When Are Movie Trailers Considered False Advertising?

Published 3 years ago by

Movie Trailers False Advertising Paranormal Acitivity 3 Drive e1319484041810 When Are Movie Trailers Considered False Advertising?

Like young singles hoping to land a date by the end of the night, a movie trailer hopes to stand out from the crowd and make you take notice – make you want to approach it and learn more about it, ultimately leaving you with a sense of curiosity, wanting more. It wants you to call back, plan a date to come see it, invest your time, attention – and yes, your money – to get the full show.

But what happens when the deed is done, and in the aftermath you see that what you got isn’t at all what you thought it was? The makeup and dressings of marketing were used to cover up the reality – and that reality is something you’d never be interested in, had you known the truth  going in. In that case, what is typically beautification becomes illusion – what is typically careful presentation becomes an outright lie, and our anger at being tricked is all we’re left holding on to.

Advertising is an industry that has been built on selling a vision or dream in a place of a real product. Everybody lies in advertising to some degree – just as people lie to some degree when they first court one another. Few people are honest upfront about their baggage or damage or raw, unsculpted appearance, and movie studios are the same way. All of us have experienced our fair share of movie duds – how many of them came out and told you they were duds upfront, rather than trying to show you some pretty picture first?

It’s one thing when a unattractive film tries to show off its best parts in a trailer, thereby creating the impression that whole show is as gorgeous or fun or witty. We get that. (Hell, its practically the written law of dating.) But when does a trailer go from being on the safe side of “good salesmanship” and fall into the territory of “con artist?” Lately we’ve noticed an uptick in the number people crying foul about what they thought were misleading trailers luring them into bad movie experiences; we decided to look at a couple of recent cases and examine what happened, and if there was truly a case of false movie advertising.



News hit a few weeks back that a Michigan woman named Sarah Deming is suing studio FilmDistrict over what she considers to be a case of false advertising for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. The film stars Ryan Gosling as a getaway driver who gets caught up in some bad business with a local mob, and the trailers for the film sold it at as a gritty flick full of car chases, violence, thrilling action and suspense. Basically, according to Sarah Deming, she was expecting another Fast and the Furious-type flick – a sentiment that many other disgruntled movie goers have since echoed.

In our Drive review here at Screen Rant, we let it be known in no uncertain terms that Drive was no Fast and the Furious. Refn is more of an artistic director, and while the film had its fair share of action moments (and some serious violence), it was largely a slow-burn and understated piece of cinema, with characters who spoke very little dialogue and long scenes of imagery set to offbeat ’80s pop music. In short: it was “weirder” or more “boring” than your average movie goer is used to from an “action film.”  So did the trailers lie, promising something that wasn’t there?

While Drive did seem like more of an action/thriller in the trailer above, in this case it’s hard to see Deming’s accusation holding much water. First of all, no one should walk into a movie these days with such a large false impression. For all their downsides, one great thing the Internet and social media have done is widen the scope of public discourse; if you want to know if a product is good, or a movie is worthwhile, you don’t just have to listen to what the ads are selling you, or what those “snobby critics” complain about – you can get the lowdown from other average Joes who now have the platform to share their thoughts alongside the industry elite. You don’t even have to read some basement-dweller’s novel-length blog on a product or film  - a quick keyword search on Twitter or Facebook can bring you loads of public opinion on just about anything – including the truth behind any misleading advertising. Just imagine if you could do that for dating – who wouldn’t use that service?

Drive Movie Ending When Are Movie Trailers Considered False Advertising?

That’s all to say: Deming didn’t do her due diligence, in my opinion. I myself threw a big WARNING in my own Drive review, letting people just like Deming know what they would and WOULD NOT be getting with the film. My review was posted well in advance of the film’s release, and I was preceded by many other reviews and people who had been to festival screenings, so the information was waiting out there on the Interwebs, just one search away from telling Sarah Deming what she needed to know.

More to the point: every single shot and moment featured in the Drive trailer was shown in the theatrical film. There are movies that never get accused of false advertising, yet they feature trailer moments that didn’t make it into the actual theatrical cut of the film. With Drive, what you were promised was what you got – even though the way you got it may not have been equal to initial expectation. So, was this trailer misleading, or just smart about how to show itself off and highlight its best qualities? For my money, it’s the latter case: and as with the dating scene, it may be annoying, but it’s far from illegal.

