Very few moviegoers enjoy having films spoiled in advance. While it’s fun to speculate about the next big blockbuster, nobody likes knowing everything about a film before entering the theater. With this in mind, a film’s marketing has to perform a balancing act. How can trailers entice viewers to see the movie without revealing too much? Sometimes it works out, but often a movie’s biggest twists can show up in trailers and ruin the whole thing! For this list, we’re going to take a look at popular movie trailers and see just how much they spoil.
Well-constructed trailers only tease at the best parts, but some trailers might as well show you the whole movie! There are plenty of exceptions to this, but you’ll be surprised to see just how many mind-blowing twists trailers spoiled ahead of time. We aren’t drawing the line at plot twists either — any movie that reveals too much in trailers is fair game for this list. Of course, this means that there will be major spoilers below for films new and old alike. You’ve been warned, but if you somehow haven’t seen these movies, the marketing already spoiled them anyway.
Sometimes spoilers hide so well in trailers that you’ll miss them if you blink. Other times, a misguided marketing team will blow the movie’s best moments on a commercial that spans less than a minute. Whether through disregard or desperation, these movie twists just couldn’t stay under wraps. Here are 21 Crazy Twists Spoiled In The Trailers (And 4 That Stayed Secret.)
25 Spoiled: The Terminator Is A Good Guy (Terminator 2: Judgement Day)
Back in 1991, audiences loved Arnold Schwarzenegger’s villainous Terminator. However, trailers for Terminator 2: Judgement Day ruined the best aspect of the sequel. The T-800 is no longer hunting the Connor family — he is protecting them instead.
While the trailers spell this out plainly, the movie treats it like a massive twist. The iconic scene where the T-800 saves John Connor likely shocks audiences more today than it did back then, since younger viewers wouldn’t have seen those trailers. The Terminator franchise has a history of putting spoilers in their marketing material, but thankfully this instance is the least damaging. T2 is a classic for a reason.
24 Spoiled: Wonder Woman And Doomsday (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice)
This is the least of Batman v Superman‘s problems, but it still irked fans at the time. The film that was supposed to be the start of a successful new franchise spoiled two character reveals way before the official release.
Doomsday’s early reactions were divisive, mainly for its odd design and unnecessary inclusion in the marketing. The other reveal was Wonder Woman — a beloved take on the character now, sure, but her crowd-pleasing entrance would only please those who didn’t see it coming.
Aside from those moments, the marketing featured too much footage in general. You would think that marketing a movie with both Batman and Superman in it wouldn’t require so much effort.
23 Spoiled: Harry Lives (Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle)
Kingsman: The Secret Service was a pleasant surprise back in 2014, while the sequel wouldn’t fare quite as well. The first film features a sad end for Harry, Colin Firth’s suave spy mentor. He is shot in the head by the villain at point blank.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle has the gall to bring him back halfway through the film — a twist that appears in the trailers and ruins the surprise! The movie wasn’t received well by critics anyhow, but this reveal would have landed better with everyone if it had just been kept a secret.
22 Spoiled: Hulk’s Entrance (Thor: Ragnarok)
The main selling point of Thor: Ragnarok would have made for a crowd-pleasing twist… had it been saved for the actual film. The first trailer revealed that Thor would encounter the Hulk in space as a combatant in a gladiator match. His entrance is a total surprise, especially since Hulk’s whereabouts are left a mystery at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Showing Hulk’s appearance makes sense from a marketing standpoint — the Thor films aren’t the most successful, so teasing Hulk might entice more moviegoers. While this spoiler doesn’t ruin the film, it simply would have been a nice surprise for Marvel fans to experience in the theater and not months earlier via trailers.
21 Spoiled: Chuck Survives (Cast Away)
The trailer gives away more than just the ending. It features every narrative beat of the movie in chronological order.
As a matter of fact, Cast Away‘s trailer sells an entirely different movie — one that appears to focus on the aftermath of Chuck’s survival, rather than the act of surviving itself. Not only does the trailer breeze past his time lost in the Pacific, but it shows him back home as a changed man.
You could say that it’s about the journey, not the destination… but you’re wrong. This movie is very much about the destination. The trailer is essentially the whole movie.
