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Fun with Posters

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | December 16, 2009 |

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | December 16, 2009 |

I normally hate the idea of blogs posting about movie posters. Few adequately critique or celebrate the design work, which is the primary reason to spotlight such marketing materials. And generally they’re just written about, sometimes “exclusively,” to assist in the promotion of the movie, which can appear a tad shameful.

But I am a veteran movie poster enthusiast, partly due to the fact that my father worked on the occasional one-sheet back in the day, and anytime he’d take us to the movies we’d start off by touring the theater’s “coming soon” displays. The main game was to be be the first to find Drew Struzan’s name at the bottom of a poster (he seemed to have a new one every week in the ’80s). So, I can’t help but be interested in the way poster design has progressed — or regressed, as it were — since I was a kid.

Two great examples of bad poster design have been making the rounds today, mostly with amusing commentary from the blogs (occasionally their posting of posters is worthwhile). Dustin already attacked the one for Bounty Hunters earlier, and I really have nothing to add to that nor to the address of the Dark Knight-copying one-sheet for Christopher Nolan’s Inception (except to say there’s no way it was unintentional, and I’m now even more convinced this thing is really Batman 3 with a very well-guarded front). Instead, here’s a roundup of the best swipes at each poster and its film from around the web:

  • Michelle Collins at Best Week Ever:
    Here’s the poster for the upcoming Jennifer Aniston / Gerard Butler 2010 Oscar favorite, The Bounty Hunter. I think [my copy] makes more sense:
    Several working titles for the film included “Sh*tty Ten Years Later Out Of Sight” and “There Goes The Last Lingering Thread Of Gerard Butler’s Once Exorbitant Masculinity”.
  • Paul Tassi at
    I’d never heard of this movie until just now, but I’ve never formed a judgment of a film based on its poster so quickly. And good lord is THE BOUNTY HUNTER going to be terrible. How can you not even photoshop two people standing on a road convincingly? Would it have been too hard to take them to an actual road?
  • Kyle Buchanan at Movieline:
    I’m more convinced than ever that Jennifer Aniston chooses projects based on one specific criteria: “Does this sound like it could be one of the fake movies from Funny People?”
  • Chris Hewitt at Empire:
    The central image of Butler, who plays a bounty hunter forced to transport his ex-wife across country, and Aniston handcuffed together instantly brings to mind classic mismatched-or-handcuffed couples road movies of the past, such as It Happened One Night, Midnight Run and, erm, Fled, even if it’s a little static.
  • Alex Billington at
    This design is pretty fresh, I like the colors and using the two of them to fill the frame. Looks good!
  • Devin Faraci at
    The first teaser poster for Inception has appeared as a part of the film’s viral campaign, and it looks more than a little like the very popular Joker teaser poster for The Dark Knight.
  • Peter Sciretta at /Film:
    Did you notice the similarity between the Inception poster and the Joker teaser poster for Christopher Nolan’s last film The Dark Knight? I believe Devin might have been the first to notice. For some reason I’m guessing that it was unintentional.
  • Simon Dang at ThePlaylist:
    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That seems to be the mentality down at Christopher Nolan’s go-to marketing department.
  • Zachary Herrmann at SciFi Squad:
    The first Inception poster, which Quint over at Ain’t It Cool News pointed out, is cut almost precisely from the mold as posters like this one. Nothing wrong with a little pilfering, and technically, it isn’t really stealing if you’re taking from your own cookie jar.
  • Vince Mancini at FilmDrunk:
    As you can see, between the cityscape and the focus on a dude in a suit’s back, it looks a lot like The Dark Knight’s first poster.  But that’s okay.  Chris Nolan advertising his new movie by reminding people of The Dark Knight is kind of like LeBron James picking up chicks by reminding them, “Hey, remember how I played basketball?”
  • Mark at I Watch Stuff:
    “Hey, you all liked that last Christopher Nolan movie, right? That one with a bat-man? Well, here’s another Christopher Nolan movie that depicts the back of a weapon-wielding man in the middle of a city street! Maybe this is a new Batman movie! We won’t say one way or the other; you decide. We’re just saying there’s this new movie with the back of a man with a weapon in the middle of a street, and Christopher Nolan directed it, and last time that happened it was The Dark Knight. So you do the math.”

Pajiba After Dark 12/16/09 | Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger