery, another would've constitutionally outlawed child labor (a nice sentiment but since deemed by SCOTUS to be contained already in other parts of the constitution and also enforced via non-constitutional legislation) and another handles the no longer very relevant question of whether someone can remain a U.S. citizen after accepting a foreign Title of Nobility. The Equal Rights Amendment had an expiry date (which was extended once) and failed to get ratified, but there is a push to retroactively eliminate the expiry date and get it ratified through the backdoor. We'll update this page if this goes anywhere, but suffice it to say, if it does, it'd be a prime example of the trope discussed on this page.
  • Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party in 1988 and was given a prime time speaking slot at the national convention. He gave a long, boring speech that even drew boos at one point – the Los Angeles Times referred to the speech as "nationally televised political suicide". After that, pundits agreed that he ruined whatever tiny chance he might have of ever becoming president. Four years later...
  • In January of 1989, Erich Honecker declared that the Berlin Wall would stand for a hundred more years. It fell that November.
    • In 1982, Brezhnev declared that "the unity of the Soviet Republics is stronger than ever". Within a decade the USSR had dissolved into independent states.note 
  • Unlike the vast majority of European intelligentsia of the time, the Spanish PM Count of Aranda predicted in 1783 that the newborn United States was not just going to last, but also become an expansionist, great power in the future, and that its very existence would stimulate the Spanish colonies to become independent nations of their own. As a preventive maneuver, Aranda advised King Charles III to divide the colonies between his sons and turn them into different kingdoms that would be tied in a web of alliances and look up to their Spanish counterpart as their superior, who would take the title of Emperor, with only the islands retained under direct Spanish leadership. The King responded that Aranda was exaggerating and that this kind of reforms was not needed. A century later, Spain only controlled the insular parts of its American empire, and soon after lost them to the United States.
    • Aranda's suggestion also presaged somewhat how the British Empire, and later, Commonwealth would operate: a system of independent states joined together through the British Monarchy (although the differences in details are quite substantial).
  • This 1924 New York Times article. In 1932 Blum and other French politicians thought Adolf Hitler would never have the chance to be in power after his recent electoral setbacks. In fairness to them, had the German conservatives not tried to use Hitler to prevent their own electoral collapse they'd have been right — by 1932 the Nazi party's support was waning and it was thought to be almost bankrupt (on the other hand, the decline was relative, as Nazis still held the largest parliamentary group even despite setbacks).
  • According to many historical accounts, Commodore Matthew C. Perry apparently didn't think very highly of his assignment from the US Navy in 1853 to help open diplomatic channels with a heavily isolated East Asian island chain that most Americans knew nothing about; like any good military man, he wanted a distinguished assignment that was likely to get him noticed by his superiors, and saw no reason to believe that his mission would ever be more than a historical footnote. Today, of course, we know that island chain as Japan, and we know that assignment as the Perry Expedition—the event that led directly to the Meiji Restoration and put Japan on the road to becoming one of the most important industrial superpowers of the 20th century.
  • The Labour Party leadership elections 2015 had four candidates: the center-left candidates Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, the centrist candidate Liz Kendall, and the elderly, veteran, unapologetically socialist, anti-war and anti-nuclear campaigner and MP Jeremy Corbyn. Virtually everyone said that Corbyn had absolutely no chance, that his brand of politics had been dead since the 1980s and the membership wouldn't vote for anyone so utterly alien to mainstream UK politics. Such people promptly ate their words when Corbyn won handily with 59.5% of the vote. Not only that but in the snap elections of 2017 (which were predicted to be a Tory walk by the time they were called), Corbyn managed a better result for Labour than his two predecessors as leader and forced the Tories into a confidence and supply deal with the DUP.
  • When Donald Trump declared his candidacy for the 2016 US presidential election, almost everyone considered it a publicity stunt — mainly due to him not being a politician and his habit of making inflammatory public statements, which largely contributed to him ultimately deciding not to run in the 2012 election. He ended up being unexpectedly popular with a plurality of Republicans, building a supporter base among conservatives unsatisfied with the Republican party establishment; he was the frontrunner throughout the primary elections, and ultimately not only won the Republican nomination, but went on to upset the heavily-favored Hillary Clinton in the general election to become the 45th President of the United States, even though he lost the popular vote by almost three million votes.
  • Angela Merkel was seen as a non-entity and a political nobody when she was appointed as minister for women and youth (not families, which this ministry is usually in charge of, too but wasn't at the time) mostly to have a woman from the East in the first post-reunification cabinet. After the 1998 election loss of Kohl to Schröder, Merkel lost her job as minister of the environment and was seen by some as done for politically. However, a political donation scandal engulfed much of the West German leadership of her party and she could step in and sweep up (coincidentally at the same time the political career of Wolfgang Schäuble was considered over due to the scandal and he went on to serve as perhaps one of the most influential interior minister and later finance minister in post-war German history and took over as speaker of parliament after the 2017 elections) When she "lost" the spot of chancellor candidate in 2002 to Edmund Stoiber (and Stoiber promptly lost the election) people also were about to write her political obituary, but it was only in 2005 when with her at the helm, the CDU barely limped into first place, but Schröder gave a rambling, arrogant and disconnected from reality performance at a post-election press conference, costing him any credibility to lead a government, causing his party to enter into a grand coalition under Merkel's leadership. Merkel has governed since.
  • Shinzo Abe
    • After an embarrassing tenure rife with scandals as Prime Minister of Japan (which lasted a year until he came down with ulcerative colitis) that eventually led to their party's demise in the 2009 General Election, not even members within the Liberal Democratic Party thought he would win when he announced he would once again run for the party's leadership election, and many favored Shigeru Ishiba and Nobuteru Ishihara as the more likely party leader that will face the increasingly faltering Democrats come the next General Election. However, Abe managed to secure votes of several factions and came in second in the first vote, forcing the election into a run-off. He then managed to convince the party members who voted for Ishihara to vote for him, allowing him to become the first LDP leader to be voted back in after resignation.
    • Even after this, many political experts and pundits, who remembered how short his last tenure was, did not expect him to stick around as the PM for longnote . Abe remained in office for over seven and a half years, becoming the longest-serving Japanese PM in history, before announcing his resignation in 2020 due to health problems.
  • When Vladimir Putin became Boris Yeltsin's prime minister in 1999, hardly anyone knew who he was, and no one believed he would amount to anything (Yeltsin was going through primes at quite the rate at the time), aside from a statement by some guy from LDPR (the Russian party of trolls). Not so much with him finishing his second decade in power...
  • After Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, he thought his speech had been a failure and would be forgotten. (He also stated in the speech: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here...") Nowadays, it is one of the most famous speeches in world history.
  • When former U.S. vice president Joe Biden announced that he was seeking the nomination for Democratic candidate for president in 2020, he was viewed as a longshot. He'd already made two unsuccessful presidential bids, the first of which ended in a plagiarism allegation. As a longtime establishment centrist Democrat facing a party electorate dominated by young left-leaning voters, and, at age 77, someone who, if elected, would be the oldest president in history, it was thought that his campaign would fizzle out at the primary level. But unexpected strong performances in the early primaries netted Biden the nomination. While Donald Trump was still considered a highly divisive figure, many observers, both left and right, still thought Biden's history of gaffes, advanced age, and the natural advantage that Trump would have as an incumbent all lessened Biden's chances. But after an arduous campaign combined with a multiple-day vote count, Biden clinched the presidency, rebuilding the "Blue Wall" of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that Trump won in 2016 with the largest popular vote count in the history of the country, flipping the Republican strongholds of Arizona and Georgia.
  • Prior to the above, during the 2020 COVID Pandemic, Donald Trump made a statement about the possibility of cleaning and re-using certain types of masks instead of just throwing them all away. The media balked at the statement at the time, thinking it was just more evidence of his inability to handle the outbreak. However, mere days later, a lab announced that they had figured out exactly how to do it, and within weeks, re-usable masks were available to anyone. Although most are still thrown away, the process needed to clean and reuse a mask meant Hospitals and labs could maintain a healthy supply while the demand outside of the Hospitals skyrocketed.

  • When Mike Duncan started The History of Rome in 2007, he thought it might be a hobby during his study days and he'd eventually get bored or nobody would listen to it and he'd abandon it. Ten years, two podcasts and a book deal later, he still shows no sign of abandoning Podcasting or Roman History

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Chris Jericho had one when he was working in Mexico. As he wrote in his Autobiography, he had a friend visit him in his hotel room with a kid "that looked to be 12 years old". When his friend started using colorful language, Jericho was worried about swearing in front of the kid, who then showed Jericho his ID, proving him to be 18. The youth went on to say that he was also getting into wrestling. Jericho thought that the kid had no future in the business and would be lucky to be working ring crew. That kid? Rey Mysterio Jr..
  • The sad part story of WCW. See, in 1989-1990, long before Bischoff got control of the company, there was this guy called "Mean" Mark Callous. Despite being everything a promoter could want in a wrestler at that time (a big man who could wrestle well), they never did anything meaningful with him. Mark, knowing how things would go if he stayed, asked for his release and jumped ship to the then-WWF. He was then repackaged, lasting with an unparalleled "streak" of decades of popularity, under another name — The Undertaker.
  • When CMLL received a jobber from International Wrestling in Quebec, they initially gave him the Vampiro gimmick as a joke. Little did they realize Vampiro would become popular enough to star in movies!
  • NWA World Superstars Wrestling, an attempt to make an "Americanized" version of New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1993 naturally inspired this belief. WSW didn't catch on because it had to change its name due to confusion over the World Wrestling Federation, which had a television program called Superstars but Ring Warriors, as it would come to be known, got more viewers in Africa and Europe than both WCW and the WWF till founder Hiro Matsuda's death in 1999. Also, Ring Warriors would be the first wrestling company to stream matches online in 1997, a service people also thought would never catch on, however, Ring Warriors finally started to slowly gain a USA audience in 2011, when all major promotions streamed.
