Movie studios rarely worry whether the film they're producing is "good" or "bad" or "technically pornography." There's only one driving motivation, and if you can't guess what it is, there's a good chance this is the first time you've heard of the economic system referred to as capitalism.
In the rare instance an inferior product does slip out of Hollywood, producers have plenty of tricks to convince you to see it anyway. Here are the five most shameless:
5The Genre Bait & Switch
Sometimes, even movies with expensive stars and famous directors are hard to market. Maybe the film's plot can't be explained in eight words or less. Maybe it's a bit heavy on "themes" and "character development" and too light on the important things like "low-cut shirts" and "explosions."
Whatever the case, it's nothing a little creative trailer editing can't fix.
The Movie: A deliberately-paced meditation on boredom and isolation set during the Gulf War. Many have described it as "a war movie without the war," a phrase that ranks up there with "deliberately-paced" and "meditation on boredom" among "Phrases Producers Really Don't Want To Hear."
Lucky for producers, the trailer puts the damn war back.
The featured battles and shenanigans falsely promise a film somewhere between Saving Private Ryan and Police Academy 8: Drafted! Of course, it's all editing room smoke and mirrors. Even a shot of Jake Gyllenhall dodging enemy fire at 1:22 turns out, in the film, to be nothing more than stray fireworks.
Some people like musicals. Some people like incredibly graphic horror films. However, as the bloody yet melodious Sweeney Todd neared completion, producers made a tragic discovery:
Some creative trailer editing should solve that ...
Another delightfully wacky Johnny Depp character? Accents? Boats? Why, it's Pirates of the Caribbean for the Hot Topic crowd!
Good Luck Chuck
In this 2007 film, lots of women want to sleep with Dane Cook for some contrived and difficult to explain reason. The original trailer goes to great lengths to convince you that Dane Cook should be allowed to star in movies.
Producers eventually realized that not only was co-star Jessica Alba an actual celebrity, she was pretty damn easy on the eyes, too. A new trailer was quickly cut:
Why, Dane Cook is barely in this film! And the only time we hear him is when he's uttering grunts of pain while being abused by an underwear-clad Jessica Alba! To the box office, my good man!
4The T&A Smash
According to science, nearly 50 percent of the world's population are huge fans of erections. If all else fails, producers can always try to draw in the audience with the promise of good ol' fashioned soft-core pornography.
Is the female lead leaving your film's posters a little, um, flat? No problem. They're lucky we live in an era where an 11-year-old can give Margaret Thatcher a dog's face (and even manipulate the picture too, hiyoo!).
Cameron Crowe's comedy/drama about rock in the '70s was aimed squarely at middle-aged Americans who traded in their vinyl records for pleated khakis and a mortgage. Studio executives apparently didn't think Baby Boomer nostalgia would translate overseas, so they created an international poster that spoke the universal language of "jailbait."
Free-floating technophobia rarely spawns two hours of cohesive cinema, and this story of a computer-generated starlet is no exception. Fortunately, the poster promises plenty of boobies to make up for it!
In the actual film, Simone not only fails to appear clothing-impaired, but an aging Pacino remotely controls her every move. There's no better remedy for arousal then seeing Al Pacino attempt to mince seductively.