However, I can’t say the same for Paranormal Activity 3….

« 1 2»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. What the Drive trailer basically does is takes the exciting parts of the movie and puts them in a trailer. If they showed a trailer with the dramatic parts they’d draw in an audience that would complain about the gore. The way I see it they did to the trailer what Fox News does to… news. warp it into what sells :P

  2. One positive about the porn industry, they’re not deceptive with their trailers.
    All kidding aside, I really liked this article even though I haven’t seen either flick (and never intend to watch PA3), but I know some trailers are quite deceptive and have never been a fan of having a deleted scene in the trailer. But to actually sue someone over a movie trailer, what is the point. Pay a lawyer thousands to get back you $20? Ridiculous.

    • The point is to get them to stop doing it, it’s not about the $20 at all. Not sure how you could miss that.

      • @Johan – It is a movie, a form of art. I know the case is about the marketing practices of fraudulent trailers, but this case is not worth wasting the time of any court and therefore not wasting American tax dollars because lets face it, our economy has so much to spend nowadays. I stick with my original thought, “ridiculous.”

  3. I think that with this incident, hollywood will be more careful with their trailers and at the same time not spoil it for everyone

  4. My only gruff with hollywood trailers is when they put spolers in the trailer. I have a really good eye for detail so when they causally add a key scene in the trailer to make the trailer more action pack it does upset me a lil.

    Only example I can think off the top of my head is the A-Team trailer showing the tank with parachutes. I knew that was coming from the second they hopped in the cargo plane. Sorta ruined the suspense for me. Prolly cld think of a bunch more.

    • or in pirates of the Caribbean 3, in the trailer there’s a scene where you can see a scar near the heart of William turner,. When I watched the movie I just waited to see when he was going to become the captain of the flying Dutchman.

  5. I saw a trailer for Real Steel online and it was portrayed as the heart-warming (soppy) Fatehr/Son story that happens to contain some fighting robots.
    However, I saw a trailer for it at the cinema (leading into an 18 cert movie) and it was completely re-cut to make it look like a full on action film; Hugh Jackman vs the Robots. The kid wasn’t even in it once! I though that was really dodgy technique to get a few more punters on the seats

  6. false advertisement supprised there aint a lawsuit in there somewhere

  7. I really don’t like this article at all. Just because there are reviews and other information out there does not mean that the trailer is not false advertising. That’s completely broken logic, and has a pretty strong element of victim-blaming to it. Not cool.

    • Agreed.

  8. Just like “The Last Airbender”, the trailer takes you on great expectations. Once the movie comes out, it ends up looking horrible. Writers need to invent new ideas. TV series are the new way of attracting more viewers in a more creative way. Please take notice of: “Storm”, comic art made by Don Lawrence. This is an experience beyond anything presented over the past century. I hope someone creates it with the highest budget to form the ultimate virtual reality experience ever made. I also hope someone took notice of my comment and presents this idea to anyone capable of creating this world. If it is done, forget Avatar, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Matrix or any other major player in the game…and it will be the honorable thing to do!

    Thanks to all that consider this AFTER RESEARCHING AND READING ALL OF THE EPISODES…

  9. Wow. Some awful, unproductive comments. Not all, but several. Anyway, alot of people seemed to PA3 and said that the scenes in the movie were actually scarier than what was in the trailer. Personally, I think they are garbage and boring and stupid and not scary in the least. The third one wasn’t AS lame as the others but they still aren’t scary. The point is, the people who like these movies, seem to like the fact that none of the scenes in the trailer were in the movie. For me though, I thought the scenes in the trailer looked pretty awesome and the movie, once again was an over-rated hype-train, with false advertising.

    • Chris,

      How so? I mean what did you get out of the trailer that you didnt get out of the movie?

      Scary trailer? I guess but now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag how would that equate to scary part in movie… since you already know its coming?

      What did the scenes in the trailer portray that would have changed the story in the movie?

      False advertising is being thrown around a lot… I don’t think you or the others know what it really means. Take a bit of time and research it.

      • It’s funny that people think anyone trying to sell you something is going to do anything but hype up their product. Trailers and commercials are cut quick to peak interest without giving anything away, good or bad. False advertising is a hard thing to prove, if it wasn’t restaurant would constantly get sued since the food in their ads usually isn’t even food.