  • WCW had this attitude towards quite a few talents, variously attributed to Eric Bischoff's lack of faith in people not named Kevin Nash or Hulk Hogan, and Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan's inability to let go of the spotlight. You could probably fill this page with a dozen examples involving Bischoff, ranging from letting future legends go – people who would later go to the WWF, become popular, win championships, and become the stars they knew they were, to poor match booking or promotional decisions (see Mick Foley, below). Eventually, this string of bad decisions led to the WCW's failure as a business, and buyout by its chief competitor, the WWF.
    • Reportedly, after jobbing out a "Stunning" to "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in record time, WCW vice president Eric Bischoff had a phone conversation with the wrestler, who suggested a change in his character from Jerk Jock to no-nonsense '90s Anti-Hero. Bischoff told him: "[W]e can have you run around in your little black tights and your little black boots, but that just wouldn't be marketable," and then fired him. After a brief stint in ECW, that man went on to the WWF, where he met a manager who reluctantly listened to his character input, and ran around in his little black tights and his little black boots (and a little black vest, shaved his head, and grew a goatee) — and became one of the biggest wrestling superstars in the world: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
    • Bischoff took Jim Ross off of commentary because Ross was fat and Southern and wouldn't appeal to mainstream America. "J.R." then left for WWE. Jim Ross is now immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame.
    • Add Chris Jericho to the list of easily recognizable faces Bischoff let get away. The scary part? He didn't see Jericho as a headliner... as of 2010, well after Jericho established himself as one of the most popular names in the history of the WWE.
      "Bischoff's right. I can't headline in TNA... cause I'm not in my 50s." – Jericho
    • Eric Bischoff, along with Hulk Hogan and Goldberg, felt that a Squash Match between WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg and WCW World Television Champion Chris Jericho would not have been a popular draw. The same Chris Jericho who would later win and unify the WCW World Heavyweight Championship with the WWF Championship to become the very first WWF Undisputed Champion, an even higher honor. One of those titles was won off of Steve Austin (see above).
    • Kevin Nash, while a booker in WCW dubbed many of the cruiserweights as "Vanilla Midgets," smaller wrestlers who could never hope to become popular main eventers and lacked any charisma. The WCW cruiserweight roster at the time included Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio Jr., the four of whom would go on to have a combined 12 reigns as world champion in the WCW or WWF/E. Others included Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko, who when leaving WCW for WWF with Guerrero and Benoit, formed the popular stable the Radicals.
      • Speaking of Rey, he's a double example. On top of being kept down the card, Eric Bischoff claimed that masked wrestlers weren't "marketable", have Rey unmask on television, and proceed to do nothing with him. After WCW folded, Rey convinced the Mexican Athletic Commission to let him re-mask via copious amounts of Loophole Abuse, and signed with WWE, where he proceeded to become the most popular luchador in mainstream wrestling and make himself and his new promotion millions and millions of dollars with their top-selling line of Rey masks.
    • With so much ammo to choose (or poach), Vince McMahon had a habit of taking so-called "Vanilla Midgets" and letting them do their thing back in the Attitude Era. It got to the point that by the end of WCW, practically the only main-eventer in WWE that wasn't a former WCW employee was The Rock... and that was only because he never worked for them.note 
  • Mick Foley thought this way of The Rock back when he was Rocky Maivia. To quote his book, Have a Nice Day!:
    "The next day, one of the guys asked for my impression of Rocky. 'Hey, he's a nice guy,' I said, 'but he just doesn't have it. The office should really cut their losses and get rid of the guy'. I had no idea I was talking about the future 'People's and Corporate Champion.'"
  • CM Punk briefly worked for CZW and TNA. They saw nothing in him. He then went on to be a five-time world champion and the longest reigning WWE Champion in the last twenty-five years.
  • So there was this young kid who really, really wanted to be a wrestler. He was well built but didn't have a distinct look. He was dedicated and hard-working, but a bit sloppy at times and tended to mix up moves. And he had, quote, "the charisma of a robot." That lead to his indie-league persona of "the Prototype", a cyborg-like concept, but after getting the bump up to the full WWF he just couldn't find a niche and nobody figured he'd be anything more than an overeager curtain-jerker. Then one Halloween episode he came out dressed as Vanilla Ice and started rap-dissing his opponent, being shockingly good at it. Thus began the career proper of the Doctor of Thuganomics, and for better or worse the John Cena train hasn't stopped chugging since.
  • Ring of Honor's own fanbase didn't want anything to do with Kevin Steen in 2005, nor were they particularly thrilled to see him come back, even with the backdrop of the hot CZW feud. By 2011, they couldn't cheer for Steen loud enough as he campaigned to destroy Ring Of Honor. The same could be said of Steen's Tag Team partner El Generico. What won the ROH fans over was putting them together as a tag team after they failed to impress as individuals and putting them against the Briscoe Brothers. The hardworking, hard-drinking chicken farmers from slower lower Delaware got to intimately verbalize everything the fans didn't like about the goofy French Canadians, who fans got into as they fired back.
  • Booker, promoter and The Four Horsemen member Ole Anderson made a bad habit of this.
  • In 2017, a random fan asked Dave Meltzer if Ring of Honour can ever sell out an arena with 10k+ fans, in which the latter responded dismissively. Cody Rhodes took it as a challenge and a bet to initiate the All In event, which was the biggest indie PPV. Just half a year later, it resulted in the creation of All Elite Wrestling, which quickly became a bigger threat to WWE than any other promotion at the time ever could be and it's biggest rival since it bought out WCW.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sure, Jim Henson hit it big with Sesame Street, but success with more adult fare? Let's take a look. Many on Saturday Night Live looked down on his work. Granted, those segments are criticized by even die-hard fans, but his puppetry work, in general, was also generally derided as "not ready for primetime." And what about that skit show starring a frog, pig, bear and... whatever? Oh right, almost everyone took a pass when it was being shopped around. And a later movie based on those very same characters? Few thought it would work — let alone be a smash hit and lead to a successful, continuing series.
  • This article protests the idea of The Noddy Shop for being unfaithful to the original Noddy's Toyland Adventures show, and thought that it would fail in ratings because of competition from other shows. However, it went on for two seasons and became as popular as Sesame Street was on PBS Kids.
  • According to TV producer John Lloyd, when trying to fill space on Not the Nine O'Clock News in 1979, he approached two artists known for producing sculpted caricatures of politicians for the newspapers and suggested that puppets in that style would be a good fit for satirical comedy. They weren't interested. A few years later, however, Fluck and Law would indeed work with Lloyd on Spitting Image.
  • When Abby Cadabby was first announced for Sesame Street, The Boston Globe believed that she wouldn't be as popular as Zoe or Rosita because they thought that the only reason for her existence was to Follow the Leader with the Disney Princess line that took away most of Sesame Street's toddler girl audience, compared to how most girl characters on the shows liked unisex things. She later became almost as popular as Elmo.

  • In the 2010 World Series most analysts predicted the Texas Rangers would beat the San Francisco Giants, stating the Giants offense was too weak, only able to put only 2-3 runs up a game (with their superb pitching that's all they needed.) The Giants ended up beating The Rangers 4 games to 1. A ESPN state-by-state online poll showed that 49 states predicted that the Rangers would win. California, the Giants' home state, was the only one that had them in the majority to win.
    • History repeated itself in 2012 with most analysts favoring the Detroit Tigers over the Giants, stating specifically that the Giants would never be able to handle Tigers ace Justin Verlander. In the Series opener, Verlander lasted only four innings, giving up two home runs to Pablo Sandoval (who would hit a third that night as well), who isn't known as a big home run hitter. In fact, the Giants were dismissed pretty early on in the playoffs. They ended up facing elimination 6 times and went on to sweep the Tigers, 4 games to 0. (People who followed the Tigers closely were less surprised; Verlander had been showing signs of age and fatigue since August—to the point where most Tigers fans were more excited about games with Max Scherzer—and the Tigers bullpen was notoriously shallow.)
    • While a slight majority of analysts rooted for the Giants, most fans considered the Kansas City Royals would win (69 to 31 percent, sweeping all fifty states), as did betting houses (the Giants paid twice the amount of the Royals on Bet365 the day of Game 1). Although the predictions were based on baseball fundamentals (KC had been building up a solid team from its farm system for years), the opinions may have been skewed by the Royals' sudden appearance from nowhere and a sense that after decades of hovering at the bottom of the American League, it was "time" for the Royals to come back. However, fate would be on San Francisco's side once again, with the Giants narrowly defeating the Royals (3 to 2) in Game 7, becoming SF's third World Series in five years (and increasingly cementing the idea of the Giants as the Team of the '10s).
  • The Bay Area MLB teams are known for this: Oakland's legendary "Swinging A's" won the Series between 1972 and 1974. However, the NL teams (Reds in '72, Mets in '73 and Dodgers in '74) were the most favored in predictions (the Athletics were more noted for their internal tensions instead). However, Oakland trounced each of those teams to become one of baseball's biggest dynasties of The '70s.
  • They said he was too weak, too slow and that he would flounder in the NHL. The Great One was unfazed.
  • In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers (who has the 2nd draft pick) drafted Kentucky center Sam Bowie ahead of some guy named Michael Jordan. (The Houston Rockets, who had the 1st draft pick, get a free pass: Hakeem Olajuwon was the No. 1 draft pick; although no Michael Jordan, Olajuwon was not a bad pick, especially for the Rockets—he led them to back-to-back championships the years Jordan was out of the NBA. Olajuwon eventually joined MJ in the Hall of Fame.)
    • Actually entirely justified from the Blazers' perspective. A less famous example from the year before justified the Bowie pick (in Portland's mind) because the Bulls had passed on the Blazers' 1st round pick: Clyde Drexler. (another then-future Hall of Famer who was already playing the same role on the court as Jordan would... and would lose one NBA final to Jordan and only get a title when joining the aforementioned Olajuwon in Houston).
