15 High-Concept Movies That Sounded Awesome but Wasted Their Potential

Don't you hate it when you hear a film premise that blows you away, only for the film to squander that premise?
15 High-Concept Movies That Sounded Awesome but Wasted Their Potential

If you buy something using our links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Is there anything more disappointing than a movie whose premise sounds amazing, only for it to be so poorly executed that you can't help but be angry?

It pains me when a writer or director has a golden egg in their hands and then breaks it into a million pieces—not only because their film sucks, but because it taints all future attempts at a similar premise.

To be fair, a "wasted potential" movie can still be an enjoyable movie to watch, but you'll always have that nagging feeling of "What if?" at the back of your mind. What if it had been done well? How much better could this experience be? Argh!

This article has NO spoilers. I'll just describe each film's premise and couple it with the film's trailer so that you, too, can have your hopes raised then dashed when you go to actually watch it.

15. Sphere (1998)

When a 300-year-old alien spacecraft is discovered deep in the Pacific Ocean, a team of scientists and experts venture down to make sense of it.

14. War of the Worlds (2005)

A father struggles to keep his two children safe and alive when monstrous aliens invade Earth and begin to wipe out entire cities.

13. In Time (2011)

In the near future, everyone stops aging at 25 and has only one year left to live. However, one's remaining time can be transferred to others, leading to time being used as currency.

12. Timer (2009)

In the near future, people can be implanted with a timer that counts down to the day when they meet their soulmate. However, one woman's timer is blank.

11. Plus One (2013)

During a college party, a mysterious event causes the emergence of sinister doppelgangers, which throws everything into chaos and danger.

10. Hancock (2008)

An alcoholic vigilante with superhuman powers and a bad attitude wants to be a hero but causes more problems than he solves.

9. Push (2009)

A group with superhuman abilities joins forces to take down a government conspiracy.

8. Jumper (2008)

A young man, several years after discovering that he has the ability to teleport, is hunted down by a secret organization.

7. Sunshine (2007)

The sun is on the verge of dying, so a group of astronauts embark on a mission to reignite it. However, they aren't the first group to have tried it: the previous mission team from seven years ago mysteriously vanished.

6. The Invention of Lying (2009)

In the entire world, nobody has ever told a lie. However, one man discovers how to tell a lie, and he's the only one who can.

5. Vantage Point (2008)

An attempt is made on the President of the United States's life. This single event is told from the perspective of various characters.

4. Circle (2015)

Fifty people wake up in a dark room. Every two minutes, one of them is killed. If anyone tries to leave, they're killed. And eventually they figure out that they can control who dies next.

3. Bright (2017)

In a fantasy alternate universe where Los Angeles has become home to humans, fairies, elves, and even orcs, a human LAPD police office and his orc partner begrudgingly work together to protect a magic wand with unspoken power.

2. The Discovery (2017)

The afterlife is scientifically and empirically proven to be real, which has led to an incredibly high suicide rate across the world.

1. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

A stylish epic fantasy re-imagination of the story of King Arthur, complete with warlocks and demons and mythical war elephants.