10 Famous Movies That Had Awful Trailers

Judging the quality of a movie through its trailer is a famous ritual among cinematic audiences. However, some movies have deceived these conceptions and have been ranked among the famous movies of their era.

Following are some of the movies that have proved that the first impression isn't the last: 

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Photo Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

Deprived of audience attention, The Shawshank Redemption initially faced backlash. It is a thriller Story of the unfair imprisonment of a banker, Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, whose struggle to survive remains under the clouds. The trailer's lack of character development and ambiguous plot hides its hope and friendship theme. However, positive word of mouth reveals its true essence soon. 

2. Rocky Series (1976-2023)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Initially receiving discouraging reviews, Rocky is now known as one of the best movies in the sports genre. It features the story of an underdog fighter from Philadelphia who gains fame after fighting a heavyweight champion. The themes of self-development and hope were not covered in the trailer. Still, the remarkable acting of Sylvester Stallone ranked its status from an underrated movie to one of the most successful movies. 

3. The Princess Bride (1987)

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

A love story placed in the fantasy world, The Princess Bride trailer initially failed to express its emotional core of love and humor. However, the efforts of the cast, including Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, soon conveyed the true essence of the story. The film also won a Hugo Award and placed itself as one of the finest films of its era.

4. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting (1997)
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

The trailer showed a troubled man, Will Hunting, a genius mathematician, being helped by a psychiatrist named Dr. Sean Maguireto. However, the trailer downplayed the emotional, philosophical, and importance of human relationships, which amazed the audience. The film is still ranked 8.3/10 on IMDb and has been nominated for various awards.

5. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Revolving around the life of a teenager named Napoleon, the trailer depicts his awkward high school life and family. However, the trailer hides the elements of Napoleon's emotional growth and self-development, which become their reason for popularity afterward. The transformation and struggles made it a heartwarming movie in the coming-of-age genre.

6. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Photo Credit: Working Title Films.

Created by Noah Howley, The Big Lebowski was expected to win hearts as the film Fargo did. However, its trailer portrays the story of confusing identity and reclaiming of the rug by the mistaken victim, named “The Dude,” which arouses audience nuisance. But upon its release, the personal journey of “The Dude” and commentary on materialism and modern social life elevated its rank, ranking as one of the famous comedic and action movies.

7. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Navigating the life of five high school teenagers, The Breakfast Club was considered another coming-of-age movie, as painted by its trailer. It's the same stereotypical scenario. However, the character development and exploration of social issues created relatability and deeper connections with the audience. Thus, the initially downplayed element becomes the reason for its success.

8. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Photo Credit: Buena Vista Pictures.

Cole Sear, a child struggling with the gift of communicating with the dead, seeks assistance from a psychologist named Dr. Malcolm Crowe. The trailer successfully created the suspense, but being obscure generated mixed reviews. But the positive word of mouth made its way toward success.

9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Considered another typical satire of American families, the Little Miss Sunshine trailer distorted its valid message. The importance of family, self-acceptance, and self-exploration experienced throughout Oliver's life amazed the audience. Oliver's struggle to win a beauty contest while being on a voyage with the family brings humor while dwelling on the philosophical contents. 

10. Parasite (2019)

Parasite Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam
Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment.

Award-winning film Parasite also remained under the cloud when its trailer gave a bleak hint of its genre and tone. Exploring the class struggle between two families, wealthy Parks and impoverished Kims, the highlighted societal issues and emotional elements left deep marks on the audience, making it a modern classic. 

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