Managing Editor of Collider, Matt Goldberg shows us the worst fifty posters of the decade so far.
“It’s tough to make a good poster. There are contractual obligations, studio mandates, and you have to sell a movie in just one image. If only it were as simple as any other product, but movie posters have to play by a different set of rules, and so before I run down fifty of the worst thus far, I do have some sympathy towards the people making them.
That being said, these posters go far beyond the normal sins of floating heads and blue-orange color schemes. With these posters you’ll see opportunities wasted, photoshop disasters, and bland design that makes for a total eyesore. These are the kinds of posters that not only fail go gain attention; they repel interest.” Matt Goldberg via Collider
50. Jason Bourne
Right, his name is David Webb. We went over this. We had a trilogy to go over this. Bourne is great and all, but it doesn’t give us chills, especially when you make sure to button up with a super-cool hashtag at the bottom.
49. Ted 2
Witness the failings of a presumptive marketing campaign that assumed a bong and a popular character were enough to sell a sequel.
48. Labor Day
This film is a tough sell, but sometimes you have to lean into it rather than just show what could easily be the cover to a shoddy romance novel (some people saw the film that way; I was not one of them).
47. Don Jon
Can we all promise from now on never to use “happy endings”? It’s not that the term is crass; it’s just crass in a cutesy way. Also, it’s a pretty uninspired design for a film that has a fun kick to it.
46. August: Osage County
So many famous people will fit in this house, you’re bound to show up to see one of them, right? Not so much
If you’re going to sell a Beauty and the Beast movie, showing the beast is kind of key. Otherwise it’s just Beauty and the Beauty.
44. Holy Wars
I have no idea what your movie is about and SCREAMING YOUR TITLE AT ME doesn’t make me want to know any more.
43. The Other Woman
This poster smacks of someone saying, “Emojis are really hot right now! Let’s work it into our ad campaign!” Which makes the poster eye-catching, but it doesn’t get you wanting to know more about the movie.
42. Yogi Bear
This poster just creeps me the hell out.
41. Enough Said
If your poster is just an image from the movie, you need to work a little harder at your poster.
40. Jonah Hex
“Revenge Gets Ugly”. Now let’s cover up the ugly part of the main character’s face. Also, what is he firing? Is it a gun or a crossbow?
39. The Hangover: Part III
The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
posters were fine, but they weren’t classics, and it’s a little lame for Warner Bros. to self-reference
(also, it’s not like these two characters were epic enemies).
38. Terminator Genisys
Again, it was a Hail Mary from Paramount to just go ahead and reveal what would have been a cool twist. Instead, you get in a poster.
36. Taken 2
Here’s a gigantic “2” in case you couldn’t figure out this was the sequel to Taken. You’d almost think his family had been kidnapped by digits.
The story of three actors trapped in a title, and no way out.
34. Gangster Squad
Think of all the cool things you could have done given the era and the genre, and this is the best they came up with.
Did you know that this movie has a female protagonist? You wouldn’t from this poster, which feature George Clooney (which is fine; he’s the biggest selling point) and the younger version of his character. At some point, studios will realize that people with only X chromosomes see movies too.
32. A Good Day to Die Hard
People like Die Hard, but what they really love is puns. Yay, puns.
31. Avengers: Age of Ultron
I understand that contractual obligations mean that people need to get on the poster, but I think this poster is a sign that the poster for Avengers: Infinity War is going to be a godawful mess, or some people are going to have to say, “You know what? I’m good staying off this eyesore.”
30. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
I know this poster is going for “solemn” but it looks like Jack Ryan is about to fall asleep on his own mission, which would be fitting because he is the dullest protagonist ever.
29. Martha Marcy May Marlene
I love the concept of using QR codes in a poster, but this is the wrong movie for it. IfMartha Marcy May Marlene was a high-tech thriller, then absolutely, but it isn’t. There’s nothing technology-based about the film.
28. Star Trek Into Darkness
If you managed to miss the trailers giving away the climax of the film, this poster was happy to oblige.
27. Side by Side
I get it that names sell, but this is a movie about the art of filmmaking and it gets a completely artless poster.
26. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Pretty sure the rules were “Make sure the movie with the giant robots have a conventionally attractive women in peril.” The American flag is a nice touch becauseof course there’s an American flag in this shot.
25. John Carter
The marketing campaign for John Carter should go down for everything not to do. This lesson is in trying to start a logo campaign when people aren’t even aware of your product.
Let’s all work together to stop comedies from using white backgrounds, especially when the characters in the foreground seem wholly unappealing.
23. Left Behind
To be fair, this poster does warn you about the awful photoshop that will be seen in the actual film.
22. Monuments Men
This movie is set during World War II and is about people trying to save art, and all they could mock up for us was “Here are famous actors. Go see the movie.”
21. Need for Speed
The blue/orange color scheme needs to die, not go into overdrive. Also, if you’re going to see a Need for Speed movie, you’d have a better selling point with the cars, not with Aaron Paul stuck behind the wheel.
20. The Watch
It’s a condom joke! (For some reason!) Again, lame white background for a comedy, and you’re left knowing nothing about the film.
Parker: The story of a man, a gun, and a jacket with Jennifer Lopez‘ face on it.
18. Smurfs 2
Another type of poster to be banned forever: having the character raise up two fingers to indicate a sequel.
What is Brosnan doing with his face, and is it possible for someone to make him stop doing it?
16. American Hero
So is Griffin’s character oblivious that bullets are flying his way, or is he just pleased that Dorff is stopping them? Did the person tasked with making this know what an sight-line is?
15. The Switch
How can we immortalize Jason Bateman? Well, we can make a poster with his character looking into a cup of his own jizz. That does make for an unexpected comedy.
14. Delivery Man
Can you tell me what this movie is about from this poster? Can you even get anywhere near the ballpark? Probably not.
13. Speak No Evil
Just because your poster is gross, that doesn’t make it good.
12. The Way
This movie is about walking the beautiful Camino de Santiago
and they put the characters on a white background
11. Magic in the Moonlight
I’m sensing that these two actors were nowhere near each other when this image was taken and that he is somewhat skeptical of her hat.
10. Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
You know what kids love? References to The Silence of the Lambs. They love that movie.
9. The Three Stooges
This poster is confusing in so many ways. It’s conflating two slogans (“Just Do It” and “Just Say No”) without ever mentioning the title (unless you look down and see ThreeStooges.com. Why would this make anyone want to see the movie?
8. Vampire Academy
The Weinstein Company blew this marketing campaign. It may as well have been put together with duct tape, except that would be an insult to all of the useful things created with duct tape.
7. Vampires Suck
It’s good to know that the posters for Friedberg & Seltzer movies can be just as bad as the films themselves.
6. The Heat
Airbrushing McCarthy in a failed attempt to make her looks slimmer? Weak sauce, 20th Century Fox.
Someone thought it would be a good idea to airbrush these poor actors’ faces until it looked like they were digital. That person was wrong.
This poster was brought to you by a twelve-year-old who owes both Ms. Munn and Mr. Schneider an apology. I also like how the tagline is just the high concept pitch; they couldn’t even feed it into the mouth of a shill.
2. X-Men: First Class
There has to be a better way to express that X-Men: First Class is about a young Charles Xavier. Photoshopping McAvoy’s face into a silhouetted torso is not the way.
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
How did they put this together and no one said at any point, “Hey, it looks like Professor X is farting an explosion”? Throw in tints of blue/orange and a cacophony of floating heads, and this is the worst poster we’ve seen so far this decade.
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