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In a World where trailers are made for movies that will never exist.
The show's great. You've seen every episode and bought the DVD collection. And there, tucked away in the extras, is the Holy Grail: the trailer for the movie.
But something's not quite right. Perhaps the trailer gives a 1999 release date, and it's already 2007. Perhaps the characters in the trailer are parodies of themselves. Perhaps?
Perhaps it's a spoof. The movie isn't going to be made, and there was never any intention of making it; it was just the production crew having a bit of fun.
Never mind. At least the trailer's funny — we hope.
This is the superlative of Trailers Always Lie — while that trope is about trailers misrepresenting various portions of a real film, this is about a trailer lying about an entire work. That being said... sometimes the trailer is so well-received that people actually make the movie.
Compare Trailer Spoof, which is for a real movie, just not the one you thought it was.
- 1 Advertising
- 2 Anime and Manga
- 3 Fan Fiction
- 4 Films — Live-Action
- 5 Literature
- 6 Music
- 7 Videogames
- 8 Web Animation
- 9 Web Originals
- 10 Western Animation
- 11 Videogames
- 12 Web Originals
- 13 Western Animation
- 14 Anime and Manga
- 15 Films — Live-Action
- 16 Live-Action TV
- 17 Music
- 18 Radio
- 19 Web Originals
- 20 Western Animation
- Falling in Lamb was an Australian commercial from a few years back, advertising lamb. It was short-lived, though, possibly due to the number of calls to local theatres enquiring about the release date of this new romantic comedy.
- Lucky Star (no, not the anime), starring Benicio Del Toro. There has to be more than one person who saw it repeatedly on TV and never realized it was a car commercial.
- There was a trailer for an excellent sounding movie playing in a local movie theatre, but it is disappointing to find out it's just a anti-dandruff shampoo ad.
- There's a whole series of fake trailers used by the AMC theater chain, to warn audiences to pipe down and turn off their personal electronics. Each one opens as expected for its genre (period Kung Fu flick, Disney Talking Animal cartoon, etc), only to be derailed when a cell phone rings, distracting the characters at some critical moment. Hilarity Ensues.
- Speaking of silencing your cell phone, a policy shown in Israel movie theaters called "Fatal Call" starts out like a movie trailer, but you know from the beginning, since it takes place in a movie theater. The trailer contains a girl who is eating popcorn when her cell phone rings, and a voice from the phone says "Sarah! You shouldn't have answered! You should have left your cell phone off!" Then, Sarah chokes on her popcorn. Ah...don't you just love happy endings?
- Scarlet looked like ads for a slick, spy-fi Spiritual Successor to Alias. It was an ad for a TV series, as in a series of TV's made by LG. Note a lot of the dialogue, such as "Putting her in every home on the planet," and saying "She's gonna change TV."
- Geico made a trailer for a fake reality show titled Tiny House, about a couple living in a house that was built too small.
- Elf Princess Rane is a two-episode OAV that ends with trailers for the completely nonexistent third and fourth episodes.
- A similar fate had befallen a number of short OAV series, especially during the 80s and 90s: The material produced was intended to be a pilot for a longer work, but the series was canned before it ever got off the ground. While not all of them necessarily had trailers produced advertising the dead-in-the-water series, see also the "in the next episode" bit advertising "Knight of Lemon" at the end of "Knights of Ramune" (which is promptly followed by a note that the series had been cancelled).
- Magical Girl Pretty Sammy The Motion Picture: The God Boys VS. Magical Girls was included as one of the extras on the final Magical Project S Laser Disc and DVD. It had many fans believing that a movie was forthcoming, and resulted in a petition (unsuccessful) to get the movie made. What in anime doesn't it parody? "Oshioki desuu, haaaii!"
- Mai-Otome had a fake trailer on the DVDs for the Mai-HiME movie. Many people on Anime Suki and Wikipedia don't realize that it's a joke and keep asking when the movie will be released despite the release date being listed as 20006 [sic].