    • Unfortunately for Portland, they would make the same draft mistake again in 2007. They have the No. 1 draft pick, and they chose Greg Oden, who had been a star at Ohio State when healthy but had battled knee injuries all the way back to high school. Continued injuries to his knees and ankles derailed his career, while the Seattle SuperSonics, as they were still known at the timenote , drafted Kevin Durant with the number 2 pick.
    • The Bulls passed on Bill Cartwright (their starting center for the first three championship teams) in the 1980 draft before trading Charles Oakley to the Knicks for him.
    • And going back to Jordan, he was cut from his high school team in his sophomore year. One imagines that provided some motivation.
  • Joe Montana and Tom Brady would become one of the most successful quarterbacks of their respective generations in the National Football League, with them winning eleven Super Bowls between them (Montana winning four of them, while Brady won seven), despite only being drafted in the third (82nd overall, 1979) and sixth (199th overall, 2000) rounds, respectively.
    "Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the '99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you'd like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can't drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own." — Tom Brady's scouting report for the 2000 NFL Draft
  • The 1991 Atlanta Falcons drafted Brett Favre as a backup QB in the second round, 33rd overall, but coach Jerry Glanville did not approve of him. Favre only threw five passes for the Falcons, two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and not a single completion. The following year, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers and went on to be the Ironman of football, breaking nearly every passing record in the books, and retired as the winningest QB in the history of the NFL (later passed by Peyton Manning, who was in turn passed by Tom Brady).
  • Before 2008, it was common knowledge that the Spanish national football team would never get past the quarter-finals, let alone win a tournament. Two consecutive Euros and one World Cup later, and they started looking boring and invincible instead, at least until 2014.
  • "Possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation." – an early scouting report on NFL coach Vince Lombardi.
  • "Claudio Ranieri? Really?" Former Leicester City player Gary Lineker wasn't the only one skeptical of Ranieri's appointment as manager of his former team. Bookies also had him as the favorite to be the first manager of the 2015-16 Premier League season to be sacked. The relegation candidates ended up winning their maiden league title that season.
  • In 1961, a 16-year-old midfielder was released from Wolverhampton Wanderers' youth team, then turned away from Bolton Wanderers for being too short - manager Bill Ridding told him he'd have a better chance as a jockey. He eventually signed for Blackpool... and five years later, Alan Ball became the youngest member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad, and provided the assist for Geoff Hurst's controversial second goal against West Germany in the final.
  • The 2001/02 edition of Championship Manager included a 15-year-old Everton youth player whose stats and growth potential were unimpressive, suggesting the game's scouts didn't expect much from him. In August 2002, that youth team player made his first team debut against Tottenham Hotspur, whose fans jeered and heckled "Who are ya?" every time he touched the ball. Just two months later, everyone in England knew exactly who Wayne Rooney was—and he went on to become one of the greatest strikers of his generation, and the England national team's record goalscorer.
    • While covering a televised practice session for the 2013 Sprint Showdown (the "last chance" race for drivers not already in the Sprint All-Star Race), Darrell Waltrip recalled the opening of the condominiums located by Turn 1 of Charlotte Motor Speedway, in 1984. After winning a race at the track in 1985, he had been offered his pick of any of the condo units for $75,000. His response was to say that no one would ever want to buy one because there was no interest in living at a racetrack. Within two years, the average price had jumped by $200,000; by 1991, a second condo suite had opened; and today, they go for upwards of a half-million dollars, with a lengthy waiting list to boot. Other tracks, including but not limited to Charlotte's sister tracks Atlanta and Texas, have installed their own condo suites.
    • During a practice session at Atlanta in August of 2014, Waltrip related the story of the time Rick Hendrick called him at the end of 1993 to ask him what he thought of Hendrick's new superstar, Jeff Gordon. Darrell bluntly told Rick that Jeff "would never make it" and referred to him as a "crash artist" because of how much equipment he had torn up in his rookie season on the circuit. That Atlanta race was the occasion of Gordon's 750th start in the Cup Series, in a first-ballot Hall of Fame career that produced four championships, the fourth-best mark in series history, and 93 wins, 325 top fives and 477 top tens, all third-best in series history. Not to mention that all of Gordon's starts are consecutive from his debut at that same track in the 1992 season finale,note  which is the longest streak from the start of a career and would go on to become the longest streak of all time after surpassing Ricky Rudd's mark of 788 at the New Hampshire playoff race in 2015, ending with 797 at Homestead the same year, after which Gordon retired from racing full-time and joined Waltrip as an analyst for Fox Sports.
    • Gordon himself also ran into this later in his career, ironically with Hendrick being the reluctant party this time. In 2000, Gordon ran a race in what is now known as the Xfinity Series, NASCAR's 2nd-tier league, at Michigan International Speedway, and found himself struggling with one driver in particular. This kid managed to pass Gordon on a late restart despite Gordon having by far a better car, surprising the more experienced driver. He went back to team owner Rick Hendrick and pushed him to sign the kid for the then-Winston Cup (now just the NASCAR Cup, though the Championship trophy itself is called the "Bill France Cup" after "Big Bill" France) Series; Hendrick was reluctant to field a fourth car, and after a few weeks of Gordon hounding him, finally offered Gordon a partnership to buy the fourth car himself, which Gordon gladly accepted. That kid's name was Jimmie Johnson, and he would go on to win over 80 races (placing him sixth on the all-time career wins lineup as of this writing) and become the second person to tie Richard Petty's record seven championship wins.
  • Formula One:
    • When Renault debuted the first turbocharged F1 car, the RS01, in 1977, it was overweight and chronically unreliable, earning it the disparaging moniker "Little Yellow Teapot". In truth, the RS01 was little more than a test bed while Renault worked out the kinks in the engine. Once they did, its successor, the RS10, showed up to the 1979 French Grand Prix, took pole position, and won. By the end of the year the RS10 had taken four further pole positions, and the entire grid had gone from laughing at Renault's efforts, to frantically trying to develop turbo engines of their own.
    • When Nigel Mansell left Lotus in 1984 after 4 years and no race wins, team boss Peter Warr remarked to the press: "He'll never win a Grand Prix as long as I have a hole in my arse". Less than a year later, Mansell won his first Grand Prix, then became one of the main championship contenders in 1986, '87 and '91 before finally taking the title in 1992 in dominant fashion. He held the record for the number of Grand Prix wins by a British driver for the next twenty years (before being de-throned by Lewis Hamilton) and is the only man ever to hold both the F1 title and the CART title at the same time.
    • The 1995 McLaren featured an unusual mid-wing on the engine cover, as well as a less-conventional shape on the rear of the cover itself, quickly becoming an object of ridicule within the paddock and the press who thought that it was pathetic how one of the great F1 teams would have to resort to such a gimmick. By the mid-2000s, it was unusual to see a team NOT running extra wings such as these on their cars. The wings were banned in 2009, yet by 2014 the rear of the engine covers on most cars bore a resemblance to that of the McLaren experiment.
    • Similarly, the 1997 Tyrrell was regarded as laughable within F1 circles. The car, as long-time fans may recall, ran an "X-Wing" configuration at several high-downforce circuits where 2 high supports with mini-wings on top were mounted on the sidepods. When the 1998 season came round with a massive amount of regulation changes, several teams struggled. Their response? X-Wings of their own! By the San Marino Grand Prix, Tyrrell, Prost, Jordan, Sauber and even Ferrari had used them. Eventually, someone at the FIA saw sense and banned them for "safety reasons" (a botched pitstop in San Marino supposedly the straw that broke the camels back) although it is generally accepted that they were simply banned for being ugly to look at.
  • At the 2011 national championships, an elite gymnast fell off the balance beam three times in one routine; experienced gymnastics reporter Lauren Hopkins described it as "watching a career die". The gymnast in question was Gabby Douglas, 2011 World team member, 2012 Olympic All-around champion and 2015 World All-around silver medalist.
  • Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots in 1994 for $172 million, which was very expensive at the time for a historically awful team that saw itself try to move to two different cities under two previous owners (Victor Kiam and James Orthwein tried to move the Patriots to Jacksonville and St. Louis, respectively). Under Kraft's ownership, the Patriots became one of the most successful teams in the NFL, as they went to ten Super Bowls, winning six of them (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII), as well as having multiple ten or more winning seasons from 2003-2019, a rare accomplishment in the league's era of free agency and the salary cap.
  • When German TV station Sat1 took over Super Bowl coverage, there were plenty of doubters saying they didn't have enough American Football experts on hand. Similarly were the skeptics when coverage was expanded to most of the Playoffs. When Ran NFL started few people gave it more than a year of life, what with having no recognizable faces besides Frank Buschmann (who isn't an American Football expert) and what with the "gimmicky" setup with a "netman" who above all has long hair and speaks in a Brandenburg dialect. As of 2017, numerous other stations wish any of their non-soccer sports coverage were even half as successful.
  • With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, New York Knicks fans were dismayed that the team drafted some guy from Europe that most people had never heard of and those in attendance made their feelings known by booing him. By his third season, Kristaps Porziņģis became the star of the team, one of the first players from that draft class selected to the All-Star Gamenote  and one of the NBA's most versatile players.
  • Sportscaster Michael Lombardi had zero faith in the Philadelphia Eagles' hiring of first-time coach Doug Pederson in 2016. Comparing him to infamously bad basketball coach Roy Rubin and telling them it was a mistake. What did Pederson do? Oh, just take to Philly to the Super Bowl. Which they won (making their first title since 1960). Against Tom Brady and the Patriots. In his second season. Despite this, Pederson would later be fired one week after a disappointing 2020 season as well as disagreements with the Eagles' front office.
  • Aaron Rodgers was the 25th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft (by the Packers), partly because he was seen as a "system quarterback" by various NFL scouts that came as a result of having Jeff Tedford coaching him at Cal; Tedford's quarterbacks at that point failed to perform well in the NFL. After replacing Brett Favre in the 2008 season, Rodgers would help the Packers win Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season, as well as earning three NFL MVP awards (2011, 2014, 2020).
  • Being a brand new expansion team filled with castoffs, no one expected the Vegas Golden Knights to do much in their inaugural season. Even team staff expected at least a 4-5 year span before they'd even entertain the thought of becoming a playoff team. What did Vegas do? Reach The Stanley Cup Finals. Despite losing in 5 games to Washington, they were the story of the hockey season.
  • A football manager sacked by St Mirren in 1978 sued its chairman for wrongful dismissal, but lost the case with the tribunal board concluding, "He possesses, neither by experience nor talent, any managerial ability at all." The manager's name? Alex Ferguson.
  • On the opening day of the 1995/96 Premier League season, Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa, having played a side full of emerging young talent. BBC pundit Alan Hansen insisted that United needed more strength and depth, remarking, "You can't win anything with kids". Those "kids" included David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs, three of the greatest midfielders of their generation, along with Gary Neville and Nicky Butt, who went on to become legends at the club. Oh, and they went on to win the league and the FA Cup that season. Needless to say, Hansen's "you can't win anything with kids" line has become one of the most infamous moments in British sporting history.
  • The 2017 NFL Draft was considered by experts to be a weak class in terms of quarterback talent and many doubted any of the prospects would be viable long term starters. The 2018 season saw all three quarterbacks taken in that draft's first round, Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Mitch Trubisky (Chicago Bears)note , and Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans), named to the Pro Bowl, with Mahomes selected as the NFL MVP. And one of those QB's (Mahomes) won the Super Bowl and was the MVP of that game barely 3 years later.
  • In the 2018 NFL Draft, some analysts side-eyed the Cleveland Browns for taking Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick, with scouts saying that he was too small and lacked the skill set of other top prospects in that draft class, namely Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. Mayfield proved to be exactly what the Browns needed, taking them from being one of the worst teams in the NFL to a respectable contender that even made the playoffs in 2020. And just to put the icing on the cake, Darnold and Rosen, the two quarterbacks everyone thought the Browns should have taken over Mayfield, ended up being average at best.
  • Downplayed in the case for the 2019 LSU Tigers football team. The team was expected to be potential contender for the College Football Playoff, but they were projected to be the runner-up to Alabama, who was expected to be in the Playoff once again, in the SEC West Division. What no one saw coming, however, was that the Tigers, a team who is normally known for their running backs and their defense, would finish with the best offense in the FBS thanks to eventual Heisman winning quarterback Joe Burrow's record-setting performance, throwing for sixty touchdown passes and would lead the team to a perfect 15-0 season, with wins against perennial national powerhouse Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and defending national champions Clemson. Some would consider this team to be one of the best college football teams of all time thanks to their explosive offense.
  • In 1983, a renowned ice dancing team debuted a free dance so risky and cutting-edge that common wisdom said it would either tank their medal chances, or get them disqualified altogether. It was called "Bolero", and it won Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean Olympic gold medals, the only complete set of perfect scores ever awarded in figure skating, the hearts of millions around the world, and an enduring place in the pantheon of Greatest Athletes of All Time.
  • Born from a family line with little accomplishments in terms of horse racing, and with leg shapes deemed undesirable, Sunday Silence was expected by virtually no one to become a successful racehorse, to the point that no one put a price on him when his breeder put him up for sale TWICE, and the breeder, Arthur B. Hancock III, had to buy him back. From there, Sunday Silence went on to win 9 out of the 14 racesnote  he ran from 1989 to 1990, with him finishing the 5 other races in 2nd place; earning him the 1989 American Horse of the Year. Sunday Silence's story doesn't stop there, however; as after his retirement in 1990 due to injuries, Hancock tried to have him stand stud for 10 million dollars but no one took up the offer due to the aforementioned family history. Yoshida Zenyanote , on the other hand, went ahead and bought him for 11 million to stand stud at their farm in Hokkaido, earning them a lot of mockery from Stateside breeders. Sunday Silence would go on to sire so many successful race horses that the Leading Sire of Japan has gone to him or his sires, most notably Deep Impact, for every year since 1995, with the exception of 2009 and 10.
    • Sunday Silence wasn't the only instance the Yoshidas took part in this trope. When Zenya Yoshida told his son Teruya to buy the best sire of Northern Dancer he could get his hands on, Teruya went ahead and bought Northern Taste for $100000, and after several years of racing in France, it was time for the horse to be brought to Japan... It was there that Zenya reportedly saw Northern Taste's small posture and regretted he ever let Teruya have a say in this. Northern Taste ultimately went on to be the leading sire of Japan from 1982 to 1992, with many of its descendants still racing in Japan.
  • Another racer like this was Seabiscuit. He was a grandson of Man o' War, but was smallish and had an odd gait and knobby knees and hadn't won a lot of his first races, which resulted in no takers in his claming races. Things changed when trainer Tom Smith paired him with jockey Red Pollard and he became a champion, even beating his uncle, triple crown winner War Admiral.

    Tabletop Games 
  • After it flopped in Japan, many analysts doubted the viability of Bakugan succeeding in America. It became a huge hit getting new episodes before Japan did and even won an award for the best toy of 2009.
  • Gary Gygax pitched the first iteration of Dungeons & Dragons to various publishers of traditional board– and wargames. He was always turned down with some variation of "Why would anyone want to play a game that has no winner?"

  • Older Than Steam: When Romeo and Juliet premiered, supposedly one reviewer described it as "a mawkish melodrama which, God willing, will see no second performance."
  • Robert Greene, an Elizabethan playwright, wrote an autobiographical pamphlet, Greene's Groats-Worth of Wit, in which he decried all other playwrights of the age. He is now only remembered for the particular contempt he heaped on the "upstart crow" William Shakespeare.
  • In 1948, legendary Broadway producer Cheryl Crawford turned down a play by a young Arthur Miller, arguing that the story was too depressing and the use of flashbacks would confuse the audience. As she later put it in an interview, "Who would want to see a play about an unhappy traveling salesman?"
  • As captured in the documentary Show Business: The Road to Broadway, Avenue Q was considered a risk by a lot of industry people on Broadway, who believed it to be a strange concept that had no chance of catching on and would probably close shortly after it opened. Then the play opened, and it became a critically acclaimed blockbuster with crossover appeal which ultimately won Best Musical at the 2004 Tonys and ran on Broadway for six years.
    • For comparison, three other musicals opening that year were featured in that documentary. The first was Wicked which from the start was pegged to become a phenomenon, which it inevitably became. The other two? Caroline, or Change, the hotly anticipated new work from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, and Taboo, Boy George's autobiographical tribute to the New Romantic scene. Both wound up receiving the fate that some of the interviewees in the documentary had believed Avenue Q was going to get: Caroline, or Change, which was pegged to be the critical darling of the season, received middling reviews and closed after just 136 performances; It's best known now as the first major role for Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony for her supporting role. Taboo, also tipped for success, premiered to scathing reviews and was chased off-Broadway after under 100 performances.
  • When Disney CEO Michael Eisner approached Disney Theatrical Group President Thomas Schumacher about adopting The Lion King into a Broadway musical, Schumacher thought it was "the stupidest idea he ever heard" and there was no way it would work. As of September 2014, the Broadway, West End, and all other productions have generated '$6.2 billion in revenue and several awards.
  • Agatha Christie herself believed that The Mousetrap would only last a few months. Six decades later...
  • A lot of people laughed at Lin-Manuel Miranda when he told them the premise of the new musical he was writing—the story of Alexander Hamilton told through rap and hip-hop. The reaction he got when announcing the opening song at the Obama White House prompted him to say "You laugh but it's true"...
  • Theatre producer Michael Todd was overheard during the intermission of Rogers and Hammerstein's 1943 musical Away We Go! claiming "No jokes, no tits, no chance!" The musical, later renamed Oklahoma!, would go on to run for a then-unprecedented 2,212 performances on its original Broadway run, and popularized the "book musical" style of interweaving songs and story together. Ironically, Mike Todd would later have his name on the 1955 film version of Oklahoma! thanks to naming the widescreen film process it used, Todd-AO, after himself.

    Theme Parks 
  • Back in its early days, Disney Theme Parks in general, when Walt was trying to get funding to build Disneyland. The critics couldn't have been more wrong. Demonstrated by Some Jerk with a Camera.
    Walt Disney: I want to build Me Land!
    Wealthy Businessman: You fool, that'll never work!
    Walt Disney: Hey, look, I built Me Land, and it worked!
    Wealthy Businessman: Good, now build more of them.
  • Disneyland Paris faced this initially, with almost every prominent French intellectual equating its mere existence to the end of civilization as we know it (a journalist for Le Figaro, a right-wing newspaper, even wanted "the rebels" to burn the resort down, and stage director Ariane Mnouchkine called the park "a cultural Chernobyl"). Subverted in that the park almost failed at first (this was when it was called Euro Disney) but was able to rebound and become one of the most visited theme parks in Europe.
  • This was said a lot about the Futuroscope in France at the time of its beginning. It was even nicknamed "Monory's Madness" ("La Folie Monory", from the name of its main instigator, René Monory). But although it has known some difficult times, it is now more than 30 years old, and one of the most visited amusement parks in France (after Disneyland Paris, and along the Parc Asterix and Le Puy du Fou).

  • A (likely apocryphal, given it's the company that made Star Trek toys in the '70s) story says that Mego Corporation was the first company approached to make Star Wars toys, but it turned down the offer because "there's no money in doing toys for every flash-in-the-pan sci-fi B-movie". Kenner took a chance on the Star Wars license instead, and history was made. History that doesn't include Mego, as they went bankrupt in 1982. And while Kenner may have taken the chance, even they had their doubts about Star Wars. They produced a limited line of toys and were caught completely off-guard when the film became a smash hit. By then, it was clear that customers would not be satisfied with the meager puzzles and posters that usually tied-in with a film; they needed action figures, dolls, playsets, and more, all of which could take a year from designing to being in stores. Unable to fulfill orders in time for Christmas, they created an "empty box campaign," in which toys would be mailed as they became available from purchase vouchers.
