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The Art of the Ridiculous Movie Promo Still

By Rebecca Pahle | Seriously Random Lists | March 17, 2014 | Comments ()


2 fast 2 furious clothes.jpg

The ostensible purpose of a promo still is to make a movie look good enough that potential audience members will fork over between $7 and $14.50 (oh, New York) to see the it. I say “ostensible” because sometimes movie promo stills can serve as a subtle form of sabotage, giving the movie a public face that’s… er, less than encouraging as an indicator of general quality. When it happens, it’s magical.

Some of the movies whose stills I’ve included below are good. Most are bad. All needed to have a serious talk with their marketing team.

For maximum ridiculousness… make it look like the characters are dancing

the eagle promo pic.jpg

From The Eagle, or Step Up 2 Hadrian’s Wall

the legend of chun li.jpg

The Legend of Chun Li was a masterpiece.

attack of the clones promo pic list.jpg

You can see the hope dying in Hayden Christensen’s eyes.

the expendables jason statham dance.jpg

Get down with your bad self, The Expendables’ Jason Statham.

…or singing

highlander singing promo pic.png

Christopher Lambert: Actor, cultural icon, opera singer.

x-men 2 wolverine.jpg

Wolverine’s song is an angry song.

…or just making stupid faces

transformers revenge of the fallen.jpg

This works particularly well for action movies like Transformers: Dark of the Moon

expendables sly stallone immortals.jpg

…or The Expendables and Immortals

the spirit slj.jpg

Though the potential is there for comic book movies like The Spirit as well.

Doubly so if it’s Bruce Willis

a good day to die hard bruce.jpg

bruce willis sin city 2.jpg

the whole ten yards bruce chicken.jpg

Does he hold a chicken at any point during the movie? Even better.

Your movie’s special effects are bad? Don’t worry. Show ‘em off anyway!

star wars boss nass.jpg

Sorry for exposing you to The Phantom Menace.

wrath of the titans pegasus.jpg

I still can’t believe that Wrath of the Titans was a movie that happened.

Tell one guy, but only one guy, that you’re going for a fourth-wall busting approach to promo stills, so look right at the camera, yeah? That’s it. Right down the lens.

red dawn remake josh peck.jpg

That’s a cruel trick they played on you, Red Dawn’s Josh Peck.

the a team remake promo still list.jpg

More like The CRAY Team, amirite?

Revel in soon-to-be-dated fashion trends

2 fast 2 furious clothes.jpg

2 Fast 2 Furious 2 Whatever the Hell This Is

charlie's angels clothes.jpg

Or already dated fashion trends, if for some reason you’ve decided to dress a character in your ’70s-and-modern-day-set-movie like he’s a ’90s mall kid

dofp quicksilver.jpg

QUICKSILVERRRRRR! *shakes fist at the sky*

Just give one to the f*cking space dog

john carter space dog.jpg

Thank you, John Carter.

When all else fails, just chose a frame with random sh*t in it

tooth fairy zamboni.jpg

This one is from The Tooth Fairy, and that knowledge will help you not at all in figuring out what the hell is going on here.

ripd promo still 1.jpg

Dude in the background, you OK? No, never mind. You’re in R.I.P.D.. You’re not OK.

ripd2 promo still 2.jpg

Seriously, what’s with R.I.P.D.? Was its marketing team comprised entirely of 12-year-old boys? I’m pretty sure that breaks several labor laws.

jack and jill promo stills list.jpg

Remember, you want no one to want to watch this movie. Not that pretty much every possible still from Jack and Jill wouldn’t accomplish that same purpose.

the expendables statham plane.jpg

Is this supposed to be phallic?

This
mr freeze promo stills.jpg

(photos from Movie Stills Database, OutNow)

Rebecca hasn’t had a folder labelled “Ridic Promo Photos” on her computer for over a year now. Noooooope.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Alicia

    Wolverine’s song is an angry song.

    I think you mean "the song of angry men."

    And the 2 Fast 2 Furious poster is a gem. Really, who coordinates their outfits with their cars?

  • stella

    Is that bottom one Mr Freeze from Batman and Robin? Tell me he wears those slippers throughout the whole movie.

  • phase10

    If I've learned anything from watching mobster movies, it's never walk on plastic sheeting.

  • I feel like I've just walked through the aftermath of an explosion at a shitty postcard factory on a particularly windy day.

  • Mrcreosote

    Are Cameron's boobs in the same zip code? And what cruise line agreed to Jack and Jill? I'd rather get food poisoning, or walls smeared with feces.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Samuel L. Jackson makes nothing but ridiculous faces in THE SPIRIT, and it is fucking GLORIOUS. He had so much fun making that awful, awful movie.

  • BendinIntheWind

    That "2 Fast 2 Furious" pic is the greatest. The coordinating ensembles makes me think someone tried to make a Power Rangers reboot, where instead giant mechs they just drive around in color-coordinated cars.

  • Aka Power Rangers Turbo....*cries*

  • dizzylucy

    Good Lord, that Star Wars one looks like a bad JC Penney Portrait studio set up.

  • foolsage

    That Star Wars photoshoot is a study in contrasts.

    Hayden is dying inside. Natalie is clearly uncomfortable just standing there. Ewan though is fucking OWNING it.

  • It was clear that he only had one thought in his head when that photo was taken: "Don't make the whoosh sound....don't make the whoosh sound...don't make the...AW HELL WHOOOOOOSH!!!!!"

    Say what you will about those films, but I can't blame people for signing on just so they could get a lightsaber.

  • BWeaves

    I thought it was a cosplay photo.

  • lowercase_ryan

    this is what I thought too.

  • "Wolverine’s song is an angry song."

    I spit water out of my nose.

  • NateMan

    I can agree with most of these... But the Statham one for Expendables works for me.

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    You can see the hope dying in Hayden Christensen’s eyes.

    Nope. Everyone knows that you've never been able to see anything in Hayden Christensen's eyes,

  • Now, see, perhaps this is semantics, but I always thought that you could see hope in his eyes; except it wasn't dying, but - like a rat that's just realised it's ended up in a giant, meat-eating pitcher plant - it was being slowly murdered.

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