Hype and Hollywood have gone hand-in-hand since the very beginning of the movie business. It predates the modern blockbuster era up by several years as Hollywood has always done their best to hype up a movie. Today, it’s major with the Internet, social media and more allowing studios to majorly hype up their movies for a big opening and then further success. Of course, that does lead to the downside, which is if the hype gets to be too much and the film fails to deliver, it can be a much bigger deal.
It can be a double-edged sword. Supporters of mega-bomb John Carter will argue that a key reason behind its failure is that Disney didn’t do enough to hype the film. It’s not alone as many a movie slips under the radar for a huge surprise while ones that are pushed so hard fail fast. It’s not just blockbusters; every year brings a slew of supposed “Oscar bait” movies that get attention only to fall flat upon release. With the push for more promotion increasing in the last several years, it’s no surprise films with high expectations face a backlash. The Force Awakens was a massive box office and critical success but even it has some complaining it didn’t live up to the hype so it can be harder to overcome that much expectations. Some are able to pay it off but others are seen as just not succeeding because of that amount of expectation. Even movies that were hits at the box office are still seen as lacking due to all the advance buzz and Here are 20 movies that failed to live up to their advance press and how such a thing is a double-edged sword for Hollywood.
20 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
18 Spider-Man 3
15 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
14 Wild Wild West
13 The Godfather Part III
12 Sucker Punch
11 Superman Returns
9 Batman V Superman
6 Pearl Harbor
5 Snakes On a Plane
4 The Hobbit
3 King Kong
Twice moviemakers have attempted huge remakes of the 1933 classic and both times they failed to reach expectations. In 1976, Dino de Laurentiis produced a version with Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange in her film debut. It was one of the most expensive movies of its time and a big deal was made over a giant robotic Kong to be used in it but it would turn out the thing barely worked so it was just Rick Baker in a suit for pieces. Despite some great push with cover stories on magazines, the movie opened to poor reviews and while a success at the box office, in no way the monster hit it was expected to be.
2 The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions
1 Godzilla (1998)
The excellent book The Gross examines the summer movie season of 1998 and how it shifted a lot in hype and marketing. Much of it is devoted to how most everyone believed this was going to be the movie of that year. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were coming off the massive success of Independence Day and thus reviving the greatest movie monster of all time promised success. Sony went into overdrive pushing it, keeping all sight of Godzilla himself off-screen while promoting the tagline “Size does matter” and billboards teasing the monster (“His foot is as big as this bus.”) It was going to be the smash…and then it opened.
Critics were not kind to the story with Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno wasted as the human cast and a dumb plotline. The worst part, however, was that Godzilla himself was slammed by moviegoers as a refugee from Jurassic Park, not the epic monster he should have been and the action just loud and dumb. Despite a sequel tease, it barely made back its budget at the box office and would be made fun of by fans in Japan. As The Gross explored, the overhyping was its downfall as it set up a monster fail.
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