- The last page of second volume of the hentai doujinshi Take on Me is intended to look like an advertisement for a anime adaptation. Far, far too many people have asked where they can find this movie, when it is coming out, etc. It's not, it's just the artist mind screwing the audience.
- The seventh DVD special (NSFW) of Rumbling Hearts was a trailer of series' Remake In Space WITH GUNDAMS!
- This might or might not be a spoof. Either way, there's another visual novel series two of the female protagonists from Kimi Ga ended up in. Muv-Luv. Chances are this was a reference to it...
- Similarly, the fifth DVD special of Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora was a trailer for The True Kyoshiro To Towa No Sora, a remake of the original series with a grander sci-fi plot and much more Romantic Two-Girl Friendship (with Kuu and Setsuna as the Official Couple). They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot, actually...
- Hyakko does this in episode six of the series, giving the audience a preview that has, among other things, an army of Mecha-Torakos, Evil!Suzume and a midair battle between Torako and her brother. It's also completely fake.
- The first volume of The Melancholy Of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan contains a preview of a manga dealing with Itsuki's becoming an esper and joining the Organization… except Kyon disillusions him next page with a "Yeah, that trailer was a fake, Haruhi-chan is a gag-manga".
- The final episode of Seitokai Yakuindomo includes a preview for a Magical Girl show called Magical Mako, claiming that it will take over their timeslot the following week. Takatoshi then pulls out the TV schedule and points out that they're really be replaced by the second season of Hakuouki.
- Subverted with Gintama, with the trailer for the Benizakura arc movie. It first shows up in the third season, when the characters admit that the trailer is fake. During the next season, the trailer is played again and the characters say it is actually coming out. Played straight with the second trailer, where the trailer is played and Gin follows up by telling us it is all a lie.
- This fanmade trailer for Green Lantern.
- It's really more of a case of "Real Movie, Fake Trailer" but there's this trailer for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie...
- This fan-made trailer for a Glee movie called "When Kurt Met Blaine". The creator said that she made the trailer as realistic as possible, which does not help at all.
- Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats HHHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
- Small screen example: After Star Trek: Enterprise rolled out its special opening to its two-part "In A Mirror Darkly" episode, a number of Trekkies and other fans came up with Mirror Universe openings for other Star Trek shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, among other spoofs and parodies.
- A Star Trek: The Next Generation Mirror Universe opening
- Another Star Trek: The Next Generation Mirror Universe opening
- A Star Trek: Voyager Mirror Universe opening
- There was also at least one trailer for a Star Trek: Voyager movie.
- Then there's the Star Trek: Emergency opening, which is what Star Trek: Voyager would probably be like from the Doctor's point of view.
- This text-only trailer for Kyon: Big Damn Hero.
Films — Live-Action
- All of the trailers in Grindhouse (Machete, Thanksgiving, Don't!, Hobo With A Shotgun, and Werewolf Women of the SS). In an unusual twist, both Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun got such a good reception that they were made into actual movies.
- Hardware Wars, by Ernie Fosselius, was made seven months after the first release of A New Hope and is reputedly George Lucas' favorite Star Wars parody.
"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss three bucks goodbye!"
- The trailer for Italian Spiderman has to be seen to be (dis)believed. SUSPENSO! It was so well-received that it's was expanded into a series, presented as parts of a recently recovered copy of the full movie.
- The trailer for a "sequel" to Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: Enter the Fist was actually just deleted footage spliced together. In a strange twist, the film's producer tried to actually produce the sequel, but was denied funding as the original had been a box office flop.
- The Mel Brooks parody History of the World, Part I ends with a fake trailer for a part II. Wikipedia explains this as being a reference to the book The History of the World, whose author was beheaded before he could write a part 2.