20 Stayed Hidden: Han’s Son (The Force Awakens)
Star Wars is always the subject of rumors and fan speculation — The Force Awakens especially, since it was such an event. One twist that managed to stay under wraps (despite some fans who might’ve guessed) is Kylo Ren’s lineage.
The masked villain Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. He’s part of the Skywalker family — knowledge that Supreme Leader Snoke drops without any fanfare in the first act. The movie delivers this information like it’s a minor detail and not some massive reveal. That’s pretty cool, considering it caught so many Star Wars fans off guard. Good job hiding your twist, Star Wars.
19 Spoiled: Marcus Is A Terminator (Terminator Salvation)
Terminator is on the list again? This franchise has a bad habit of giving away the twists in marketing, and Salvation is no different. The movie’s only real surprise (besides a cameo by a terrible CGI Arnold Schwarzenegger) is that the protagonist is a Terminator. Marcus Wright (played by Sam Worthington) is a human-Terminator hybrid — something every trailer spoils for no good reason.
The first trailer features the big reveal, when Marcus sees his cyborg skeleton. Another trailer has John Connor speak to Marcus as if he is the enemy, without specifically calling him a Terminator. Either way, the trailers spoiled the twist, and arguably one of the best parts of an overwhelming bland movie.
18 Spoiled: Hulk Saves Tony (The Avengers)
You’re going to see a lot of Marvel films on this list. They have a bad habit of spoiling things ahead of time. The second official trailer for The Avengers features a very minor spoiler, but thankfully it’s less jarring out of context.
At the end of the film, Iron Man steers a nuclear missile into a portal to space, hoping to stop an alien invasion, He loses consciousness once he makes it through and falls back to Earth.
The movie treats this as a tense moment. Will Tony wake up before he hits the ground? The Hulk catches him in mid-air, but if you noticed that in the trailer, you wouldn’t have been surprised.
17 Spoiled: This Is No Game (Ender’s Game)
Ender thinks his training is just that — training to prepare for intergalactic battle. He doesn’t know that his virtual reality “training programs” aren’t virtual. They’re showing him actual, real-time space combat.
The finale of Ender’s Game has Ender take one final VR test where he must destroy an alien fleet. After going a step farther and wiping out an entire alien race, Ender learns the truth and is horrified at his actions.
Trailers don’t actually reveal this moment, but the movie’s tagline is much less subtle. The phrase “This is no game” was scrawled all over the movie’s marketing. Naturally, it appears on the official poster (as taglines usually do) and in the trailers. It’s not technically a spoiler… but technically it’s a spoiler.
16 Spoiled: Most Of The Movie (Speed)
As with many of the industry’s worst movie promos, the trailers for 1994’s Speed reveal pretty much everything. While there is no particularly crazy plot twist to speak of, the trailers show way too much of every major sequence.
The trailers do more than explain the premise of the film. The movie’s tense runaway bus sequence even has its climax spoiled, as the trailers show it explode at the Los Angeles airport. The other major action beats make an appearance as well, and anybody willing to try could probably piece the plot together from the trailers alone.
There are worse trailers on this list, but Speed‘s trailer tries way too hard to sell the film.
15 Spoiled: Feuding Predators (The Predator)
A lot seemed to go poorly for 2018’s The Predator. Between behind-the-scenes controversy and a divisive portrayal of autism, the movie had plenty on its plate before it even hit theaters. It doesn’t help the only real twist was spoiled in the first trailer.
In this reboot-sequel, the Predators are looking to evolve and become better hunters. Instead of keeping this under wraps, the trailer gives a glimpse at a showdown between a classic Predator and a bigger, more vicious one known as the Ultimate Predator. The trailers even spoil an action sequence that is interrupted by the feuding aliens. Couldn’t this have stayed secret?
14 Spoiled: Vision (Avengers: Age Of Ultron)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for secretive marketing nowadays, but earlier films in the series weren’t so careful. For instance, trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron featured an unnecessary character reveal way in advance.
Casual fans of the movies had no idea who Vision was at the time. However, the end of the trailer gives audiences a look at Vision without any context.
