Essentially the opposite of the much-loved Ultimate Collection Of Badly Photoshopped Movie Posters, this 30-strong gathering of superb one-sheets is a tribute to designers who've knocked it out of the park this year, creating bedroom-wall-worthy beauties that will stand the test of time whether the film was terrible, great or just not your sort of thing. So sit back, relax, and prepare to wish you could order all of these gems in one massive (and incredibly expensive) go.
Taking a leaf out of The Phantom Menace's book – well, its poster book, anyway – The Amazing Spider-Man's teaser one-sheet plays with concepts of light and dark, shadows and eight-legged creepy crawlies. Presumably, the shadow from the thorax onwards is cast by Andrew Garfield's stupendous quiff.
Proving that Ben Affleck's majestic '70s beard looks good even on a shredded photocopy, Argo's teaser poster is restrained enough to not show its star's eyes – or the catchier potential tagline "Argo fuck yourself!" – and not really explain anything about the film... the way a good teaser poster should.
Right, so there's this cabin. And it's in some woods. And some kids go there, and, um, that's about all anyone can say before jumping feet first into spoiler territory (see our special spoiler podcast with the director Drew Goddard for more details). This particular poster designer neatly sidestepped that problem by channelling M. C. Escher's Relativity and a sneaky digital-cum-honeycomb effect over the top...
The poster that scared many Bat-fans into wetting their bat-breeches, this cowl-cracking beauty arrived in December 2011 to wails of fear (and squeals of fanboy joy), prompting many to presume Bats was going to snuff it in Nolan's conclusion to The Dark Knight trilogy – even though the film was called, um, The Dark Knight Rises...
Released very close to the film's release – July 11, to be precise, nine days before The Dark Knight Rises hit cinemas – this isn't a teaser in the traditional, six-months-before-the-movie-comes-out sense, but more in the stark, tells-you-nothing-but-remains-impactful sense. Worth celebrating not only because Bane is a bad-ass, but also because the bat symbol is hidden beneath his brows...
Forget The Man With No Name, this is the film poster with no name. Well, no name other than Quentin Tarantino's, and for his fans, that's all you need. Hell, there isn't even a proper date on the thing – that's how big this poster's metaphorical cajones are: very big indeed.
Though it didn't do quite as well at the box office as its producers would have liked, Dredd was a brilliant comic-book adaptation that remained true to its lead character's roots and delivered on action, (limited) dialogue and slow-motion 3D shazam. What's more, it didn't have its Dredd reveal his face – to camera, anyway – something cleverly referenced in this stepping-out-of-the-shadows number.
The best thing about The Expendables 2 is its tagline: "Back for war". The second best thing about The Expendables 2 is this '70s-style poster, the only one-sheet in the world to boast Jean-Claude Van Damme with his leg on fire and an exploding plane flying out of Jason Statham's crotch.
Up there with Quentin Tarantino's detail-free Django Unchained poster, this Flight one-sheet is one of the bravest teasers released this year, with only a plane, a jet stream and Washington and Zemeckis' names visible. Oh, and Robert Gatins, whose biggest writing credit before Flight was Real Steel. Like we say, it's a brave poster...
Though its B-movie style Frankenweenie pet poster brethren deserve a tip of the cap for fake film titles like The Curse Of The Mummy Hamster and Day Of The Turtle, this black and white IMAX teaser somehow rises above them, using Burton's original drawings and a lot of creative white space to remind you just how much love went into bringing Frankenweenie back from the dead.
If you're going to introduce an unknown as the star of your new action thriller, you're going to want to put her front and centre on the first teaser poster, right? Wrong. Forgoing even an ensemble poster headshot runway to remind audiences that Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas – although that came later – it's just a woman, back to the camera, straddling what looks like a corpse.
Conveying Hitch's own morbid sense of humour through a handily placed kitchen knife and Anthony Hopkins' knowing look of disapproval, this poster is clever enough to not actually tell you that it's the one-time Hannibal Lecter in the fat suit. That way, as you to smile at the the beautiful "Good evening" tagline, you've already made a mental note to head to the internet to find out more later...