  • In the mid-80s, a licensing agent tried to get deals for some independent comic. He was turned down by LJN, Mattel and Hasbro, and only a Hong Kong company which was attempting to go stateside bought into the idea, on the condition of also having a cartoon that would help sell this kooky idea about "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". And the gamble by Playmates Toys paid off handsomely, making rejections such as "turtles aren't heroic and green doesn't sell" and "that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard" very shortsighted.
  • Mattel initially passed on Jurassic Park merchandising because they weren't sure how the dinosaur toys could be distinguished from all the other dinosaur toys on the market. They chose Last Action Hero instead, only for it to get destroyed in sales by Jurassic Park and Kenner to come up with the JP logo and the mark all JP toys had on them. Mattel did get a second chance with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, though after Hasbro's toys for Jurassic World proved less than spectacular, and they are doing quite well.
  • Mattel, Hasbro and even Disney's own consumer products division turned down the offer to do Toy Story merchandising, because they weren't sure if they could get anything out in the 8 months before the film was released. Eventually, Disney settled on outsourcing the production of Toy Story toys to an obscure Canadian company by the name of Thinkway Toys, and even then they were unsure if the gamble would pay off since they thought the film would flop. The initial Buzz Lightyear and Woody toys were among the hottest that year's Christmas season, with the Buzz figures in particular selling out nationwide (with it [allegedly] getting so extreme that Buzz Lightyear toys were being sold on the black market), and Disney would partner with Thinkway again several more times. The franchise itself later made a joke about it in the sequel, with Barbie telling the other toys that "retailers did not order enough toys to meet demand".
  • The Toys That Made Us covers a plethora of franchises that, when they were just trying to take off, were rejected by multiple companies for this very reason. Said plethora includes such juggernaut franchises as LEGO, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Barbie, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers.
  • In 1993, a man named Joel Glickman and his brother Bob started up a company to manufacture a construction toy product that would use basic rods and connectors that could be easily attached together to make various constructions. They called their product K'Nex and presented it to Hasbro, Mattel, Lego and Tyco, all of whom turned it down, thinking it wouldn't sell, and it was only through encouragement from Toys "R" Us executives that K'Nex chose to sell the product themselves. And the gamble paid off, as K'Nex became an overnight success, going on to be sold in over 25 countries and even selling building sets based off licensed properties.
  • Several toy companies rejected the idea for My Little Pony when the creator was trying to get it off the ground. Hasbro ultimately accepted the idea and the franchise is now a big hit.

    Video Games 
  • "Americans love gadgets and this is just another gadget," was said in 1977 by a senior executive of Milton Bradley Co., which was the largest and oldest game company in the world at the time, about video games. The company was bought by Hasbro seven years later.
  • Nintendo: This trope is so ingrained in the company's history that the phrase "Nintendo is doomed" is now impossible to take seriously, even though people keep spouting it at the start of nearly every generation.
    • When the NES was first brought to the U.S., it was laughed at due to the industry still recovering from The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 and the idea that the system wasn't "complicated enough". So they packaged it with R.O.B. to pretend it wasn't a video game system, just to get a test launch for it! Two guesses which part of the package is now credited for single-handedly reviving the home video game console industry in North America and the first one doesn't count. Example article here: "Nintendo's Final Solution".
    • One magazine said that the Game Boy (which had a monochrome screen) "was an insult to the average consumer's intelligence" and "The Game Gear and Lynx (both of which had color screens) will make short work of it." But thanks to having a longer battery life on fewer batteries, plus games like Tetris, the Game Boy succeeded, and started Nintendo's handheld console dominance that it still holds to this day.
    • The Nintendo 64's analog stick. Nintendo themselves feared that the analog stick would never be used by third-party game makers, but rather than ditching it, they left the directional pad at the usual left-hand position and placed the analog stick on a third branch in the middle; the idea was that you'd switch hand-positions based on which directional input the game used. The analog stick went on to become the main input method for the vast majority of games on the console, with the D-pad almost universally ignored except as an occasional left-hand alternative to the four C-buttons. Nintendo's competitors quickly launched their own controllers with analog sticks, and every major console since then has included at least one analog stick on its controller.
    • Rumble packs? At the time, Nintendo made it an optional removable peripheral for the N64 because they were worried players would find vibrating controllers too heavy and uncomfortable. This quickly such a staple of console controllers that when Sony received backlash when they attempted to release the PlayStation 3 with a controller lacking the feature.note 
    • In 1996, Nintendo actually said this about a certain pair of "monster-collecting" games, even writing it off as a loss. This was due to the rather unremarkable initial sales, in a market where 80% of the sales are made in the first two weeks. Instead it kept selling steadily, and fast-foward two decades, and Pokémon is one of the biggest Cash Cow Franchises in the world, a feat which also disproved the widespread assumption held by adults and teenagers during the late 1990s that it would be another short-lived fad.
    • When Metroid Prime was first announced, it was immediately set upon for turning the Metroid series, one-half of the trope namer for Metroidvania, into a First-Person Shooter, and for handing the series over to Retro Studios, a new and unknown Texas-based company whose planned non-Metroid projects had all been canceled. Many were quick to call it the death of Metroid just from screenshots alone. Cue its release, and it's now hailed as one of the best games of all time, and a very worthy addition to the franchise.
    • When Satoru Iwata first joined video-game developer HAL Laboratories, his parents were furious. He later became the president of Nintendo, leading the company through its profitable Wii and Nintendo DS era.
    • When the Nintendo DS was first revealed, everyone thought that the company's two-screened oddity would never work and that Sony's much more powerful PlayStation Portable would push Nintendo out of the dedicated gaming portable market. Even Nintendo themselves were worried that it wouldn't catch on and labeled it as the company's "third pillar" alongside the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube in case of failure. The PSP eventually sold a more than respectable 80 million... while the Nintendo DS sold over 150 million, becoming the second best-selling gaming system of all time.
    • The introduction of the Nintendo Wii motion-sensing controller invited lots of derisive skepticism from gamers at the time. Years later, both Sony and Microsoft created new peripherals that allow for motion-controlled gaming on their consoles, and the Wii is the best selling home console of its generation. In 2006, Gamespot predicted that the Wii (then still known by its codename, the Nintendo Revolution) would win the Console Wars in the Seventh Generation, and more importantly, they predicted the exact reasons why it would win.note  The kicker is that they wrote the article as an April Fools' Day joke. The comments section, which is filled mostly with people writing after the Wii did, in fact, beat the PS3 and 360 in a landslide, is glorious. Furthermore, a mock forum conversation brought up near the end had a pro-Sony commenter claiming that "Zelda is like totally lame." while also inferring that it could not carry a console into success. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a Wii launch title, ended up being the Zelda series' biggest console-selling Killer App up to that point.
    • Around the time the Nintendo 3DS launched, many were skeptical about its prospects. They argued that smartphone gaming had vastly eroded the demand for handheld game consoles, and, even if that wasn't the case, that the technologically superior Play Station Vita would blow it out of the waternote . Admittedly, the 3DS did struggle a bit during its first few months due to its high price and lack of games, but it took off following a price cut and the release of some Killer Apps, and went on to sell quite well. Though it never reached the heights of its predecessor, it proved that a market for dedicated gaming portables still existed in the era of smartphones. The Vita, on the other hand, never managed to get a foothold in the market in most of the world save for Japan, where the 3DS still outsold it. Sony kept the Vita on life support for a number of years before finally discontinuing it and announcing that they had no plans for future portables.
    • Super Smash Bros. was not expected to do very well. After all, the original Smash in N64 was a mere side project for Masahiro Sakurai to work during weekends and it had virtually No Budget during development as a result. To the surprise of the company, it was a huge hit to the point that when the Nintendo Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch were unveiled, they all came with the explicit promise of a new entry in the fighting game series. In fact, an old The Legend of Zelda fansite contains old posts from fans who were mad about a Shout-Out to Mario hidden in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. One of the posters mentions that Nintendo had a fighting game coming out featuring various characters from different games, and states that it is a horrible idea that will only lead to disaster.
    • Splatoon was the first Nintendo game primarily designed around online multiplayer and got derided by the general public pre-release for being Lighter and Softer in comparison to other online shooters and for lacking voice chat functionality. It ended up being one of the best-selling games for the Wii U and a Killer App for the console in Japan, becoming the first entry in one of Nintendo's most popular franchises.
    • Super Mario Maker was originally disregarded as a simplistic Mario Spin-Off prior its release. Then the 2015 Nintendo World Championships happened. After release, the game is almost considered a main title in the franchise, as not only does the Level Editor surpass many fanmade ones, but also it includes brand new gameplay elements and its Platform Hell potential contrasted with the more-casual New Super Mario Bros. games.
    • The Nintendo Switch. The reveal of the Switch in 2016 was on the mixed side, especially following the Wii U's underperformance. Many dismissed it as yet another underpowered Nintendo console with a stupid gimmick. It launching with less than ten titles, most of them being ports, didn't help the perception that it could be dead-on-arrival, with pundits like Colin Moriarty being certain that Nintendo learned nothing from their past mistakes. Except they did: better marketing, a new first-party title every month (including games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey), and third-party support from popular indie studios helped the console outsell its predecessor before year's end. And by the end of its fifth year on the market, it had sold more than the Wii, becoming their best-selling home console of all-time.
    • Despite all this, it should be noted that Nintendo has been guilty of this themselves sometimes, often dismissing and rejecting emergent trends and technologies in the video game industry, and then having to play catch-up. Famous examples include targeting older demographicsnote , optical disc technology, multimedia capabilities like DVD playback, high definition graphics, and online connectivity. Nintendo's eventual implementation of the latter has been a major point of criticism, especially after they started charging for online services with the Nintendo Switch.