It’s not necessarily a twist, but it’s an example of poor marketing. Vision is a purple robot with a glowing gem in his head — only fans of the comics would have any idea who he is at a glance. Couldn’t this have been saved for the film? It’s a reveal that only satisfies a select few, and confuses most others.
13 Spoiled: Gandalf The White (The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers)
Anyone with prior knowledge of Tolkien’s work knew all about Gandalf’s fate, but when he bites the dust in the first Lord of the Rings film, he left a lasting impact on audiences. Aside from countless memes and sheer iconic nature of the character, Gandalf is simply one of the likable members of the Fellowship.
So perhaps it is understandable, yet all the more unacceptable, that trailers for The Two Towers spoil his resurrection in all its glory. Although shots of the final battle do contain brief glimpses of him, Gandalf appears at the end of the first trailer without a hint of subtlety.
12 Spoiled: John Connor Is A Terminator (Terminator: Genisys)
Ugh, Terminator again? In typical franchise fashion, the trailers spoil Terminator: Genisys‘s biggest twist without any remorse.
John Connor, this time played by actor Jason Clarke, sends Kyle Reese back in time to save his mother from the Terminator. However, in this sequel, John turns out to be a villainous Terminator himself. It’s another twist that would have went over much better in theaters if it had been kept a secret.
The film didn’t get any love from critics or fans regardless, but can’t the Terminator films just save one secret for the theatergoers? Just once? Please? Oh, they also spoil the fight between old Arnold Schwarzenegger and the younger, CGI Arnold Schwarzenegger. You know, just in case you decided to actually see the movie.
11 Stayed Hidden: Liz’s Dad (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
One of the best scenes in Spider-Man: Homecoming just managed to survive those pesky trailers. The film’s twist comes in the third act when it’s revealed that the villainous Vulture is the father of Peter’s love interest, Liz Allen.
When Peter goes to pick up Liz for prom, Adrian Toomes answers the door. Peter knows him as the Vulture, but Toomes doesn’t know Peter. This leads to a sequence where Peter must stay calm in the presence of his unknowing enemy. Vulture even drives the couple to the prom, where he realizes that Peter is actually Spider-Man.
It’s an intense moment that stayed under wraps despite the rampant speculation around every Marvel movie.
10 Spoiled: Freeing Willy (Free Willy)
What more needs to be said? Sure, Free Willy doesn’t exactly hinge on some majestic twist, but any movie that spoils its ending in the trailers is fair game for this list.
In this case, perhaps it is about the journey and not the destination. Is there any question that Willy won’t be freed? Probably not, no. Still if anybody with a shadow of a doubt happens to see the trailer, it’ll make things pretty obvious.
We should take a moment to acknowledge that movies, generally speaking, are predictable. Especially with high profile blockbusters, it’s rare that there isn’t a happy ending somewhere down the road. Regardless, giving away an ending hardly helps with suspending disbelief.
9 Spoiled: Most Of The Movie (Spider-Man 3)
Here’s another case of a movie’s marketing giving everything away. The Black Suit, Venom’s origin, the new Green Goblin — it’s all there, ready for audiences to dissect before even walking into the theater. Even the Comic-Con trailer for Spider-Man 3, as older fans might remember, reveals the sequence of the symbiote bonding to Topher Grace’s Eddie Brock.
Yet again, there’s no real twist to speak of. Just another trailer that shows way too much. It even reveals minor plot twists, like Sandman’s connection to Uncle Ben’s mugging. Aside from the action sequences and some silly dancing, there was little that audiences couldn’t learn about Spider-Man 3 ahead of time.
8 Spoiled: Cloning Blues (The Island)
Michael Bay movies are hardly subtle, but this sci-fi thriller’s big mystery is spelled out in the trailers. After escaping a mysterious compound, the protagonists of The Island find out that they are part of a massive illegal cloning operation. They’re being kept from the real world so that they never discover the truth.
There’s little else to know, and the trailers don’t hold back. They explain this in detail alongside brief glimpses or action sequences. This movie is more about the bombastic action than unraveling the mystery anyway, but this still spoils the most interesting aspect of the plot.