- Kentucky Fried Movie includes trailers for parodies of other films, including Catholic High School Girls In Trouble, That's Armageddon! and Cleopatra Schwartz (a parody of a Blaxploitation film called 'Cleopatra Jones).
- This is how Trey Parker's Cannibal! The Musical began. He made a fake trailer for film class and was told to make the movie by his teacher.
- Ben Stein's movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was criticized for, amongst other things, lying to the interviewees about the nature of the film and cutting up interviews to change the meaning of what they said. Richard Dawkins, one of the scientists who claims to have been misquoted, produced his own satirical trailer for a possible sequel.
- Kill Buljo, a spoof trailer of "Kill Bill" set in a Scandinavian indigenous people's setting, actually was filmed later. Supposedly, Quentin Tarantino quite liked it (the director eventually made a movie about a buried treasure guarded by Nazi zombies).
- Tropic Thunder featured not one but four of these before the movie even starts. The first is a fake commercial for the now-real "Booty Sweat" drink, the second for the sixth installment in fictional action star Tugg Speedman's blockbuster Scorcher franchise, the third for an Eddie Murphy-style comedy called The Fatties: Fart 2, and the fourth for Satan's Alley, an Oscar Bait art film about gay medieval monks starring (the fake) Kirk Lazarus and (the real) Tobey Maguire.
- Francesco Vezzoli's short film Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (NSFW for sexual content and nudity) is a fake trailer for a Caligula movie starring, among others, Benicio Del Toro, Helen Mirren and Karen Black.
- The movie Movie Movie had, in between its two main segments, a trailer for a fictitious World War II air battle movie called Zero Hour.
- Closet Cases of the Nerd Kind, a parody of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which involves aliens who hit people in the face with pies for no reason, singing mailboxes, and Darth Vader on a motorcycle telling the hero to stop holding up traffic.
- Movie: The Movie from Jimmy Kimmel is a massive Genre Busting fake trailer starring a serious number of A-list Hollywood talent.
- Second movie of Jump Street ends will over 20 trailers for future Jump Street sequels.
- Later editions of the novel The Princess Bride feature a preview chapter of a prospective sequel at the end, a sequel which the author has never quite gotten around to writing.
- Stanislaw Lem wrote a book or two made entirely of introductions to nonexistent books.
- The Music Video for I'm Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance.
- The Black Keys released a hybrid music video/movie trailer for their song "Howling For You". It's mostly an Affectionate Parody of various action movie tropes, as well as being about eighteen different kinds of awesome. Watch it here.
- The Hang Me Up To Dry Music Video from Cold War Kids.
- Kasabian put out a trailer for a 1970s Italian B-slasher film for their song "Vlad the Impaler." It starred Noel Fielding as "Roman Tarasov."
- The video for Queens of the Stone Age's "3's & 7's" is set up like this, complete with an anouncer at the very end saying the title of the "movie." And the title is? Take a wild guess.
- IGN's 2008 April Fool's joke was this surprisingly impressive trailer for a movie of The Legend of Zelda.
- The Battle Fantasia series, a set of trailers for a conceptual game franchise that's basically Super Robot Wars, only instead of a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of Humongous Mecha, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of cute girls from Moe and series such as Fate/stay night, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Mariasama ga Miteru, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Shakugan no Shana, Suzumiya Haruhi, Pretty Cure, and Zero no Tsukaima. Many fanboys' hearts have been broken when they realized that the games shown aren't real.
- The Tsukihime spin-off Kagetsu Tohya included a preview for Tsukihime 2. No Tsukihime 2 exists or will likely ever exist.
- Angry Birds: The Movie.
- Duck Hunt, too. Also available in 3D.
- Donkey Kong: The Movie.
"One man, against all odds, fightting the ultimate evil, trying to save his potential girlfriend as well the entire world."
- The Oregon Trail movie.
- Fruit Ninja, the movie.
