15 Highly Anticipated Movies That Didn’t Live Up To The Hype

The Matrix Revolutions

Hype is a powerful force. Films can live and die from it. Especially in this internet-based age, we get all excited for films as soon as they are announced. Expensive marketing media campaigns, viral trailer videos, and the remake and sequel culture of Hollywood, are some of the sources of this hype machine.

Some films thrive and live up to all of the award or monetary hype, well some, like these below, falter and do not live up to the hype machine that has been created. Just because they did not live up to the hype does not mean these films are bad, they are just probably not as good as we thought they would be.


1. Prometheus


According to director Ridley Scott, “although the film shares ‘strands of Alien ’s DNA, so to speak’, and takes place in the same universe, Prometheus explores its own mythology and ideas”.

Any way you shake it, people were pumped for this movie. The visuals looked gorgeous, Scott was at the helm, and the cast looked stellar, including Michael Fassbender in the leading role.

The plot line received mixed reviews for seeming predictable and plot elements not being resolved. Before the film’s release, there was several viral campaigns featuring the characters interacting, a futuristic TED talk features David the android played by Michael Fassbender. This well received and well spread campaigned bumped the intrigue of the film to the stratosphere.

When the film was released in the summer of 2012, it was really a love it or hate it. Many praised the film, but some vehemently hated it, citing the plot as the main detractor. Prometheus was a movie that was so hyped and marketed that no matter how good it was, there were going to be plenty of detractors. Because of the vocal detractors and the poor plot, Prometheus lands here.


2. Man of Steel

superman man of steel

After the return of Superman to the big screen in the aptly title Superman Returns, his origin story was rebooted from the original films in Man of Steel. Starring Henry Cavill as the man himself, Man of Steel was a highly anticipated return of the origin story, with particular attention paid to the casting of the titular character, the addition of Christopher Nolan as a producer, and the budget of $225 million.

The film made back its budget in spades, raking in $668 million worldwide. Critically, however, the film received mixed reviews. Some critics praised its visuals, narrative, and Hans Zimmer score, but there were complaints about the film’s pacing and lack of character development. Its story and visuals overcome its arrival into the giant, expensive blockbuster genre.

Overall, Man of Steel is not a bad film, it was just underwhelming, with underwhelming characters, development, and it did not add anything to the original story. It did not live up to the hype and hopefully the Superman vs. Batman movie will be better.


3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


A return to Middle Earth. The whole cast from the legendary modern classics that is the Lord of the Rings trilogy, people were pumped. Peter Jackson was back to direct as well. An Unexpected Journey was the first of three films adapting J.R.R Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit.

People were excited, they were not so sure about the three films thing, but they were incredibly excited to see all of the favorites from Middle Earth back on the big screen. However, two big things somewhat spoiled the party. Slow pacing and a high frame rate. The movie is almost three hours long and not much happens, this is only the beginning of the journey for Bilbo Baggins.

The filmmakers used a 48 frames per second that is twice that of most movies. Couple that with the use of 3-D and you get incredibly high resolution that looked so hyper-real that it is looked fake. Some said that the technology used overshadowed the film, the plot, etc. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s excessive use of technology and its long run time made the film not live up to the hype that the film received.


4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

This is another film on this list that is not necessarily bad, but a really rehashed plot and Shia Labeouf’s performance are just a few reasons that made this film do not live up to the hype. The alien storyline and a less than spritely performance from Harrison Ford took away from the normal family fun atmosphere that the franchise is known for.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released 19 years after the previous film in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, so there was some excitement and yearning from the fans of the franchise. The production team tried to keep everything from plot points to the title a secret right up until the release of the film. They were mostly successful with this and the blockbuster gained a lot of attention and hype for it.

This secrecy paid off as the film made over $700 million and is right outside of the top 50 highest grossing movies ever. Despite the financial success and mostly positive critical praise, a lot of fans and critics alike have named it one of the worst sequels ever made. I don’t think this is true, but I do think they nuked the fridge.


5. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)

Not much to say about this one. Fans waited 16 years for the new Star Wars trilogy, and its first installment was a dud. The visual and action sequels were cool, but the writing, characterization, and acting was just not up to par. Do to the obvious hype and excitement, the film was incredibly financially successful.

The Phantom Menace was once the second highest movie of all time, just behind Titanic. Although that is no longer the case, it remains the highest grossing Star Wars movie, as of now. When the movie came out, lines were out the door, millions of people missed work, and some companies even closed opening day because so many of their workers were going to go see it. Scalped tickets were even sold for $100 apiece.

Overall, the script and characterization, especially the character of Jar Jar Binks were criticized by critics and fans alike. As James Berardinelli wrote, “The Phantom Menace was probably the most overhyped motion picture of the last decade (if not longer), and its reputation suffered as a result of its inability to satisfy unreasonable expectations.” Although the expectations were lofty, The Phantom Menace did not live up to the hype.


6. I Am Legend


This is the most personal choice on the list. Reviews for this adaptation of the Richard Matheson novel of the same name were mostly positive. It was also the seventh highest grossing movie of 2007. I am citing the third act collapse, and the film’s failure to dive deep into existential questions that were raised in the book. The alternate ending provided in the DVD release has been favored by most.

The novel possesses a progressive, multicultural message where Neville become the “Legend” of the infected and then is killed by them. The film finds a cure for the Darkseekers and is delivered to the survivors, through what seems like Divine Intervention, which in my opinion is missing the original message of the book.

I Am Legend, although a good movie, Will Smith is great in it, but for me did not live up to the hype of being an adaptation of the popular Matheson book and an action movie starring Will Smith.


7. Terminator Salvation


A film more famous for Christian Bale’s off-screen antics on set, than actually being any good, Terminator Salvation intended on continuing the success of the Terminator franchise. However, the project ran into problem, including Bale, how to write and depict events from previous films, as this was not a reboot, but a third sequel to the original. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of the first three films was not physically used, his face CGI was.

The third Terminator film, Rise of the Machines started a downfall in the franchise, which has since been rebooted following an alternate timeline, but for some this spelled the end of the franchise. Terminator Salvation was supposed to be the first in a new trilogy for the franchise, but the sequels were scrapped for a multiple of reasons, including lawsuits and the critical response to Salvation. The critics were not mixed at best towards the film.

Aspects such as the sound mixing was praised, but the acting and directing, among other aspects was mostly panned. Terminator Salvation did not live up to the hype of being in the first Terminator film in almost a decade, but it was already rebooted, with more on the way, so fans don’t fret, but don’t watch this one either.