7 Spoiled: Wolverine’s Cameo (X-Men Apocalypse)
It’s no secret that the X-Men franchise is struggling to stay afloat. Especially now, with the Disney-Fox deal in place, the X-Men are likely going to get a time-out for a few years. However, even back in 2016, Fox didn’t have enough confidence in the franchise to market it without major spoilers.
How does Fox get butts in seats for X-Men: Apocalypse? With the promise of Hugh Jackman, of course! Trailers for the film spoil Wolverine’s brief cameo appearance, which is easily the best sequence in the film. Rumors indicated that he would play a part in the movie, but did we really need to have this spoiled for us?
6 Spoiled: The Identity Of Cassius (The Double)
This forgettable spy-thriller is all about catching Cassius, an international assassin and fugitive. The plot mostly consists of government agents (Topher Grace and Richard Gere) trying to discover Cassius’s true identity. They probably should have just watched the trailers though, because they reveal that Cassius is Richard Gere. So much for that.
To be fair, The Double reveals this information very early on, but maybe this would feel like more of a revelation if it had been spelled out for audiences to see before they even purchased a ticket. Well, there goes all the tension in the first half of the movie.
5 Stayed Hidden: The Shyamalan Twist (The Sixth Sense)
Director M. Night Shyamalan is famous for his crazy plot twists. Many of them fall flat or fail to satisfy audiences, but one has remained famous. The plot twist in The Sixth Sense was rightfully kept out of trailers.
The film follows Bruce Willis as Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist who must uncover the mystery of young Cole’s delusions. Cole famously tells Malcolm that he sees ghosts, which should be a red flag to audiences. The end of the film reveals that Malcolm was a ghost the entire time.
The marketing for The Sixth Sense explains the supernatural premise but does little to hint at any shocking twist. This is how you do it, people.
4 Spoiled: The Ending (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Sony Pictures has a bad habit of spoiling their Spider-Man movies in trailers. Homecoming managed hide the Vulture’s true identity from audiences, but even most of that movie made it into commercials. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t fare much better, as it fell victim to revealing trailers and promos.
Not only did it telegraph the demise of Gwen Stacy, a famous event from the comics, but the trailers even reveal the last few shots of the movie. While the latter isn’t particularly a spoiler, it does seem odd to reveal the literal end of them movie in the marketing.
3 Spoiled: Tony’s Cameo (The Incredible Hulk)
The Incredible Hulk is a film that most Marvel fans have already forgotten. However, even at the time, the marketing gave away the only scene that tied the film to the rest of the Marvel universe. At the end of the movie, Robert Downey Jr. appears as Tony Stark to tease Hulk’s inclusion in the Avengers.
Mid-credit and post-credit scenes are staples of Marvel films. Spoiling these scenes in any way is pretty criminal — even the ones that aren’t that important. However, the post-credit scene for The Incredible Hulk showed up in the trailers.
The Avengers was hardly a secret production, but did this scene really need to be spoiled so early?
2 Spoiled: Insanity (Shutter Island)
While the trailers for Shutter Island aren’t outright spoilers, they do a bit too much to telegraph the film’s big twist. DiCaprio stars as Teddy Daniels, a detective investigating the disappearance of woman named Rachel Solando. He heads to Shutter Island, home to the insane asylum where he conducts much of his investigation.
Although the trailers do promise a noir-thriller, it reveals a few to many of Daniels’ surreal experiences. Right away, viewers can narrow things down to two options. Either the film has supernatural elements, or Daniels is crazy.
The end of the film reveals that he was a patient the entire time, and that he had been role-playing his mania with consent from the hospital staff.
1 Stayed Hidden: Thanos Wins (Avengers: Infinity War)
Nowadays, event films like Avengers: Infinity War have to be marketed very carefully. Marvel Studios played it close to the chest to avoid hinting at the depressing ending. Sometimes heroes don’t always win.
Fans of the comics might have guessed that Thanos would be victorious, but the marketing for Infinity War suggested that this was the true finale to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some people were certainly aware that it wasn’t the end, especially since a sequel was set for a year later, but the marketing treated Infinity War like it was the end of everything.
This makes it all the more emotional when the movie ends with Thanos eliminating most of the superhero cast. So much for a happy superhero ending?
Have you ever seen a trailer that spoiled a movie for you? Let us know by leaving your picks in the comments.