- There is an incredible fan-made trailer for a non-existent Wind Waker sequel for the Wii U, using hand-drawn backgrounds and models from both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. The end result is fantastic(despite Link's model being a bit off), and gained some fame around the internet.
- In 2011 Egosoft, developer of the X-Universe series, released a trailer for an animated movie called Nautilus set in the series' universe. It was based on a fanfic by forum member NUKLEAR-SLUG about his Boron character Squiddy McSquid. It being April Fools' Day...
- Homestar Runner has done this a few times, most famously making a fake trailer for a movie based on their game Peasant's Quest. According to their website, there already is a full-length Peasant's Quest movie: "its 'full length' is three minutes" (the length of the trailer).
- See also the SBEmail "Narration", where Strong Bad narrates the lives of the residents of Free Country, USA as though they were movie trailers: Homestar and Marzipan are a couple torn apart by a novelty chef's hat, an argument between Coach Z and Bubs over napkins apparently leads to the fall of an empire, and Strong Sad gets a dead goose thrown at him.
- One memorable trailer was for the potentially awesome film, "Batman vs Batman vs Batman". Think about it.
- There's also the hilarious parody of trailers in general known as The Mother of All Trailers, starring Edward Norton.
- User Bloodrunsclear makes fake movie and TV trailers, based on the most disparate sources, at an impressive pace — three new ones a week sometimes, and reached the 500 videos mark on February 2012. While the results do not always hit the mark, a big increase in quality, editing and consistency in his more recent works is evident, compared to his earlier attempts. Some examples: System Shock 2 , Elfen Lied , Akira , Skyrim , Carn Evil , Homestuck  ,Modern Warfare 3 .
- Don't forget mikenel's Insert Title Here. Made for April Fool's Day 2010 it promised a crossover between characters from Invader Zim and Haruhi Suzumiya. While there are things to nitpick such as continuity errors (e.g. doesn't Koizumi's powers work only in Haruhi's closed space?) It is an otherwise convincing "trailer". Oh, and did I mention it's based on a fanart made by the same guy?
- There's a brutal parody of a Darker and Edgier Archie Comics here.
- This trailer for a Mario Kart movie.
- This two-part trailer(here and here), "Orson Welles' "The Bat-Man"), was inspired by a widely-circulated(and debunked) internet rumor that Orson Welles wanted to direct a Batman movie during the 40s. The trailer consists of clips from a 40s Batman serial, along with other movies(including Citizen Kane and The Third Man), casting Orson Welles as Bruce Wayne, Joseph Cotton as Jim Gordon, Edgar G. Robinson as the Penguin, Marlena Dietrich as Catwoman and Conrad Veidt(with clips of "The Man Who Laughs"--ironically, the original inspiration for the character) as the Joker.
- Used, but then turned into a subversion, by Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series: There was a trailer made for an Abridged version of Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie, that was never intended to be made into a full movie. Eventually, however, after a lot of people asked for it, Little Kuriboh did make a half-hour version of the movie, but with none of the lines from the original trailer (except one reference).
- On YouTube, there are many trailers for movies that will never be made. Some are intentionally funny while others are not.
- Minesweeper The Movie trailer.
- Grayson, a trailer for a film where a retired Robin once again takes up the mantle to solve the mystery of Batman's death. A script was even produced for a full feature and is available to read online.
- Pac Man: The Movie. It actually looks half-decent apart from the Special FX.
- Two words: Mutha Nature (rated "Blockbuster" by the Academy of Film Review).
- By the way, the scene is so fertile it was prompted an international festival/contest of sorts, Teaserland.
- Thundercats Live Action Movie. Looks really damn good, but alas, it's fake, made by editing footage from various other movies.
- Some people decided to tease Touhou fans with a sophisticated trailer for an Eastern RPG entry into the series.
- This well done trailer for a Titanic sequel.
- It has a sequel.
- And here's Tetris — The Movie.
