In today’s information-overloaded world, movie spoilers are everywhere. The various social media sites are flooded with trolls who go out of their way to ruin the anticipation and excitement of movie fans by spoiling endings, twists and major revelations of the biggest movies. But it’s more than basement-dwelling trolls. Film merchandising can’t hold onto their bonnets long enough not to spoil movies either, so they release crucial plot details with every toy and collectible sold. Critics too have lost the art of not revealing crucial details in their write-ups, and even the film’s promotional teams are incapable of putting together exciting posters and trailers without giving every detail away. It’s a sad state of affairs, but what’s even more sad is that this is nothing new. It’s been happening for a while, but no one is learning any lessons.
This much is plain, every year, countess films are spoiled. Most of time, it’s only tiny details. We see them, then we forget. No harm no foul. But sometimes we remember. In those cases, we go into a film with a fairly good idea of how things are going to play out. When the film does play out the way we expected, we experience a feeling of sheer disappointment. Some of us demand our money back from the theater cashiers, like it’s somehow their fault. Others take to the Interwebs, slamming each successive key on their keyboards with greater force as they type out strings of expletives on movie forums and personal blogs where tons of fans will read them. Can you blame them? Spoilers are awful. Let’s take a look at the worst culprits we can remember. Here are 15 massive films that were spoiled before they were released.
15. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
You have probably never heard of once-aspiring actor Tyler Nelson, but he was going to be famous. He was cast as a dancer in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and was about to have his big break, but he was cut from the film at the last second. Why? Because this goofball decided to give an interview with his local paper in Oklahoma about the film. Instead of just giving away his role, Nelson chose to leak a number of significant plot points, like basically everything that leads up to his scene. It’s kind of sad reading what he said because it’s almost as if he doesn’t understand that people like to watch movies for themselves and not have some moron ruin the entire thing beforehand. When Steven Spielberg was asked about this, the director said, “Who knows whether that particular person will ever work in this town again?” Well, the answer to that question was Steven. Steven Spielberg knew if Tyler Nelson was ever going to work in Hollywood again. The answer was Nuh-uh, not even once.
14. Free Willy
There’s an argument to be made that some films are not about the end result but the journey. Take Titanic for example (we know the ship is going to sink). The film is about anticipating the in between. You could probably put Free Willy in this mix. Obviously, this whale is gonna get some freedom. This is America. So, we can’t be too hard on the marketing people when they chose to give away the end scene of Willy jumping over that kid on pretty much everything they designed. We can, however, be upset with the trailer people (like the people who made the movie’s trailers, not people that live in trailer homes). In the theatrical trailers, the entire journey is given away in chronological order. There’s no guessing necessary. You watch the trailer and you know every single thing that’s going to happen in the movie. Maybe kids were too dumb to piece it together or didn’t care that the film was spoiled, but we’re still angry about it.
13. Toy Story 3
For a while now, there’s been an open secret in the film industry that movie toys are some of the worst spoilers around. Pretty much any film that can be marketed toward kids comes out with toys prior to the film’s release. There are almost always two commonalities in these toys: they need to be part of a scene directly from the movie and the scene must be important or recognizable. This, as you can already tell, leads to problems with spoilers. The worst of these “toy spoilers” that we’ve ever seen was for Toy Story 3. Not only did the Lego set pictured above depict the climax of the film, but it also shows Lotso looking all evil, shows the claw saving the day and everything in between. The official release of this set came almost two months prior to the release of the film.
12. The Time Traveller’s Wife
When Rachel McAdams visited Jon Stewart on The Daily Show to promote her new film, The Time Traveller’s Wife, she is like a one-woman spoiler crew, a beautiful, smoking hot, one-woman spoiler crew. It took about five seconds and two measly questions from Stewart about the film before McAdams just went off. She was like that friend who used to tattle on the group as soon as an adult asked one question. She just cracked, even answering questions no one asked. She began with revealing a major twist in the film and then decided she had gone too far, so she just went and told the entire plot to the audience. Stewart, sensing something was off, tried to stop McAdams from revealing everything, but she was on a mission. Thankfully, this encouraged us not to see the film, so we never did.
11. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Even though director Zack Snyder came to the defense of the marketing team when fans voiced their frustration with how much was revealed in the trailers for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, they were right to be angry. After the trailer showed what appeared to be every major scene in the film, Snyder came out and said, “It’s cool that [fans] think it’s too much, and I appreciate people not wanting to know, but there’s plenty that they don’t know. There’s a lot of movie that’s not in the trailer.” Thanks, Captain Obvious. Of course, there is a lot of movie that wasn’t in the 3-minute trailer. Unfortunately, there was nothing of importance in the movie that was not also in the 3-minute of trailer. We knew the villain, we knew where he came from, we knew who the team was fighting him, we know how they met and how they fought. We knew every thing that we didn’t want to know.
10. Cast Away
The only thing in the film, Cast Away, that is left unspoiled after watching the official trailer is the scene on the raft with Wilson. Actually, if you watch the second trailer, the Wilson scene is there, so basically nothing is left unspoiled by trailers if you combine two versions. The crash, the island, the fire, the weather, the weight loss, the shagginess, the failed attempts, the raft, the rescue, the rehabilitation, it’s all there. Every. Single. Important. Moment. It’s all there. Why is this a thing? How did this become a thing? What kind of world do we live in where people can just go about ruining movies? What does it say about us, as movie-goers, that these types of spoiler trailers exist? Are we so brainless that we need to see the entire plot played out in front of us before we can decide if we want to see a film? Please no.
9. Ghostbusters (2016)
A full six months before the new Ghostbusters movie was released, the bad guys were revealed to anyone who was paying attention. It’s unfortunate that both the main baddie, Rowan, and evil Chris Hemsworth were spoiled well before the film’s release because they were meant to be a bit of a surprise in the film. First, Rowan, the giant ghost from the logo was revealed in toy form at the Toy Fair. After that came the Lego set, full with spoilers, including a Hemsworth Lego character that had red eyes and an evil face. Once again, it’s Lego coming out and ruining everyone’s day. Why not just like wait until the movie is released? Or don’t include spoilers? Question: did Lego toys ruin The Lego Movie?
8. Funny People
Despite the flack it gets for being a tad slow and meaty, Funny People is a pretty decent film about the life of a failing comedian. It adds a bit of a twist to the story, when the main character, Adam Sandler, gets sick and must come to terms with the mortality of his life at the same time as he comes to terms with the mortality of his career. Amazingly, all this interest is slapped in the mouth if you watched the trailer. To promote this movie, the trailer team decided to cut a 5-minute trailer that essentially spoils every major scene. Like any awful trailer, this one starts in the beginning and ends with the end. It’s as if they took a checklist of every big moment in the film and included them all, a highlight’s pack instead of a trailer. There is literally not one thing that is left up to your imagination.
7. The Island
Imagine watching a trailer for The Sixth Sense and learning that Bruce Willis is dead the entire time. Well, luckily for the human race, the crack team in charge of marketing for The Island were not also in charge of The Sixth Sense or else that’s what we would have gotten. Here’s the golden rule: when you have one big reveal in your film, one big twist, don’t friggin’ include it in the trailer. What in the hell were they thinking? “There’s no island.” “You’re clones.” These are the reveals in the trailer for The Island. Even though this movie is one of the biggest piles of garbage ever created and is blatant plagiarism, there is still no excuse for the level of stupidity involved with the marketing of this movie. It’s actually a bit frightening knowing that there are humans out there with such empty skulls, just walking around out there, camouflaged by real humans.
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane
One of the great mysteries in 10 Cloverfield Lane isn’t necessarily if Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is going to get out of the house; it’s, is the world outside really as bad as Howard (John Goodman) says it is? The entire film builds up this mystery incredibly well; it’s necessary for the domestic abuse theme to build. It makes the film into a powerhouse and one of the best of 2016. Sadly, for our friends in Thailand, this was never even a mystery. They already knew that aliens were outside because the entire ending was ruined on the film’s poster. An alien ship chasing Michelle outside, what more do you need to know?