  10. PA3 blatant false adverting,wont be watching this series anymore,atleast wont pay to see it anyway.

  11. How stupid is this woman? She thought she was going to watch a Fast and Furious style movie.

    What a idiot, she should had watched Fast Five instead.

    What happened? She missed out, watching it in April.

    What’s next? A another woman thought she was watching the Avengers but it turn out to be Iron Man 3.

    Stupid woman in my opnion.

  12. The point that’s trying to be made folks and let’s bottom line it-the studios obviously can promote a film anyway they want,I mean I remember the first trailer for “Alien” way back when-it didn’t show anything but it made you want to see it!! Nowadays they throw a ton of scenes together and get you to figure out whats goin on…Problem is when they actually do put some sort of trailer out there,where they’ve taken the time with, it actually does more damage,more “TMI” then its supposed to ala “Dream House”, which everyone pretty much figured out right away..Pretty much every trailer for a M.Night Shylaman film too…except Sixth Sense and The Village…Oh and the blatant horrible trailer for “Powder”(its a sci-fi xmeny type superhero film-NOT!!).

  13. All I can say is that down here in Miami they sell these one piece undergarments for women that are built to slenderize the figure and they have pads on the butt and a built in push up bra. So, when you see a pretty woman in a dress, all her bits and pieces look perfect. You think you’re getting JLo and Dolly, but when it comes off you get Peggy Bundy.

    Now, you’re getting a pretty house wife, but…. see, false advertising.

  14. For Drive, I can see some of the upset, but going to such lengths to say that you want your movie back is just bull crap. If you want to see a Fast and Furious movie, there are 4 of the out there (Tokyo Drift doesn’t count)That you can chose from.
    The entire PA3 thing shouldn’t matter. Horror movies should be completely unknown going into it, the only thing you should know is if its a horror film or if it’s a slasher film. Anything after that just takes away from the movie. If they only showed the fake trailer for the ‘Shining’ (the one on youtube where its made as a father and son tale)when it came out, so many people would be scared out of their minds watching it. All you’d have to do is put “A Horror film by Stanley Kubrick” at the end of the trailer so people would know its horror.
    If someone said, “Hey, you want to watch Humancentipede with me?” and just left it at that, I might have been horrified of the movie, but because I watched the trailer and saw what it was about and what it looked like, it had no effect on me.
    Also for Shutter Island, after watching the trailer I knew that there was going to be a ‘twist ending’ if you could even call it that after seeing the trailer. If I just seen the movie after someone/an advertisement said “A US Marshal must find a missing patient at an insane asylum.” and left it at that, I could have enjoyed. But they showed so much more, and I didn’t. I don’t even see it as being a decent well made film because of how the trailer told me what it was going to be like.

  15. I agree with you a 100%!!! i went to see drive with 6 of my friends and as the movie started we were all very excited and as the movie went on we all said to each other “what the hell is this movie about”……….we all hated to movie and the stupid critics that gave it a 90% on rotten tomatoes….it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen simply because that’s not the movie i went to see. the movie is called “drive” and the dude drove the car twice…..give me a break. I wish i could get my money back!!

    • yeah i was gonna see drive with my friend on the release date but he convinced me that the story line sucked lol saw horrible bosses instead
      watched drive online later was bored through the entire movie

  16. I appreciate this article being posted. However, I do think it could have explored the ramifications of the PA3 trailer portraying events that, if actually included into the film, would have contradicted other events that were included in the theatrical release. It was touched on a bit, but that is what I think the biggest problem is with this entire incident.

    I know scenes featured in trailers often do not make the theatrical release. Of course, as a viewer, once you realize those scenes did not make it into the film, you begin to mentally edit them in and piece it all together. In this case, if you do just that, the storyline with the mother would have been more exciting, as well as the slow-burn development of everyone becoming aware of Toby’s presence. Of course, if included, these events would have not meshed at all with the other scenes in the final film. Even excluding the house fire, an event the other two films prepped us for already, makes me wonder what in the hell went on during filming. Did they shoot one film, scrap the entire concept, go an entirely different direction, and only use what scenes they could salvage for the newest story? In the end, I think it ruined the film after the fact. While what was delivered was entirely enjoyable on its own merit, the storyline given in the full trailer could in no way line up with the final product. That’s what is most disturbing.