That's right, it's in Elvish. Deal with it.
It's a simple conceit – a roll of images fading into each other – but it's a damn effective one, showing just how dissimilar French confidence man Frédéric Bourdin is (and was) to Texan teen Nicholas Barclay in a way that practically forces anyone looking at the one-sheet to cock a quizzical eyebrow.
Say what you like about the film – even if, as mathematics dictates, chances are you haven't seen it – but this John Carter IMAX poster is a real gem. Note the inclusion of the JCM logo that was soon to be dropped by Disney's publicity department, as well as the tiny Taylor Kitsch at the bottom, which you may have missed with the two moons, flying spacecraft and beautiful Martian countryside an' all.
This is what's known in Call Of Duty circles as a "headshot". In Hollywood circles, a headshot is something very different – if this was an actor's headshot, chances are they wouldn't get all that many roles. Outside of horror flicks, anyway.
The film is called Lincoln. The actor is called Daniel Day-Lewis. The director – if you can make it out – is Steven Spielberg. It's all there, in black and white (and browny black, for some reason), and that's all anyone needs to know.
If you want to sidestep the irritating problem that the two actors you've hired to play older and younger versions of the same character don't look all that alike, just put one of them upside down on the poster. That way, anyone trying to compare the two at the bus stop will require either a very bendy neck or a large mirror. Genius, really.
This special Comic-Con poster gave die-hard Superman fans all they needed to know: a picture of their hero (in his super duds) and a shadow that indicates it's going to be much more Nolanesque than Superman Returns...
The Man With The Iron Fists has A Teaser Poster With A Nice Red Paint Effect – definitely not the kind of thing that would ever show up on Watercolour Challenge, but that's kind of the point with a film like this. To be frank, it's great to see something else just a little bit different from team Tarantino when it could easily have been a bunch of the actors in a row attempting to look cooler than each other.
Definitively not answering the perennial headscratcher of whether a bottle of wine is half full or half empty, Paul Thomas Anderson's cryptic teaser poster for The Master is about as inexplicable as the film itself. For something completely different (and somehow quite similar), here's the kaleidoscopic alternate take.
Wins its place on this list if only for the dismembered body of a very happy dog.
Now there's a sentence...
A beautiful poster from Prometheus's publicity team – the same guys who won awards for their ingenious viral video campaign – this is notable for a number of reasons, such as the unusual typeface for Prometheus, the in-your-face/on-the-nose (no pun intended) tagline and the strange, pyramid-like shades the big stoney-faced fella appeared to be sporting.
Binoculars? Check. Bottle o' booze? Check. Dictaphone? Check. Looks like a writer to us...
Picking a stand-out Skyfall poster was a tough call. After all, what could possibly rival Pingu in a cardie looking rather awkwardly at the camera? Or, failing that, Judi Dench looking like she's forgotten where she's put her keys? The answer is this, a tragically underused IMAX poster that manages to communicate the emotional heft of the film with just a palace, a car and a man in a pin-stripe suit.
Unveiled exclusively on EmpireOnline.com, the first poster for Park-chan Wook's English language debut is an immensely detailed treasure, a purposely unnerving part-drawn and part-collage pencil effort that offers clues to the film in a way that few other one-sheets can rival.
This list of posters needed some humour, so here some is in the form of an anthropomorphic teddy bear making a joke about watching porn. For an example of how not to do it – intentionally or not – click here (if you dare).
The only poster we can think of that has a pair of devil's horns on both the letter 'e' and a foetus, this is an extraordinarily creepy poster whose green hue may well remind some of Rosemary's Baby's one-sheet.
Done in a traditional Japanese brush painting style (complete with the red seal on the lower left side), this Wolverine teaser poster is perhaps the best on this list: understated, beautifully stylised and seriously goddamn cool.
OBLIGATORY [REDACTED] JOKE