5. Terminator Genisys
We all know that trailers give away important plot details. In this age, it’s almost better to just avoid trailers all together if you want to enjoy a film that hasn’t been spoiled. Still, what happened with Terminator Genisys should never happen. It’s inexplicable that professionals working in film marketing could be so thick to think that giving away one of the few massive reveals in a film could ever be considered a good thing, especially when the film is a sequel to much-loved and understood franchise. Well, it’s over and done with now, so we might as well discuss it. In the trailer for Terminator Genisys, we learn that the John Connor that comes to the past is actually a Terminator himself. We see basically every scene that involves him, from his arrival to his death. It’s alarming that there are people out there making money in the film industry when they can make mistakes this big.
4. Stars Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Way back when Stars Wars: A New Hope came out, David Prowse, the man who played Darth Vader (except for the voice), was doing a meet and greet with fans when he gave out a massive spoiler about the future films. There’s a debate about whether this spoiler was unintentional or coincidental, but it doesn’t change the fact that is was a spoiler. Prowse, speaking about the future films, saying that there will be a trilogy at least because “father can’t kill son, son can’t kill father.” Maybe the guests didn’t catch on at first to what was said here or maybe they couldn’t register it, but, in hindsight, Prowse totally ruined The Empire Strikes Back. For many of the fans who learned the relationship between Luke and Darth ahead of time, life had little meaning left. This is what Prowse did that day. There’s also been long-standing rumors about a riff between Prowse and George Lucas because of all this. Not cool Prowse, not cool at all.
3. Planet of the Apes
One of the greatest twists in Planet of the Apes was the revelation that the strange planet the humans landed on wasn’t some distant rock in space; it was Earth. Charlton Heston‘s realization on the beach when he first sees the Statue of Liberty half buried is about as beautiful as it gets in film. Unfortunately, for the people who lived through the marketing campaign for the film, this was made quite clear way before the movie came out. The main poster for the film, while striking, is a dead giveaway. There, front and center, is the final scene, clear as day. They might as well have made the tagline, “they thought they were on an ape planet, but they were really on Earth in the future” or “Charlton Heston will escape the apes and try to get home, but he’ll realize at the end that he’s already home… and he’ll yell, ‘damn you! Damn you all to hell’… while beating his fists in the sand.”
2. Rocky IV
The beauty of Rocky was that the decision at the end of the boxing match between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is secondary to the journey to get to that point. That being said, Rocky lost the fight. It’s a monumental moment in sports cinema because we always expect the protagonist to win in the end. When it doesn’t happen this way, it’s usually quite the surprise. Now, when Rocky IV was coming out, there was always a seedling of doubt in our minds. Would Rocky be bested once more or would he reign victorious? Luckily for us, the viewers, we didn’t need to watch this incredible movie to learn the answer. Rocky will win. The marketing team behind this gem told us before we could answer it ourselves. Not only did many of the posters showcase Rocky being hoisted in the air by his team celebrating a victory, but many versions of the movie case gave this scene away too. The end of the film, there on the cover of the film. How did these idiots get jobs? Your guess is as good as ours.
1. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
In the weeks and months leading up to the theatrical release of the long-awaited Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, fans were in a frenzy to get their hands on anything Star Wars related. They did not yet know the utter disappointment they would face. The sun shone a little brighter back then before Jar Jar Binks. Even still, when the soundtrack was released two weeks prior to the film, many die-hard fans flocked to the stores to grab a copy. They couldn’t think that the song titles would completely ruin the film. Why would they? As fans checked the back of the soundtrack case though, many of the titles of the tracks stood out to them. They realized that each title gave away an incredible spoiler. There was no creativity put into naming these tracks at all. Instead, they were just named with short little scene cues, like “Anakin Defeats Sebulba,” “Qui-Gon’s Noble End” and worst of all, “The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon’s Funeral.”
On a brighter note, this allowed some people to just listen to the soundtrack, bypassing the atomic bomb that is The Phantom Menace.