    And, on a side note, even the poster and production stills are misleading. The poster shows us an angle that was never shown in the film, as well as using a date that didn’t line up with the events of the movie. September 24 was the day after the family went to the grandmother’s house, right after the events on the 23rd, when the kitchen items fell from the ceiling. That date even shows up in the production stills used in various articles on this site: stills that depict events that would have happened well before any of the more terrifying events in the story (the simple knocking on the closet door, the Bloody Mary scene in the bathroom, i.e.)

  17. I remember when American Gangster came out, it had two completely different trailers. The other one painted it as a cop vs. gangster action movie, while the more truthful one showed it was a drama.

    I for one, was completely mislead about what kind of movie it was. While it may have not been a bad movie in itself, my expectations ruined it for me.

  18. I don’t mind when a trailer only uses the exciting parts… as long as the parts are actually in the movie. It’s when there are parts in the trailer that are left out of the movie that bothers me. Sometimes those scenes are actually better than what is left in. This has been going on for a few years now and I’m glad to see someone is bringing the issue up.

  19. Nominations For Most Falsely Advertised FIlM

    #1: Bridge To Terabithia – If there was ever a film deserving of a false advertising lawsuit it would be this dog of a flick. Not only was it advertised visa-via trailers as a kid friendly Fantasy flick along the lines of Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of The Rings but it also had the audacity to be dishonest about whom the movie is appropriate for. When I went to see it I heard several kids crying and parents trying to explain the film. Disney did this deliberately. When it got a peek at the finished product and saw how bad it was they deliberately hired an editor to do the trailer who is more familiar with fantasy films because they were desperate to salvage the thing. No one would have paid to see it if they really knew what the film would be like and not because its bad in itself but because its bad for what it was trailered to be.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no real proof (of course) that Disney did this deliberately but if they didn’t then someone needs a bonus for making the very lucky decision to get cut it up as “The Lion, The Witch & The Lord Of the Kid Rings”

  20. I think a nice class-action lawsuit against the studios that release trailers filled with scenes not in the film will end this.

    This is just another stupid play to release an “extended version” with all these scenes in it, though one scene shown is quite obviously totally out of context for the film (the little girl throws water on the invisible demon) and wouldn’t fit anywhere. So are we being shown “deleted” scenes now?

    False advertising.

    • Or scenes that were cut after the fact?

      What is the basis of your class action suit? I was going to see a scary movie and they did not show me a scary movie?

      I went to see a movie to see a guy get his head slammed on the table by an unseen force movie and I didn’t get that?

      False Advertising is very difficult to ‘prove’.

  21. What made the Paranormal Activity 3 trailer so frustrating is not only was it a poor representation of the actual film, but what was shown in the trailer looked so much better (read scarier) than what was seen in the actual movie. What a letdown!

    • I’m with you 100%. The trailers showcased the movie that not only we wanted to see, but the one that would be better and in continuity.

      • @Mark,

        Your review mentions nothing of the trailer making the movie not scary. It covers the reuse of found footage and its diminishing returns on the genre. How the endings of the 3 are all the same leaving the audience “cheated”.

        Ive also read that others feel the footage in the trailer would not have been as scary.

        I mean we have already seen what happens when a man of the cloth or type person comes into a home such as theirs.

        How does the continuity not fit? It seems like (going backwards) it fits rather well. Older family member makes a deal that future generations have to pay for. Im hooked on the marriage portion of the movie and dont understand that though.

        • My review mentions nothing of the trailer because I’m reviewing the movie, not the marketing campaign. I liked the ending of PA and PA2. The 3rd one introduced a history that was never addressed in parts 1 and 2. It only served to raise questions. With regards to the scary parts in the trailer, I was talking about the girls playing bloody Mary. That scared me more than anything in the actual film.

          • I concur with the BM. I still get goose bumps even though I know its not in the movie and I know whats going to happen.

            I thought PA2 mentioned (Ali the daughter) the discovery of the possibility that a family member made a deal with a demon/devil? even going so far as to mention no sons have been born until Hunter.

            PA had the tie to PA2 in an obvious manner with the head twist at the end.

            Wouldn’t that be the tie ins to PA3?

            Or was there something else you were referring to? (just asking im seeing it Sat., and dont be afraid to spoil anything for me.)