  • It's hard to imagine now, but the Sony PlayStation received this reception from many people before it released. For context, the early 1990's saw a flood of new consoles that tried and ultimately failed to make a dent in the market. Some of them were also from large and established electronics manufacturers, and so many industry commentators saw Sony as the latest of such companies trying to brute force themselves into the console market. For all these people knew, the PlayStation would suffer the same fate as the CD-i or the 3DO, proving that video games were best left to dedicated game companies like Nintendo and Sega. Not only did Sony succeed where Panasonic, Phillips, and others had failed, they managed to outsell their competition from said dedicated game companies more than twice over, and even ousted one of them (Sega) from the hardware market. The success of the PlayStation (more specifically the competition it posed to PC gaming), also inspired another large company, Microsoft, to successfully launch their own line of consoles as well, ironically leaving Nintendo as the only remaining console manufacturer to be entirely dedicated to gaming.
  • The entire The Eighth Generation of Console Video Games got this when it first began in 2012 and 2013. The late Turn of the Millennium and early New Tens saw the rise of many alternatives to traditional game consoles, such as mobile gaming and gaming through social networking sites like Facebook. The accessibility and ease of use of the platforms attracted huge numbers of casual gamers to them, which led many pundits to speculate that new game consoles wouldn't stand a chance in this market. However, this generation went on to defy these predictions and become enormously successful...for one console at least. While the PlayStation 4 ignored these dire warnings and saw great success by doubling down on appealing to the core gaming market, for the Xbox One and Wii U, their attempts to heed these warnings ended up making them a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy since their moves to attract casual users (the Wii U GamePad and Kinect) failed to impress that audience and ended up alienating hardcore gamers.
  • Famed video game designer Eugene Jarvis had this happen to him with his very first game, Defender. When the game made its debut at the 1980 AMOA expo, almost nobody thought that the game would do well, due to its complex control scheme. Instead, they thought that the maze game Rally-X would be huge. Nowadays, nobody remembers Rally X outside of an occasional appearance on a Namco Museum compilation, while Defender sold 50,000 arcade cabinets and is fondly remembered. Those same expo attendees also dismissed Pac-Man as too repetitive, and again cited Rally X as the best game at the show. Makes you wonder what they saw in Rally X...
  • Hideo Kojima was apparently told: "Hiding from your enemies? That's not a game!" Then, well...
  • Sega of Japan's CEO Hayao Nakayama was presented an idea by Sega of America that the company could jointly produce and market with a second party a videogame console that used optical discs, with the two companies splitting whatever losses were made by the system. Nakayama called it a stupid idea on the basis that the second party had no experience developing videogame-based software or hardware. The second party in question was Sony, who had formally worked with and was sidelined by Nintendo on what would have been a CD-based add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (ironically, an idea inspired by the Sega CD). Sony ultimately continued the project by themselves, which debuted onto the videogame scene as the Sony PlayStation – a disc-based videogame console that dominated The Fifth Generation of Console Video Games. Both the PS1 and successor PS2 would also be successful enough to help drive Sega out of the console business.
  • Sega's CEO hoped Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games would sell 4 million (for both versions of the first game). The gaming press laughed at him. The first game sold over 12 million copies for both versions, which later games continuing to be million-sellers.
  • ScrewAttack believed Sonic Colors would be a Franchise Killer after the polarizing reception to Sonic the Hedgehog 4. They were wrong. And even gave it a very high score.
  • Final Fantasy was thought to be this by its own creators – it was intended to be the swansong for the entire company. Said game ended up being considered one of the defining examples of a JRPG, and as such, it was a success. Thirty years (and counting), fifteen, soon to be sixteen flagship titles, several dozen spinoffs, gaiden games and sequels, and even some movies later? Well let's just say this Fantasy is far from Final.
  • The Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console, used cartridges, but not in the way that we're used to them today; instead of having the game itself on the cartridge, it just rearranges the circuitry in the console to vary the game. Near the end of the Odyssey's run, its inventor, Ralph Baer, suggested that Magnavox should manufacture "active" cartridges with additional circuitry to vary the gameplay and create more elaborate games. His superiors dismissed the idea as "not worth the effort."
  • One Italian gaming magazine wrote something along the lines of "From what I've seen the game doesn't seem too bad, but I'm ready to bet this Half-Life will be forgotten in a heartbeat".
  • COMPUTE!'s Guide to Adventure Games, from 1984, includes a chapter that speculates about how adventure games might look in the future. Apparently, the games played by "your grandchildren" will be simply Interactive Fiction, except with better writing, a more intelligent parser and, who knows, maybe they'll even be voice-controlled! The idea that they might be mostly visual is dismissed since it would take too much memory to record that many full-motion video cutscenes for every possible action, saying that though the idea of live-rendered graphics is conceivable, it would likely be limited to stock elements pieced together and resemble the stiff appearance of cartoons. They do state near the end that "all these speculations about the future will undoubtedly be proved wrong in many details," but it's clear they're erring on the side of caution... even if many of said cautious predictions ironically didn't come to fruition until The New '10s while the ideas they dismissed as too advanced long overtook them.
  • The Xbox, full stop: The press, people like Hiroshi Yamauchi (Nintendo's then CEO) and almost everybody in the Western world thought that designing a console will never be a job ever again for anyone outside Japan, after the colossal flop that the Atari Jaguar was six years prior. Now Microsoft is currently supporting the fourth iteration of the console, after the success of the previous three generations. Though none of the Xbox line have ever dominated the market, it's maintained a steady second/third-place position for over a decade, and has pioneered numerous features that other platforms have since copied.note 
    • Seamus Blackley recalls that, during the development of the original Xbox, numerous video game executives told his team that it was a waste to include network connectivity in the console and to build a centralized online service for it, because "Console players don't want to play online." Other critics thought the idea had merit but that it was too ambitious since the service required a broadband Internet connection, which were still rare at the start of the Turn of the Millennium. Xbox Live went onto become the defining feature of the console and a pioneering online service in games as a whole, with future console online services such as Play Station Network and even PC services like Steam taking cues from it.
  • Shu Takumi, the creator of Ace Attorney (known as Gyakuten Saiban in Japan), among other series, apparently got this when he proposed the idea for the protagonist of his new detective-based, mystery-solving game being a lawyer. Fast forward over 15 years and the series has 6 main games, two spin-offs, a crossover, a cinema movie, musicals, manga, an anime, art books, and a hefty fan base both in and out of Japan.
  • On the "making of" featurette found on Mega Man Anniversary Collection, Keiji Inafune claims Capcom had zero faith in his game and told him it would never catch on. He then goes on to admit that if he had been in their place, he would have said the same thing.
  • Digital Illusions CE's Pinball Dreams was rejected by Bitmap Brothers (one of the biggest Amiga developers) publisher Renegade because they thought pinball games wouldn't sell. The game was published by 21st Century Entertainment and became one of the best sellers in the later period of the Amiga's popularity and was converted to several platforms of the time, such as DOS and the SNES.
  • Kingdom Hearts. Just about everyone made fun of the concept and believed that such a strange collaboration (between Square Enix and Disney) just wouldn't work... until they actually played the game. Fifteen years later, the series is currently one of Square's biggest franchises, with number ten its most recent release, and earlier entries still being remastered and ported.
  • In an interview with Game Informer, Infinity Ward, one of the developers of the Call of Duty series, admitted that the first Modern Warfare was deemed this by Activision in the middle of development, always being put down and told it wouldn't work because World War II shooters were still in style to a degree and that was what the franchise should stick to – in fact, what became Modern Warfare was the second game they wanted to do, and they had to agree to do another WWII-based Call of Duty beforehand to get development kits for the Xbox 360. Then the first Modern Warfare easily outsold all of its predecessors, spawned a lengthy trend of sequels, reinvigorated the genre as well as expanded the franchise's name to casual audiences, and caused a new wave of modern day military shooters.
    • It also created a sort of irony with the direct follow-up by Treyarch, World at War (made as a fallback in case Modern Warfare's shift to the present day didn't stick), being derided by critics as being just yet another World War II shooter as well as a reskin of Modern Warfare, and only even sold as well as it did primarily because of Nazi Zombies. This industry opinion turnover was so large that it happened in just one year.
    • Happened again in reverse four years later with Call of Duty: Black Ops II, this time Treyarch brought forth a wave of futuristic shooters from the 2025 sections, while Infinity Ward's Ghosts wasn't as well received for being seen as too similar to the Modern Warfare trilogy, and gave futuristic shooters their time in the market limelight (although according to everyone after Infinite Warfare's trailer, the series needs to go back to its roots, which is why everyone only bought Infinite Warfare for Modern Warfare Remastered).
  • No one, not even Kensuke Tanaka, the producer of KanColle, thought the number of Admirals (players) would exceed 50,000 when the game was launched in April of 2013. In fact, he stated in several interviews that he had initially planned to launch a final event, with the enemy making an invasion and destroying everything, before folding the game on August 15thnote . The number of Admirals exceeded 3 million as of May 2015, and the popularity of this game has helped models of the ships the characters were based on to find a new market.
    • Within the fandom, admirals were not excited about the fact that one of the new ships that were to be added for the Fall Event in 2015 was the 2nd ship of the Katori-class training cruiser, Kashima, due to how Katori's stats were not that great compared to other cruisers, and that the bonus XP she gave during PvP exercises were not that great. She ended up becoming so popular that she got several limited character graphics since, and her Fan Nickname has become "Queen of Ariake" after she became the subject of so many doujinshis immediately after she was added in the game.
  • After the release of the first John Madden Football, EA's management was interested in developing a sequel, but they were told by market researchers and retailers that "you can't sequel sports games". Two decades later, Madden is one of the most successful video game series of all time, and annualized sports games are the rule rather than the exception.
  • DONTNOD Entertainment, the makers of Remember Me and Life Is Strange, had to fight to get female protagonists into both games, as publishers felt that male gamers wouldn't want to play as a woman. In the case of Life is Strange, they went with Square Enix as a publisher simply because they were the only studio that wasn't telling them to change Max Caulfield into a boy. While Remember Me got a fairly mixed reception, Dontnod's doggedness paid off handsomely with Life is Strange, which won acclaim as one of the best games of 2015, at least partly on the strength of its story, and a not insignificant reason was because of the protagonist. Life is Strange is still seeing new releases after the original concluded, with a prequel, sequel, and second sequel on its way.