- This fake opening (perhaps technically not a trailer) for a Saturday-morning Watchmen cartoon features hilarious Lighter and Softer Adaptation Decay and a Cliché Storm of 1980s cartoon tropes.
- The Waldo Ultimatum.
- The Sims.
- Where's Waldo?: The Movie.
- Many trailers made for a Justice League movie are sadly just spliced scenes from the Dark Knight movies and Superman Returns or Smallville with a handful of brief cuts of what are supposed to be the other heroes. A few even add in close up shots of Megan Fox from the Transformers movies that make little sense even if you know of the untrue rumors about Fox starring in a Wonder Woman movie.
- The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon. Even the trailer is long (10 minutes!)
- A rare case of this trope being Tropes Are Not Bad, since the supposed full-length movie would be over 9 hours long.
- You're Not Cruise.
- From the people who brought you Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Menace To Society, Dangerous Wands.
- A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever can be seen here
- And its send-up, The Trailer For Every Christian Movie Ever.
- My Immortal The Movie. 
- A Walk to Remember and Five Hundred Days of Summer, anime style.
- Itou Makoto MUST DIE!
- This trailer for a Punch Out movie. If only they actually did the entire movie...
- Pokemon Apokelypse is a response to the "common trend of 'dark and gritty' reboots of popular franchises."
- The ultimate crossover: Goonies of the Caribbean: The Search for One-Eyed Willy (Mashup of The Goonies and Pirates of the Caribbean)
- Not only is there a live-action My Little Pony movie, but they go behind the scenes too.
- Another version of mash-ups uses the sound from one trailer and the footage from another trailer/movie/TV show. An excellent example would be Toy Story Requiem: footage from Toy Story and Toy Story 2 with the sound from Requiem of a Dream.
- Cock and Load a Grindhouse style preview about a man who has his penis replaced with a shotgun and uses it to fight the mob. Must be seen to be believed.
- A trailer for the Nicholas Cage The Wicker Man has been made as though it was a comedy. It is hilarious.
- There's also The Veloci Pastor, a fake grindhouse trailer about a priest who turns into a dinosaur.
- A peculiar small subgenre are the Premakes: using edited footage of mostly old movies, they try to recreate how a movie could have been if it was made a few decades earlier. Youtube user Whoiseyevan has created the best examples, like Up as a 1965 live-action Disney movie, The Avengers in 1952 (before all team members except Captain America were even created), and The Empire Strikes Back in 1950. The latter is particularly good before it takes from several movies that inspired Star Wars firsthand. There are a few more Premakes around but not as good as these.
- There's a trailer for Nico Nico All Stars, based on memes from Nico Nico Douga, which sadly doesn't exist.
- While he waits for his movie to even get into production, Deadpool can watch this fan trailer. If the real thing ever happens, it better be as good as that.
- A trailer for Monopoly: The Movie based off of the board game
- The season two DVD for Marble Hornets features, as an extra, a trailer for the titular student film.
- The Twit Network: A spoof of The Social Network, telling Twitter's history instead of Facebook's.
- This fan-made trailer for a Doctor Who/Sherlock crossover episode. It looks freaking awesome, even if there is no possible chance of it ever being done for real.
- There's a trailer for Pedobear: The Bed Intruder slated for release on February 31st, 2012.
- There was a trailer for a live action Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law movie on the Volume 1 DVD.
"We're pretty sure they made the movie, too, but are waiting until our birthday."
- Family Guy featured a trailer for The Passion of the Christ 2: Crucify This. That movie NEEDS to be made.
- X-Play did a similar thing, but with less Chris Tucker and more straight badassery. See the scene at the beginning where Jesus pulls himself off the cross and USES THE NAILS IN HIS HANDS AS WEAPONS.
- The 2009 trailer for the sixth Raumschiff Gamestar season looked authentic... right until the producers resumed publication of its successor series Die Redaktion half a year later.