            • I didn’t recall that PA or PA2 suggested certain family members were involved with the occult. If the films did, then what’s shown in PA3 would make sense and tie it in with that storyline. After you see PA3, let me know what you think on my blog. Thanks!

              • Will do.

                PA2 had the stepdaughter of Kristi find out by researching the family tree that no son had been born since such and such time within the family.

                She surmised (to this day I still dont know how she thought demon instead of ghost) it was a demon and someone in the family must have made a deal going to either Kristis mother or grandmother based on ‘wealth’.

                PA 1 I believe was made to be a one shot only having it changed from police shooting Katie to giving her an unknown status giving it an open end to continue the franchise.

                So in 2 we find out about the demon/possession connection and (at the end) the whereabouts of Katie.

                In 3 (assumption based on reading will find out tomorrow) we find out how/why the demon got where it is.

                I will enjoy the movie as long as it makes sense and it provides shock/scare value. I could care less about the movie not having the trailer scenes. PA1 and 2 set a foundation. 3 should build on it.

                If it doesn’t then I will not like it regardless of the scares and or trailer… ;)

  22. I was suprised at Drive. Surprised how good it was.

  23. With PA3, the fire in the trailer is a major plot point that we all know about, but wanted to witness. And, having left it out of the movie entirely, a lot of people are now confused about the lack of it. Did it happen, did it not? Was it all a lie? A decision like that actually CHANGES the whole thing. Same with Julie throwing water at Toby (the demon) in the trailer. That is very early in the movie, and if kept that way, would have opened the path for the fire scene where she looks really stressed out and wants to leave. The trailer for PA3 may not be false-advertisement, per se, but it definitely showed a different plot and tempo than the actual movie had. And I would wager about 90% of the trailer didn’t make the final cut.

  24. You know, I see false advertising every day. Its all over the TV. How many commercials actually tell the 100% truth about their products? Not many (if any). So what do you do when you go to a movie and get robbed? Accept it. It happens. Dont support the director in the future. Whatever you have to do. But you lost your money. Every movie is a gamble. I rarely see a movie that wows me these days. In my opinion most movies rarely live up to their trailers.

    • Yes, learn to enjoy being taken advantage of. Fantastic concept.

    • Why can’t more people be like you. I get tired of hearing people say that Drive wasn’t good because it was advertised as FastFive. That’s like getting upset about going to McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac. They show it as a nicely made big burger, but when you get it its messy and looks smashed. Do I go back and order another Big Mac and go “What the H, they tricked me twice.” No, I go, “Well, this McDonalds that made this burger made a terrible looking burger. Sure it had all the ingredients that it advertised, but it wasn’t exactly how it looked. Maybe a different McDonalds can make it better, but I won’t come back to this McDonalds for this burger again.” But I don’t ask for my money back based on this(Although, if there is a fingernail in my food, I will ask for my money back).
      Just switch the word ‘McDonalds’ for Director and ‘Burger’ for movie and it still makes sense (I say that because I fear someone will just skim this post and get angry that I’m taking about food instead of the main argument )

  25. Anyone ever buy a book because they read the jacket, then when you’re done that scene that pulled you in wasn’t there??

    Nope. Me either. Happened in PA2 and 3 though.

    We keep falling for the Okie doke, the old shoe shine, the juke..

  26. Great article, a lot of points well said. I tend to agree that the trailer for ‘Drive’ may not have made it seem that the film would be action-packed, or populated with less awkward pauses than it was, but an audience probably would take that as fact. That’s not really the concern for the filmmaker, since the trailer does show the kind of drama and content in the film.

    As for Paranormal Activity, that’s straight BS. Ridiculous. Definitely saving it for another film or something.

  27. “That’s all to say: Deming didn’t do her due diligence, in my opinion.”

    Come on. People shouldn’t have to rely on reviews and third-party input when an accurate and capable representation of the product from those pitching it is what the general public expects. The plaintiff may or may not have a legitimate case (I haven’t seen the movie), but what amount of immediately decide to see the film? Why is that the responsibility of the customer?

  28. “No one should walk into a movie these days with such a large false impression.”