  • When George Wood of Gaming in the Clinton Years reviewed GoldenEye (1997), he said at one point that he can't review the multiplayer because he only had one controller, then brushes it off by stating that "no one buys a game specifically for multiplayer options" (interestingly mirroring how the multiplayer itself was a last-minute addition thrown together in a couple of hours, and only remained in the game because anybody who'd want it gone didn't notice it until it was too late). GoldenEye ended up becoming one of the most successful console FPSes in the '90s primarily because of its multiplayer. And nowadays, damn near everyone who plays FPSes plays 'em for the multiplayer, especially after the introduction online play meant that you no longer needed to invite friends over to play multiplayer. As early as 1999, multiplayer-only FPS games such as Quake III: Arena started to come out. It eventually got to the point where it was a shock when something like Wolfenstein: The New Order came out without multiplayer.
  • One of the last games released for the original PlayStation was a First-Person Shooter based on Alien: Resurrection, which featured an experimental control scheme. GameSpot's review, which ultimately gave the game a 4.7 out of 10, calls the game's control setup "its most terrifying element" – and then goes on to describe what any gamer will immediately recognize as the standard dual analog control scheme used by every single console FPS made since the turn of the millennium. For a double whammy, the review ends recommending that fans of FPSes or the Alien franchise wait for Aliens: Colonial Marines instead. That game's page can speak for itself.
  • When G4TV merged with Tech TV, it introduced a lot of fans of the latter to a show called "Arena", which was just some people playing multiplayer games against each other, with commentary. Some people felt that there was no future in watching someone else play video games. As far as anyone can tell, the Let's Play was invented a few years later, and now Pewdiepie's a zillionaire, Twitch streaming is huge, and eSports are so popular that some get broadcast on TV.
  • Once upon a time, a tired and discouraged developer decided to make one more game before ending his gaming career and went on Kickstarter to get it funded. It made a total of ZERO dollars. Not to mention, his previous games had gotten heavily panned. He still managed to get the game released and hoped for the best. The game in question? Five Nights at Freddy's, which has spawned five sequels, with a sixth on the way and a film adaptation in the works.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of The Witcher book series, sold the rights to make video games based on his books to CD Projekt RED for a lump sum of less than $10,000, believing that the games wouldn't sell well enough to justify asking for royalties based on sales. In interviews given after the success of the game series, particularly the third one which became one of the best selling games of all time, Sapkowski naturally expresses regret at this arrangement.
    Sapkowski: I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch. They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said, ‘No, there will be no profit at all — give me all my money right now! The whole amount.’ It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn’t believe in their success. But who could foresee their success? I couldn’t.
  • When the PC creativity game Barbie Fashion Designer was being set for release, the creators were met with skepticism at a girls-oriented computer game doing any well. When the producer was trying to sell it to major stores, an executive at Toys R Us reportedly told her, "Girls are never going to buy this". It ended up not only becoming a surprise commercial success at release, but it also ended up outselling both Quake AND Command & Conquer: Red Alert that year, and ended up influencing more publishers to look into a girls-targeted market of PC gaming.
  • The developers of Elite found it difficult to sell the game to most publishers at the time, who were mostly looking for more arcade-like games as opposed to Elite's Wide-Open Sandbox. With AcornSoft and Firebird behind it, Elite became one of the most successful and influential games of The '80s.
  • The director of The Idolmaster, Akihiro Ishihara, showed an early plan of Cinderella Girls to his higher-ups, who opposed to it, saying "It won't sell". He went ahead with it anyway and it's now by far the biggest money-making branch of the franchise.
  • A certain team at Konami was told to create a game to compete with Resident Evil, and were basically told to make a complete copy of its tone and gameplay. Instead, the team focused the game around more mature and slow-burn horror that, rather than appealing to players' reflexes, it appealed to primal fears and genuine anxiety within the mind of those who played. As a result of this shift, Konami wasn't happy with the game's developers, but the game was released anyway. The game in question was Silent Hill, and it spawned a franchise that has had some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.
  • In 2015, after seeing the success of League of Legends, Tencent Games who owned Riot Games asked them to port the game into mobile, seeing that mobile devices were gaining momentum amongst the Chinese crowd. Riot Games rejected the idea, thinking that it's implausible to do it. Tencent then decided to contact their other subsidiary, TiMi, to just make their own 'mobile League'. After awhile developing, they came up with Honor of Kings, which proceeded to dominate the local Chinese market and it grew so big that they decided to port it internationally as Arena of Valor, building up their own reputation amongst Mobile gamers and showing the world (along with the rival game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang) that mobile MOBA experience is completely viable. It's enough to finally convince Riot to port League of Legends into mobile as League of Legends: Wild Rift, better late than never.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Videos 
  • Achievement Hunter:
    • An example with their Tower of Pimps. Beginning as drunken buffoonery on the part of Gavin Free in episode 2 of Let's Play Minecraft, using loads of Ray's gold to build four gold blocks and place them outside a house. When it is torn down by the others, he declares that the Tower of Pimps was not a success. In later videos, this became the prize for winning competitions in their Let's Play Minecraft episodes, and even became an Ascended Meme in Minecraft itself.
    • In the "Halo 4: Terminus Achievement Guide", Gavin messes up his mic test and accidentally calls himself "Vav". Later, we get this as part of a Seinfeldian Conversation between Gavin and Ray:
      Gavin: Do people ever call you "X-Ray"?
      Ray: No. Under no context does anybody call me "X-Ray". Why would they call me "X-Ray"? Because Ray is my name?
      Gavin: New nickname!
      Ray: [laughs] Let's see if that sticks.
    • Less than a month later, not only did "X-Ray and Vav" become their official team name within Achievement Hunter, but they developed a complex backstory for the nicknames as the aliases of a duo of wannabe superheroes, which Rooster Teeth made into a cartoon two years later.
  • Critical Role:
    • Neither Matthew Mercer nor the rest of the cast had any great expectations for a stream of "a bunch of nerdyass voice actors sitting down and [playing] Dungeons & Dragons". Mercer gave it a few episodes before going back to play at his house. The show exploded in popularity nearly immediately, and once more as people in quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic discovered it. Critical Role Productions is now its own company, overseeing the eponymous flagship show, spinoff shows (Talks Machina, Narrative Telephone, Critter Hug, etc.), publishing their own games (via Darrington Press), and the world of Exandria is now official D&D canon (via the acknowledgment of Arkhan acquiring the Hand of Vecna and the publishing of Explorer's Guide to Wildemount)!
    • The cast got hit with this again when they went to raise money on Kickstarter for a single animated special of the Briarwood arc, not expecting much. The Critters overdelivered — stretch goals kept being added and they kept hitting them. At the end of the campaign, Amazon Prime picked The Legend of Vox Machina up for two whole seasons.

    Western Animation 
  • Eddie Selzer, the second producer for Looney Tunes, was notorious for this, to the point that the animators typically worked off the assumption he was never right about anything and did the opposite of what he suggested. He claimed that a certain romantic French skunk wasn't funny, only to accept the Oscar for the Pepé Le Pew short, For Scent-imental Reasons. He claimed that bullfights weren't funny either, causing Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese to create what ended up becoming one of Bugs Bunny's more memorable cartoons, Bully for Bugs. He also felt that the Tasmanian Devil was too obnoxious of a character and ordered no more cartoons made featuring him. It wasn't until studio boss Jack Warner asked him to make more that he complied.
  • When the cast of a now-classic newspaper comic first received a cartoon, they did so with actual children's voices, no Laugh Track, and even a reading of The Bible incorporated into the middle. CBS executives saw the special and told the producers that while they already had a slot reserved for weeks, they would probably never air any cartoons of that comic again. Surprisingly, nearly 50% of American TV viewers tuned in to the special, it would later win a Peabody, and several other Peanuts cartoons would air for decades.
  • Two relatively unknown animators pitched their idea for a show to network after network for sixteen years, only for them to be told again and again that its premise was too complicated to work in children's television. Eventually, on a whim, Disney picked up the show for 26 episodes. The result? Well, let's just say that after an eight-year run, Phineas and Ferb did, indeed, do it all.
  • In 2009, Hasbro, impressed with their success in rebooting Transformers, gave a veteran female animator the challenge of giving another franchise of theirs the same treatment. Many people believed that it would be just another saccharine toy commercial, much like the franchise's previous incarnations. Despite this, The Hub aired the pilot episode on the channel's first broadcast date, October 10, 2010. What no-one counted on, however, was a little site called 4chan discovering the episode, to discover that not only was it better than what had come before and was actually watchable, but also that they liked it. The resulting fandom spread across the Internet like wildfire, and nine seasons, one spin-off franchise, one theatrical movie, an ongoing comic book adaptation, and tons of merchandise (and millions of dollars) later, and it's the longest-running TV show in Hasbro's history, and a cultural touchstone of The New '10s. Who would have thought a show called My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic would become such a pop culture juggernaut?
    • Ironically, one of the key factors in the show's current popularity was one particular such complaint. The sensationalist nature of the article "The End of the Creator-Driven Era in TV Animation," which infamously claimed, "Watching names like Rob Renzetti and Lauren Faust pop up in the credits of a toy-based animated series like My Little Pony is an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry" (the possibility that the show might actually be good apparently having never crossed the author's mind), attracted the attention of 4chan's /co/ board. Many who would never have otherwise watched a show aimed at young girls were driven by their subsequent curiosity to do just that, and the discovery that the show not only wasn't bad but was, in fact, excellent, led to its spread across the board, the rest of 4chan, and soon the entire internet.
    • Pv P produced this comic in 2002, noting that while many 1980s properties might be revived, My Little Pony would not be one of them. Cue the massive fandom for Friendship is Magic eight years later, who naturally dug the comic back up to laugh at.
