Movies Advertised as Something Else
Working for a movie studio’s marketing division can not be an easy feat, especially nowadays where movies have such a high threshold to be profitable. If need be, studios have proven that they are not above some false advertising. Here are some movies which were advertised as something completely different than they ended up being.
Drive: If you watched the trailers for Drive you probably would have assumed it was another entry in the Fast & Furious franchise. I do not think anyone would fault you as the people behind this ad campaign wanted you to believe this Ryan Gosling-vehicle would be a fast-paced macho car flick. Instead what we got was an intense and meditative neo-noir featuring a strong but silent main character. Working as a stunt driver by day and a getaway driver for criminals by night, the Driver develops feelings for his new neighbor which leads him into a world of trouble. Those who went in with an open mind were blown away by this film as it cultivated a strong cult following, but those hoping for the Fast & Furious-inspired movie that was advertised were disappointed to say the least. One moviegoer felt so betrayed he even filed a lawsuit against the studio.
Observe and Report: In the 2000’s Seth Rogen was proving himself to be a force in comedy. His laid back stoner charm and everyman likability earned big box office dollars starting with his breakout performance in Knocked Up. His luck seemed to run up with 2009’s Observe and Report a dark comedy which saw him play a bi-polar mall cop hunting down a flasher. The problem was this movie came out as Paul Blart: Mall Cop which featured fellow comedic actor Kevin James as a mall cop. Tone and humor wise these movies could not have been more far apart, but while Paul Blart was critically panned it pulled in the box office dough which no doubt rubbed off on them. The problem was that audiences were not about to sit through a second rate Paul Blart and avoided this movie in droves.
Bridge to Terabithia: If a studio plays their cards right they can have a hit with Young Adult fantasy adaptation. During 2000’s studios were clamoring for their own Harry Potter style hit franchise be it Chronicles of Narnia or Eragon. Disney was hoping to win audiences with a movie version of Katherine Paterson’s classic coming-of-age novel. An artistic-minded kid named Jess befriends the imaginative Leslie and together in the woods they create the fantastical world of Terabithia. What follows is a heartfelt story of two young people learning about friendship and loss with an ending which hits the emotions hard. Despite the very grounded nature of this tale, Disney and Walden Media went hard in the trailer playing up the fantasy elements of the imaginary land of Terabithia, missing the point of the movie’s core.
Hulk: The superhero movie boom was in its dynamic infancy with the likes of Spider-Man and the X-Men hitting the silver screen. Joining them was the Incredible Hulk set to be directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee. True the director of Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon may seem like an unusual choice to helm a superhero blockbuster……but that’s because he was an unusual choice. Waiting until fully into the film’s second act until Bruce Banner hulks out (against Hulkified poodles no less) viewers hoping for Hulk Smash! were subjected to a somber and slow examination of Bruce Banner’s relationship with his estranged father. Fans hoping for Jade Jaws to throws hands with the Abomination are out of luck as the villain is Banner’s father who becomes a second rate Absorbing Man in a tacked on end. Luckily the Incredible Hulk was returned back to Marvel who rehabilitated the character within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.