- Meapless in Seattle is supposed to be a trailer for a fake episode for Phineas and Ferb, until they it into a real episode later on. That episode ended with another fake trailer called Meap Me in St. Louis.
- The ad for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was shown in theaters. It was so different from the style of the actual game that until the video started showing gameplay footage, some people have mistaken it for a trailer for a Zelda movie.
- There is someone trying to make a Final Fight movie, though he just needs the budget apparently to make it work. From the looks of the trailer it looks like he could do it.
- The excellent Pyrats animation was a final project for an animation school in Paris. It will never be a movie, but it looks like a trailer (and people have reported that they would like to go and see it).
Anime and Manga
Films — Live-Action
- The movie Scary Movie 2 has a trailer for Amistad 2, which some people believe is the funniest part of the whole movie.
- CSA: Confederate States of America features, among its mock commercials, ads for fake TV shows, including the Cops parody Runaway and (presumably syndicated reruns of) Leave It to Beulah (which uses footage from a real-life show from the '50s).
- The Weird Al movie UHF had trailers for Conan the Librarian and Gandhi 2.
- On 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan once made a trailer for his proposed biopic of Thomas Jefferson... with him playing all the parts. Highlights include Tracy as Jefferson proclaiming "Eat that, King George!" as he finishes writing the Declaration of Independence and the narrator describing him as an "Academy Award watcher".
- Supernatural has a trailer for "Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning" in the episode "Hollywood Babylon."
- The Daily Show advertises several fake products on a regular basis, including Jon magazine and the Daily Show Home Game. In 2003, they started airing joke trailers for a new spinoff called The Colbert Réport that had "already been cancelled". The Report premiered in 2005, and has been described as "the only show that started as a promo for itself".
- A Bill Nye the Science Guy episode on the Earth's Crust had a trailer for a kid cop show called "Johnny Crust."
- How I Met Your Mother had one of these where a trailer for The Wedding Bride was mentioned on the show and the full trailer was released online here. The movie describes Ted's failed relationship with Stella however from the somewhat skewed mind of her ex-husband Tony. Ted in one episode goes to see this movie more than once and, at one point, acts out something similar to it to is date while he is in the movie theatre.
- In the two-hundredth episode of Stargate SG 1, titled "200," the team is giving advice on the production of Wormhole X-Treme!, a show based on their adventures. The opening to act four, which airs immediately after a commercial break and was intended to be mistaken for another commercial, is a trailer for Teal'c, P.I.. Bonus points for actually getting Isaac Hayes to do the narration.
- The video for "Hang Me Up To Dry" by indie rock band Cold War Kids. It's filmed in black-and-white, set in a post-war (World War II?) era and revolves around the relationship of a pale-skinned brunette and a Loveable Rogue. The fact that it mentions that this is the third installment of a nonexistent trilogy turns this into a Foregone Conclusion whenever you watch it again (and again, and again), but some fans desperately yearn for Defictionalization.
- The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show has an audio trailer for a Sophisticated As Hell movie version of Othello ("He was tough! He was black! He was jealous as hell!"), starring Mr. T ("I pity the fool who messes with Desdemona!")
- The Least Likely, Kelly Hu's project for CAUSE, made in an effort to get Asian-Americans to become more politically active and less apathetic (the name comes from the fact that Asians are the racial group that is least likely to vote each year, with only about one-third doing so). Rumors of an actual movie to go with the trailer still circulate.
- The Simpsons and The Critic are full of them.
- The second season premiere of The Boondocks opens with a trailer for Soul Plane 2 (the original being one of Aaron McGruder's least favorite movies), and the episode itself revolves around its premiere.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends "One False Movie" can be explained by both Bloo's overwhelming ego and the Rule of Funny, as the 'trailer' seems to be the opening part of the film it's pimping.
- That was only the trailer?
- Robot Chicken is in love with this trope. They've made trailers for Kill Bunny, Shoots and Ladders, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and EXPLOSIONS.