  • In the late '90s, a cartoonist went to Nickelodeon executives with a cartoon idea. The executives thought it was an absurd idea and thought it would never become popular. After having the pilot episode pitched to them though, the executives stepped out of the room because they were exhausted from laughing. They picked it up and it became extremely popular during its second and third seasons, spawning tons of merchandise and displacing Rugrats as the channel's most successful property. What was this cartoon? SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • Lou Scheimer recounted through interviews that the major networks passed on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), skeptical of it being a success. When CBS, NBC, and ABC turned it down, he decided to have it air in the first-run syndication through various independent TV networks across the USA — a move unheard of at the time. When the show turned out to be a smash hit, Scheimer recalled that the major networks became angry and wouldn't speak to him.
  • Adventure Time's pilot was created for a shorts program meant to air on Nickelodeon. When it was decided to pitch the show for a potential series, the show was rejected for being too random, with the network demanding numerous changes for them to even consider greenlighting it. Creator Pen Ward refused and Nickelodeon eventually gave him the rights to the show back, at which point he pitched it to his new employer, Cartoon Network, who immediately ordered two seasons. Fast-forward a few years and Adventure Time is a Cash-Cow Franchise credited not only as being the show to rescue the channel from its Network Decay, but also as the genesis for more creative and serialized storytelling in television Western Animation as a whole, winning countless awards. This might be the reason why Nick chose to greenlite shows with "random" elements like Breadwinners.
  • At one point during the development of VeggieTales, Phil Vischer sent the show's test footage to Nickelodeon after hearing they were searching for original animated shows for the fledgling network. The rejection letter apparently said Nickelodeon was not interested in producing computer-animated shows. It's likely the success of VeggieTales led to Nick greenlighting The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.
  • When The Simpsons was given an "upgrade" to full series in 1989, even Matt Groening only expected it to last just a couple years. It's now lasted over 30 seasons and counting.
  • The School Library Journal tore apart the original Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat book, saying it fell short of "the standards set by innovative artists working within the Chinese tradition" (whilst seemingly forgetting that the book's author, Amy Tan, is of Chinese descent), called the titular cat "strictly a commercial product" and then concluded it by saying the book was "hardly worth considering." We presume the critic who wrote the review had a heart attack when they found out it had been turned into a PBS Kids series.
  • Brazilian voice actress Monica Rossi said she hated working on the dub of Dungeons & Dragons, and would've never guess that show would become very popular in the country, and that she'd never guess that decades later she'd be asked about her work as Diana.
  • The night The Flintstones premiered it received mixed reviews, with Variety calling it "a pen-and-ink disaster" in a particularly scathing article. The series went on to be a smashing success, lasting six seasons on prime-time television and becoming the first animated programme to be nominated for an Emmy. Nowadays, it is considered a classic.

  • The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation, published in 1984 by Christopher Cerf and Victor Nevasky, is an entire book of quotations by experts being wrong, either through a lack of information or a lack of imagination. Lord Kelvin practically gets a section of his own.
  • After Darwin's paper on Natural Selection — the precursor to On the Origin of Species — was first made public before the Linnean Society on July 1, 1858, Thomas Bell later remarked in the annual presidential report presented in May 1859 that "The year which has passed has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear." And to some degree, he was right — scientists had long suspected that evolution was happening, and all kinds of mechanisms had been suggested before. Of course, natural selection went into a long recession not that long afterward, as it wasn't until the (re)discovery of Mendelian genetics that anyone could figure out how new traits could be passed down without being diluted out of existence.
  • According to legend, Fred Smith, later founder of FedEx, pitched his idea for a mailing company as a college assignment and failed it because the teacher found it "unrealistic" or "unworkable".
    "I don't really remember what grade I got. I probably didn't get a good one though, because it wasn't a very well thought out paper." — Fred Smith on his college paper.
  • In 1930, Robert Millikan, of the oil drop experiment fame, wrote in his book Science and the New Civilization that liberating energy from the disintegration of atoms was "from the one point of view a childish Utopian dream and from the other a foolish bugaboo." Fifteen years later, he was proven wrong in the most spectacular possible way.
  • JEM Rubber Co offered the idea of the whoopee cushion to S.S. Adams Co. but was rejected, with Adams claiming it was "too vulgar" and would never sell. Instead, the Johnson Smith Company accepted the offer and sold them to great success. Adams went on to copy them with the Razzberry Cushions.
  • There once was a young man who wasn't quite sure about which subject he should study. He was torn between music and physics. One professor he approached about this problem urged him to take music because in the field of physics "everything has already been discovered". Despite this, the young man decided to become a physicist. 45 years later, the not-so-young-anymore man — whose name was Max Planck — received a Nobel Prize. Today, he's known as one of the main people responsible for discovering quantum physics and has several institutes, a prize, and a physical constant named after him.
  • Wendy's founder Dave Thomas said in one interview that he had never expected Wendy's to have more than five locations at most. As of 2010, he was off by about 6,650.
  • Heinz Guderian mentioned few times in his different books that he had a hard time convincing higher-ups in German military about the concept of mobile warfare and wide use of tanks. Everyone rebuked him with lines close to "Tanks and trucks? Just a fad, cavalry is the only mobile force needed". And that was after World War I, the same war that proved just how much cavalry is useless in modern combat (the poor horses can never carry enough armor to avoid getting torn to shreds by modern weapons, and "mounted infantry" provide few advantages different from motorized or mechanized infantry). Now try to find a person who won't connect Blitzkrieg tactics with Nazi Germany.
    • Guderian's role in the development of the German tank arm is much exaggerated. While his book Achtung Panzer was indeed revolutionary, it was also his first publication on tank warfare, published only in 1937. During the early 1920s, other German military officers, such as Ernst Volckheim (who led the first experimental German tank unit into battle during World War I), were already formulating parameters of the future German tank arm and they were influential enough for the top brass to set up a secret test center in Russia where they could experiment on tank designs and tactics with the Soviets.
    • The actual innovation that Guderian proposed was using tanks as a separate unit while supported by infantry. Standard tank doctrine dating back to WWI was that tanks were to be widely dispersed to support infantry, envisioning them as helping infantry units to break through trenches. Many other military minds had advocated the same thing, but Guderian gets a lot of the credit for actually putting it into practice in Poland and especially in France where his tactics defeated a much larger army in a far shorter time period than anyone expected (with helpful assists from a panicked French government).
    • It is also debatable whether or not there was a concept of "Blitzkrieg" as an overall doctrine. Guderian's main contributions were tactical: the strategy of maneuver warfare was familiar to the German military, and it could be argued that this was merely a technological evolution of doctrines dating from the mid-19th century.
      • Blitzkrieg was born of necessity rather than previous innovation. Hitler demanded the successful invasion of Poland and France (something that Germany spent four years and millions of lives trying to do during WWI). To top it all off, the German industry was incapable at the time of supporting a total war, meaning if it wasn't done quickly, it wouldn't be done at all. Nobody expected such a crazy plan to work, yet it totally caught on. In fact, most of Germany's top military officials at the time didn't even want a war because they were afraid that Germany was going to lose badly if it did happen. So they put up an idea that they thought would turn him off of the idea: another round of trench warfare like what had happened in World War One. Unfortunately for them, a single maveric glory-seeking general decided to put up his own plan, which was basically doing everything the exact opposite way of what everyone else was proposing.
  • In the eighteenth century, Thomas Malthus became one of the first people to raise concern about the danger of overpopulation. He predicted that the world would run out of food by 1890. Although, to be fair, a modified version of Malthus' theory did gain some currency in the 20th century, seeming plausible until the Green Revolution. Generally now the issue isn't food production so much, but distribution (which is largely a political, not technological, problem), or the growing problem of ocean dead zones.
  • When Ronnie Barrett was attempting to develop the now-famous .50-caliber anti-materiel rifle that shares his name early in The '80s, he ran into this hurdle. After sketching what the weapon would look like, he approached multiple machine shops with his design. Almost everyone he visited told him that if such a weapon was in any way a good idea, someone smarter would have already designed it.
  • An Italian immigrant to the US once thought up an idea for a centralized commercial and residential telephone directory, "The Trader's Guide", but everyone shot him down – that is, except a Spanish telephone company, who replied him using an International Reply Coupon (IRC). Thus, he, after discovering that such IRCs were paid at the cost of postage in the country of origin and could be exchanged for stamps in the country of redemption, and that post-WWI inflation had devalued the US$ value of stamps in his country, Italy, so that he could make over 400% profit, he borrowed money and asked relatives in Italy to send him some IRCs. However, he ran into some red tape, so he asked his friends to invest some money in his idea. It would grow and grow so many times over that he became rich and didn't bother with IRCs anymore – he just repaid older investors with money from newer ones. This collapsed and the immigrant's name, Charles Ponzi, would become forever associated with similar schemes. Later, the Yellow Pages were introduced, taking influence from Ponzi's Trader's Guide.
  • In 1962, Lou Groen created the Filet-O-Fish, a fish burger with cheese for McDonald's, in response to Catholics not eating red meat on Fridays. However, company owner Ray Kroc thought the Filet-O-Fish would never sell and believed his own burger, the Hula Burger, a burger with grilled pineapple and cheese, would be a much bigger hit. Both men made a bet where they sold their burgers in two different locations to see who can sell the most, with the winner getting their burger added to the McDonald's menu. As you can guess, Groen won the bet. And to add insult to injury for Kroc, not only was the Filet-O-Fish a hit with Catholics but also with Muslims and Jews as well because it adheres to their dietary laws.
  • The Japanese Chindōgu is basically about making useless inventions, like duster slippers for a cat so that it can clean the floor while walking. A book on these came out in 1995... it included the selfie stick.
  • Paul Winchell, best known as the first voice of Tigger, was an inventor as well as an actor and in 1963 he attempted to patent the idea of disposable razors. At the time disposable razor blades were common, but the idea of a full razor that would be used only once and be thrown away was ridiculous so the patent was refused.
  • Cicero once outlined the various theories about how matter and the universe are structured, detailing evidence for and against each one... except for Democritus's atomic theory, which he felt was so obviously wrong he didn't need to bother disproving it. This turned out closest to modern physics.