    I honestly can’t believe your logic. You admit in one breath that yes, the trailer is definitely misleading; but you go on to conclude that in spite of that, it’s the viewer’s fault for being duped. Yes, the trailer was way off, but you should have known better! What if she’s going on opening night and there are no reviews available, or none of her friends have seen it? Why are we supposed to take the word of anonymous reviewers when it seems so much more reasonable to rely on — oh, I don’t know — THE OFFICIAL TRAILER?!? It seems you’re more interested in shameless self-promotion (“Why didn’t you read MY review first??”) than pure objective analysis of the issue. Plain and simple: those who are marketing a product need to bear the responsibility for presenting an accurate depiction of what the consumer is in for.

    • big log,

      What is a trailer supposed to do? Is a trailer supposed to give you a sense of the movie? Or is it supposed to show you parts of the movie?

      Granted we are spoiled and some films seem to HAVE to show parts of the movie to get people to watch them.

      However the question still remains how did NOT having those scenes in the movie ruin or falsely advertise what the movie was about?

      If I make a radio commercial and tell you all the good stuff about a product but forget to mention it is puke yellow in color with chunks and tastes like the jock strap of a 300 pound offensive linemen after the Superbowl is that misleading or false advertising?

      If I show you pictures and videos of people on a roller coaster having the time of their lives, yelling and screaming in pure joy and you don’t get the same thing is that false advertising?

      If I show you a trailer from a movie HOWEVER the movie (billed as a cam horror movie about a demon following the story line from another movie) neglects to have those scenes, has the same cast, yet is a cam horror movie about a demon following the storyline from another movie is that false advertising?

      “those who are marketing a product need to bear the responsibility for presenting an accurate depiction of what the consumer is in for.”

      They presented a movie about a family (more specifically 2 girls with history form other movies/story line) dealing with a demon problem.

      That is what the consumer got.

      • If I showed you a film missing 90% of the advertised footage would that be false advertising?

        • 90% of a 2-5 minutes trailer doesn’t constitute enough film to even try to make a claim in a court of law. They could say it was edited out for time…

        • If I had a trained monkey on screen for 2 mins that could speak and told you how scary PA3 was without describing anything about the film would that be false advertising?

          Where is it written that a trailer has to show you footage from a movie?

          It is an advertisement. It advertised a particular type of movie with particular characters in a particular setting.

          You got what was advertised.

  29. Could I just add one tid-bit about PA3.

    Think about the success and how many people have seen the first 2. Unless the movie’s plot dealt with a pink pony who rescues a kid from a jungle and team up to save Jesus the day before his crucifixion, then you already had a gist of what the movie was going to be about going to see PA3.


    Most of the people who watched it opening week end have probably seen the first 2, so they should have know it was going to follow the same path.
    So if it’s missing a scene or two from the commercial its not like they switched up the entire movie.

    I still have to see the new one, so for all I know it could be such a big difference from the trailer. But if the movie involves the characters form the first 2 at a younger age, a paranormal entity, and bizarre scary events, then I don’t know if I would say its false advertising.

    And one more little rant before I end my input. I used to work at a haunted house for the Halloween season. We would have an posters made up that had zombies on it and all that stuff that goes with the different haunts. No one ever went “The poster shows a blond zombie on it. I didn’t see a blond zombie in that haunt. HOW COULD THEY TRICK ME LIKE THIS?!”

    They didn’t do that because they knew zombies would be there and they would get scared, and thats what they got. A missing blond girl did not falsely advertise the haunt.

    • Roland,

      With all due respect, I think you might want to reconsider your post after you’ve seen the film. Yes, the general sentiment of it being a horror film is quite accurate. However, the official trailer advertises a movie with completely different events and plot points that, if included, would negate the events in the final version, even causing scenes that did make the cut to be excised for continuity. That is the main frustration here and not whether the film was or wasn’t a horror film.

      Usually, it’s understandable why some scenes from a film’s marketing campaign might not make the final cut; even still, the viewer can usually mentally edit them in afterward and still have the movie make sense. However, when you are being sold an entirely different version of characters and events, and then given something completely different in the final product, it’s incredibly insulting to those viewers who have followed the series from the get-go and were looking forward to the previously set up events to transpire in this release. For example, we were given proof that the house fire was filmed- an event hinted at in the previous installments- and that proof led us to expect it to play out in this installment. However, its absence remains disconcerting and confusing, especially since you can’t fit it into the final cut. To disrespect our excitement and loyalty by not giving us what was essentially promised, it’s very difficult to understand the reasons behind this decision. What is the point of selling the final version of a film with the apparently scrapped concept that will most likely never see the light of day? Not even the advertised scenes being featured as “deleted scenes” on a DVD would make sense, especially when the majority represent an entirely different conceit that couldn’t even help inhance or elaborate upon the final version of the story, like most deleted scenes from other films.

