When it comes to marketing, the multi-bajillion dollar budgets of nearly every tentpole theatrical release of the past decade or so have left little room for experimentation, or often any fun. There are still great, thrilling trailers made for Hollywood movies, but there’s also a sameyness that creeps in, with coming attractions often feeling as though they’ve been made from the same safe, time-tested, but uninspired template.
As fan culture has overtaken the box office, actual fans on the ground are the ones who’ve been doing the lord’s work in reimagining popular franchises in new and interesting ways. We’ll probably never see a real big-budget Muppet movie directed by Rob Zombie, a twee indie Mario Bros. movie, or a ‘70s/’80s-era superhero team-up, but we’re invited to imagine those concepts via some very clever fans and filmmakers with maybe a bit too much time on their hands (bless ‘em).
Many of the following fan-made trailers are better (and far more labour intensive) than actual trailers you might see on the big screen. Just as often I’d also rather see the fake movie being imagined than much of what actually makes it onto the big screen.
There’s no word on that Frasier revival that’s been in the works since at least last year, but, in the meantime, here’s the sitcom reimagined as gritty psychological thriller; given the mixed messages we’ve been getting about the show’s update, this could just as easily be on the mark. The creepified strain of “Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs” is a nice touch.
From MP Misc.
The Last of Us (2021)
The long-gestating Last of Us series is coming to HBO next year (with Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey), but this concept trailer imagines an alternate path. It’s rather convincing, managing to generate excitement about a show that will, hopefully, be a match for this fan trailer.
Marvel’s Horror Universe (2022)
It’s not mind-blowing — mashing up some of the creepier clips from the MCU’s decade+ history (alongside bits from Ghost Rider, Venom, and, god help us, Morbius) — but it makes a very good case for more straight-up horror movies set amongst the Marvels.
From ASTrix UI.
Justice League (2012)
With a mashup of several modern DC shows and movies (including the abandoned Adrianne Palicki Wonder Woman series), this fan trailer suggests the possibility of a movie that would be a bit more fun than the one we got. If nothing else, it makes a convincing case for Jonathan Pryce as a DC villain.
Batman and Superman: World’s Finest (2011)
In retrospect, maybe Superman and Batman was the way to go, rather than having them fight for two hours and change.
From Damage, Inc.
The Warriors Remake (2019)
I’m not sure that The Warriors needs a remake so much as it just needs to be seen by more people, but this makes a fair case that it could be done right.
Via LaTonya Swann, originally from YouTuber Ram.
A really clever blend of repurposed footage and CGI trickery, this one’s a reminder that we’re due for a Thundercats movie any time now. Ho!
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Recut (2011)
Ferris Bueller convincingly reimagined as a twee indie comedy.
From Joseph Brett.
The Shining Recut (2006)
The Shining slightly less convincingly reimagined as a romantic family comedy.
Via neochosen on YouTube.
Mario Bros. Indie Film Trailer (2011)
Without exaggeration, I would absolutely buy tickets to this.
CSI: Legoland (2011)
The image of a gruesomely murdered Lego figure is as hilarious as it is disturbing. Given the proliferation of both of these franchises, I’d be a little surprised if we don’t get a real-life version of this one day.
Minesweeper – The Movie (2007)
I fell asleep during the Battleship movie, but I’d give this a shot. Legit surprised this isn’t a real movie, actually.
Harry Potter Spring Teen Comedy
There’s a teen coming-of-age comedy hiding within all of the Harry Potter movies; this fan trailer makes the case that they might have done well with those elements a bit closer to the surface.
Via pleiades14 on YouTube, originally from davidthewlis.net.
Titanic SUPER 3D (2012)
Look, I’ve seen Titanic enough times that I’d get tickets to the George Lucas/J.J. Abrams/Michael Bay re-edit and enjoy every minute.
House of 1,000 Muppets (2007)
You can drop the Muppets into absolutely any genre and it works. Even the Rob Zombie horror genre.
The Steven Moffat era of Doctor Who blends so naturally with the showrunner’s contemporaneous take on Sherlock Holmes that I’m genuinely a bit surprised that this wasn’t an actual crossover.
From John Smith.
Green Lantern (2009)
There is an amazing Green Lantern movie yet to be made. Reflecting a moment when Nathan Fillion could’ve made a perfect GL (he’s voiced the character in animation), the trailer looks like a bit more fun than the movie we got in 2011.
Justice League Retro Trailer (2020)
Michael Keaton, Christopher Reeve, Lynda Carter, and John Wesley Shipp facing down Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor? Perfection.
He-Man: Masters of the Universe Movie Teaser (2007)
The recent Masters renaissance has included multiple animated shows, an upcoming She-Ra live action series for Netflix, and a sorta-in-the-works movie. The year 2007 was a very different time for He-fans, though, the He-ground having lain fallow for some time. This fan trailer was as good as it got and, luckily, it’s pretty good.
She-Ra Princess of Power Cosplay Trailer (2019)
Impressive cosplay, a handful of special effects, and a genuine, honest-to-god pony make this one a cut above.
Legend of Zelda (2008)
How is there not a Legend of Zelda movie already? Ignore the fact that this trailer was released as an April Fool’s gag back in 2008…which was mean. It looks good, no?
The Legend of Zelda: A Live Action Movie Trailer (2015)
And, yet, still no feature-length Zelda movie.
From The Backyard Filmmakers.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Sweded (2017)
A real trailer for a real movie, just not exactly the Last Jedi trailer released by Lucasfilm. The folx at Dumb Drum have made a number of similar recreations, and they’re all quite a bit of fun…this just happens to be one of the best and most technically impressive.
From Dumb Drum.
The Akira Project (2014)
Tetsuo! Kaneda! This impressively conceived and rendered fan trailer for a live-action Akira movie has just about everything you’d ever want in such a project, with a fidelity to the source material that we’re unlikely to see if Hollywood’s long-planned version ever comes about.
From Second Tomorrow.