5. Knowing (2009)
Tagline: “What happens when the numbers run out?”
Nicolas Cage is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, but only because he keeps making movies like Knowing. It’s far from one of his worst films, but sadly, that isn’t saying much. It follows an astrophysics professor (Cage) who uncovers a string of numbers that seem to be warnings for impending disasters.
From that context, it becomes fairly clear what Knowing‘s tagline is all about. The problem with it is that it doesn’t make any sense without the context, so anyone who doesn’t know what the film is about is going to be stumped by the ridiculous marketing decision. It also lacks even the remotest semblance of imagination. It’s literally just a rhetorical question that summarizes the plot. No more, no less.
To make it even worse, it turns out that the numbers aren’t even what Knowing is really about. Not to spoil one of the most ridiculous plot twists of all time, but the numbers came from an unexpected source from an even more unexpected reason. So, not only is Knowing‘s tagline boring and mildly confusing, but it’s sort of misleading, too.