A good look back at how the trailer for Terminator 2 spoiled a twist the movie went to great pains to set up.
Re-watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it’s actually frustrating to see how carefully crafted the first half-hour is, how thoroughly it takes advantage of audience assumptions, all in order to floor them with the big reveal, when Patrick and Schwarzenegger’s Terminators face off over a terrified John Connor, and Schwarzenegger’s is the one who saves John’s life and hustles him to safety. Counting Cameron’s first run at these characters and this basic idea, it took around seven years to build up this fake-out—and just a couple minutes of trailer (and a tagline, “This time he’s back… for good!”) to blow it. It’s one of the dumbest marketing missteps of all time—at least in terms of audience experience.
Nowadays I try to avoid trailers for movies I plan to see, for just this reason. This from someone for whom a half hour spent watching trailers online was once a regular occurrence.
I miss some of the sense of anticipation that comes from a well cut movie trailer, especially for a much anticipated blockbuster, but I've long since learned that any pleasure from the movie will come from the movie itself.