So, it's time. Which movie poster will join the ranks of The American, Funny Games and The Master as my choice for the year's best? It's always fun to look at how trends in movie poster design emerge and evolve, but a fairly unsettling one surfaced in 2013. This shouldn't come as a surprise since we've been building toward it for a while now, but it's impossible not to notice how few mainstream movie posters warranted mention or even runner-up status on anything other than a WORST list. Just scrolling up and down the page, you'll see a shocking amount of titles most of the general ticket-buying public have never heard of, much less seen. And that's definitely not their fault.
More money on the line frequently means a studio is less likely to take the risk accompanied with hiring an artist or experienced creative mind to handle the print advertising for their film. The result is a bunch of suits deciding what we want as a marketing committee airbrushes and photoshops performers' heads and bodies to the point of unrecognizability. The notion that posters just ain't what they used to be was recently touched on by Movie Geeks United co-host Dean Treadway on the show and in his must view 200 Favorite Movie Posters list on Filmicability, which provides valuable insight into what makes for a truly great print, citing some terrific examples that span the decades. I'd agree that poster art has turned the corner in over the past few years, provided you know where to look. The best ones make it impossible to divorce yourself from the experience of watching the movie every time you lay eyes on them. And yes, many have made a difference in nudging me toward titles I never would have checked out otherwise. The choices below hopefully represent the cream of the crop, along with some others that are unfortunately scraping the bottom of the barrel.
8. Computer Chess
7. Short Term 12
illustrated prints for the movie, but this easily takes it. Quietly one of the best reviewed movies of the year, you definitely feel every bit of that promise bursting through here.
6. Afternoon Delight
revealed it as his favorite film of 2013 back in October. While the verdict's still out on that, I can at least get on board with its poster, which easily amongst the most eye-catching. You just can't go wrong with neon. If there were an alternate neon version of every poster I wouldn't complain, but this is a reminder that it really only works as a novelty that can best be appreciated under the right circumstances. Bringing in a stripper to spice up your marriage qualifies. This has been done better before, but there's no denying this is top notch work, sparking interest in a movie where there would have been none.
4. Rewind This!
3. Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
Pink Floyd The Wall poster but not nearly enough to claim it's doing any more than paying tribute. When did documentary posters get this good?
2. Escape From Tomorrow
horror movie on handheld cameras and iPhones at Disneyland and Disney World, the poster basically rubs the company's noses in it with an image that defaces the company's historic iconography. Disney did the right thing by ignoring it, as a long, drawn out legal battle would have just brought more attention to the film while making them look like bullies. As a result, the movie flew under the radar and kind of faded away. But this poster never will. It's basically a masterpiece in promotional design and I still can't believe they got away with it. Using Mickey's hand and even cribbing the classic Disney font. Talk about asking for trouble. The colors and details here are tremendous enough that this would be able to fool anyone into thinking that Disney's branching into R-rated horror. And yet it's so clean and simple, with a tagline that absolutely kills. "Bad Things Happen Everywhere." No wonder this is going for big bucks on eBay. It's worth every penny.
1. Spring Breakers
And The Worst...
familiar? Amanda Seyfried's expression is priceless and accurate: "Get Me Out of Here."
You're marketing a movie called The Lifeguard starring Kristen Bell and your only job is to place a photo of the actress in a swimsuit on the poster. And you mess it up! You'd never know from the above image, but the movie isn't a romantic comedy and nowhere near this sunny and cheerful.
An attempt to go artsy and minimalistic goes haywire with this design as that thing hangs helplessly in the air. If not for the title I wouldn't be able to properly identify this as a little girl and figuring out she was on a swing took even longer. Whatever it is, it sure doesn't look comfortable. As if "From The Producers of The Kids Are All Right" wasn't enough of a warning to keep me away.
decent, this is still embarrassing. And what's with all that text?
character poster from The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was (un)worthy of placement here. I'm kidding. I immediately picked Alan Arkin's. Just look at it. It's Alan Arkin. As a magician. Named Rance Halloway. I kind of want to see this now.
What's sad about this is that Iron Man 3 is surprisingly entertaining. It deserved a really good poster. Instead, it predictably got the treatment every other Marvel film does. I actually even prefer this instead.
many bad ones for this that they were basically interchangeable. All these summer blockbuster posters look exactly the same. Same colors. Same title font. Same explosions. I'm convinced there's just one guy sitting in an office somewhere designing these for every studio.
poster images via impawards.com