      If anything, this entire situation shows a serious lack of confidence on the studio’s part. It’s false advertising in every sense of the phrase. The sad thing, however, is that the film was a decent installment to the franchise that could have been marketed just as easily on its own merits. It didn’t even need an extensive trailer, as far as I’m concerned. I had always planned on seeing it from the moment I learned it was coming out. I even avoided the teasers and trailers when I could, but was spoiled when it was shown before another movie. It’s just a shame that the overall experience is tarnished by all of the false ads showcasing all of the “what might have been” events. For a franchise to maintain momentum and popularity, it should exhibit confidence in each installment and avoid stooping to these kinds of cheap tricks in hopes of duping people into buying a ticket with each new release. Sure, its opening weekend was a record-breaker, but I’m curious to see the fallout from this fiasco when PA4 comes out next year. I’m truly hoping it doesn’t fare well for Paramount.

      • Stivo,

        With all due respect you may want to rethink your post.

        The trailer advertised a movie. The trailer advertised a movie about a family. The trailer advertised a movie about a family with 2 little girls. The trailer advertised a movie about a family with 2 little girls that were being stalked by a demon.


        What plot points are you supposed to derive from a trailer? I can list out a ton of movies that you thought the good guy was good but he was bad. That someone appeared to live through the movie but died. The plot was a family dealing with a demon and how that demon came to be with this family.

        You dont know what those trailer portions were going to be used for. You do not know what false advertising is.

        So you admit the film was fine without the trailer shown. So nothing was lost…. so why are people complaining?

        Why are you hoping for a business/franchise to fail? Little extreme dont you think since you stated that “the film was a decent installment to the franchise”.

        You enjoyed the movie yet you truly hope the next movie doesn’t fare well…. just wow.

        • Stivo,

          Did you ever watch any of the teaser trailers for the Saw movies that were released about 3 months before the new Saw movies came out. All they consisted of was soundbites from previous films and random footage from the previous traps.

          Do you want to say that Saw 3-7 all had false advertisements out?

          But from those trailers you still knew “Oh there are going to be new traps that people are going to go through and probably scream profanities while in the traps.” So you can’t say that you got robbed of the experiences of seeing the same/ hearing the same things that were in the previous films that were yused in that teaser.

          And as for your fallout comment let me say, Yes, paramount should suffer fallout for making a series of horror films that are actually good. Because they showed you clips of a story you already (sorta) know the background to and left part of it out of the movie. They should totally face financial ruin because they entertained us and scared us, just like they did on the first 2 outings.

          • Roland,

            I think your argument about the “Saw” franchise is very much out of context and a bit of a stretch. You seem to be arguing the purpose of a trailer over its actual contents. I never stated that the trailer for PA3 didn’t successfully sell us on a horror film; it’s very difficult to argue otherwise. My point in my initial post was to respond to your concern over how the contents of the trailer are very different than the final version of the film, regardless of how good or bad the film ended up being. Since you had not seen the film at that point, I was trying to explain how the two were very different.

            When you do see the film, I am curious what your thoughts are. However, after your reading and responding to posts on this site, I feel as though you have been well warned about everything and won’t be nearly as perturbed. Since I saw the first showing I could on Thursday night, I wasn’t aware that the trailers represented a different concept of the film. I went in expecting what the trailers led me to expect. For example, I was particularly excited about seeing the house burn down, especially because it’s a big part of the storyline of the previous installments. The trailer showed us a house on fire, and while it might not have been their house, it’s hard to not associate that particular scene with something other than what we’ve been groomed to look forward to. Of course, after seeing the film, I was left scratching my head and very frustrated at the fact that I didn’t see the house on fire. I couldn’t even begin to place it in the film, along with a handful of the other missing scenes.

            While what I saw was a good horror film, I still don’t understand the reasoning behind advertising it the way they have. Those scenes appeared to be from an entirely different version of events. Yes, the general idea of a family being plagued with a demon was delivered successfully, but why show other avenues the film seemed to explore within the series’ lore only to not deliver?

            Paramount knows what a cash-cow this series has become, as the previous installments are two of the most profitable films in history. Even better, this is a series that has helped successfully reboot the horror genre in a very clever way; the films don’t use cheap tricks to evoke fear. Which, when you look at it, is a bit interesting when you see how Paramount has handled the franchise…

            Rather than depending on the integrity of the series to sell seats, they resort to such cheap tricks in their marketing campaigns. Did it work? Absolutely. Will it continue to work? Hopefully not. With the fan base this series has, and the studio’s seemingly complete disregard for their loyalty, I am interested to see what happens next for the studio and franchise.

            Am I calling for “financial ruin” as was previously stated? Nope. Never did. However, I am hoping for a FALLOUT or backlash of sorts for Paramount in their attempts at scoring even higher numbers for PA4. I think the general audience’s confusion and frustration about this marketing tactic will negatively reflect in PA4′s opening. If next year’s opening weekend is even larger than this year’s, I will be surprised. For the franchise’s sake, I do wish it the best, even under these circumstances. As long as it continues to deliver clever and entertaining installments, I will be on board, at least for the next installment. I only hope that the marketing for the next film is a little more grounded and doesn’t attempt to oversell the audience on elements and alternative plot points that it doesn’t intend to deliver. Might I suggest using the “Saw” tactic you mentioned earlier…

            Personally, I think the ads from the those films were incredibly more effective in selling their franchise installments. Each served as a reminder of how inventive the previous films were in their traps, so as to entice you to see the next installment without giving anything away. Using previously seen footage that was actually featured within the series already was in no way a violation of properly representing those films. That system is actually a clever technique that got me in the theatre each and every time a new one came out. The marketing didn’t attempt to show me events and plot points that would never occur in the final cut. They simply reminded me of what I previously saw and, if I was in the mood for more, it let me know it was coming soon. Even though the series seemed to continually suffer in quality with each new title, Lionsgate still managed to rely on the accomplishments of the previous installments to sell seats. If anything, it was a more honest approach.

        • Aknot,

          I don’t need to rethink my post, but I appreciate your concern. I stand pretty firmly on my reasoning and my arguments.

          As for answering your questions, here you go:

          When a trailer for a film shows you plot points, such as a house fire, you are led to believe there will be a house fire. In this case, “house fire” is relevant to the events of the previous PA films. Your argument appears to be based on assumptions derived from a trailer, which is not at all close to countering my argument. My argument is based on seeing something definitively happen in the trailer that did not, and could not, happen in the final cut of the film.

          And, yes, I can also list tons of movies where I thought the good guy was good but was really bad, as well as those that feature characters who die but you thought might live. Those kinds of events aren’t typically given away in a trailer. Rather, those are plot twists derived from character development within the actual film. Those are typically unadvertised elements of surprise that usually help elevate a movie above being standard-issue. What you think this has to do with my argument is lost on me.

          While I might not be familiar with your definition of false advertisement, I do know what it is. Now, legally speaking, this would not be considered false advertising in a court of law. However, the court of public opinion seems to believe that the film was falsely advertised. Yes, everyone got a scary film, but they, especially fans of the series, noticed they weren’t given the film that was advertised. That other people are upset by this seems to irk you. But, from what I gather from your postings on this site, at the time of this posting, you still have not seen the film. Perhaps if your arguments were coming from having seen the film, you might have a better understanding as to why that is.

          Anyone who has expressed frustration about this isn’t upset that they didn’t get a horror film, or even a film about a family plagued by a demon. They feel as they were sold one version of events in exchange for another, albeit however similar. Whatever their opinion of the final product is irrelevant; I don’t know about anyone expressing anger towards the film itself. Any anger from this situation should be directed at Paramount. They allowed this to happen.

          Now, I don’t recall ever saying the franchise or business should fail. I’ll just write that off as you being dramatic. However, like I originally said, I do hope for a fallout/backlash against Paramount: meaning that I hope this type of marketing actually turns against them in the future, even if it happens to be with PA4. Unfortunately, the franchise might suffer, but that’s just cause and effect. Even though I enjoyed PA3, I don’t appreciate being misled by such a large margin in its marketing. Had Paramount actually marketed this film based on the merits of its previous installments and shown some confidence in this release, I would be singing a different tune.