There have been many great posters this year – here are 50 of them, to get you started – but there have also been many terrible posters too. From characterless character banners to good ol’ fashioned Photoshop cock-ups, quite a few one-sheets have got the ignominious one star from Empire. Here are a few of our ‘favourites’.
If you look closely, you can see that Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith, don’t have 6-inch tower haircuts straight out of the ‘90s. If you don’t look closely – and why would you be looking closely, again? – they do. MAGIC!
AUGUST: ORANGE COUNTY
With a cast so strong (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch) and a writer so well respected (award-winning playwright Tracy Letts), you’d hope for a better ensemble poster than this. It says nothing about the film itself, merely listing the cast and letting you know there’s a house involved. Admit it – if you had a few hours, chances are you could knock this up (the poster, not the house, that is).
THE BIG WEDDING
Another super-ensemble cast movie poster that should have looked at our ‘The Eleven Styles Of The Ensemble Movie Poster’ feature, this Big Wedding one-sheet is one Big Mistake. No-one laughing, frowning or smiling in this quad means it – though perhaps that has something to do with the Photoshop botox everyone’s been subjected to.
Yes, that’s Heather Graham. You can tell, because it says her name at the top. If it didn’t have Heather Graham’s name at the top, you’d swear it was a creepy chef made out of Plasticine.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
There’s so much love in the office for so many of the actors involved in this movie – Flight Of The Conchords’ Kristen Schaal, The O.C.’s Adam Brody and JCVD’s Jean-Claude Van Damme – but this poster is a several-heads-appearing-around-a-door-frame mess, with a tiger somehow crawling into the picture at the bottom and hell-knows-what on the far left. Nowhere near as good as Van Damme’s damn van trick.
AKA ‘Don Jon gets masturbation wrong’. The table’s at an odd height (or Don’s chair is), the windows on his MacBook just look weird and… oh, that’s right, the computer is the wrong way round.
THE ENGLISH TEACHER
Balancing precariously on a pile of SERIOUSLY BIG BOOKS, Julianne Moore makes her second appearance on this list, only just failing to make it into our ‘Nondescript Indie’ subsection because of the sheer weirdness of this one-sheet. One important question: what are the chair’s back legs resting on?
THE FROZEN GROUND
John Cusack has spotted something crawling on the back of Nicolas Cage’s head, and he’s seriously worried about it. So much so, in fact, his face is starting to melt.
Four separate character posters here, mashed together into one regular poster. Unfortunately the two at the top, Saoirse Ronan and Jake Abel, see their legs fade into blackness, leaving their torsos sinking into the massive pupil behind them. That’s bad hosting, that is.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
The first Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit poster (on the right) saw a helicopter crashing into Keira Knightley’s left breast and Kevin Costner with an erection the size of the Kremlin, but, altogether, it was a decent effort, if a little on the Bourne-y side. The other take, meanwhile, doesn’t get away with any minor Photoshop snafus as Costner’s face looks like it’s slipping off his skull.
If you squint, a bearded and bespectacled Ashton Kutcher does actually look a lot like Apple empresario Steve Jobs. Alas, this poster takes a perfectly decent snap of Twitter’s First Son and makes anyone looking at it feel like they’re on a psychotropic trip – which is probably not what the designers were going for.
THE LAST STAND
Like the film itself, you really want it to work, but it just doesn’t. Feeling half-finished and too explosion-from-a-gun-barrel heavy, it’s not entirely clear who is in this movie – aside from ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, of course.
This poster is an explosion in a fireworks factory, and not in a “Wow, would you look at that!” way. It’s nauseating, gaudy and just plain unpleasant, which really is an impressive trick when it features Amber Heard.
A MADEA CHRISTMAS
Ho. Ho. HOMIGOD GET IT AWAY FROM ME!
Looking like a cross between The Matrix and Enemy Of The State, this poster is startlingly ‘90s (if you’re willing to accept ‘90s as an adjective). Harrison Ford’s withering stare seems to say it all: “Really? You’re actually thinking about watching this?”
Learning the grand total of absolutely nothing from the mistakes made by X-Men: First Class’s poster design team – the horror, the horror – The Stath gets Jenny From The Block on his jacket, and it looks horrible. If Jennifer Lopez wasn’t ghosting through his lapel, this would be a genuinely decent poster. Alas, ‘twas not to be.
If you believe this poster was shot with all three stars in the same room, all in front of a roulette table, you have indeed been played. Also, are those lights at the top or flames? Wait, the casino’s on fire! Run!
SCARY MOVIE 5
It’s scary, that’s for sure. Just look at that terribly Photoshopped tongue lolloping out of Katrina Bowden’s mouth (and into Sarah Hyland’s ear). The biggest waste here is not featuring Lindsay Lohan, who does good scary – see I Know Who Killed Me – and actually appears in the film.
Hugh Jackman’s second standalone outing as Logan-san had some great posters, some mediocre posters (see our pointless character one-sheets slide) and this, a truly dreadful attempt to recreate the front cover of a famous Wolverine comic book. This is what it was meant to look like – apparently.
PS. Notice how Wolverine’s head looks exactly the same in this other poster...
WORLD WAR Z
Here is the original still this poster used as its centrepiece. In it, you see Brad Pitt’s family huddling together; nothing is on fire, and there are no ropily-Photoshopped zombies in the background. They might have been better off just using the still.
The posters for Paul Feig’s buddy-copedy were a bust from the start. Melissa McCarthy – beautiful, lovely, funny, box office catnip Melissa McCarthy, who’s been brilliant even before Gilmore Girls arrived – looked nothing like chuckle-bringing dynamo many met in Bridemaids back in 2011. These two posters, more than any others on this list, are the Photoshop disasters of 2013, and worthy of entry into Empire’s Badly Photoshopped Movie Posters Hall Of Fame.
That said, after feeling – ahem – the heat from critics, they did fix it on the Blu-ray release. Hooray!
Look at Richard Gere’s face at the bottom left-hand corner of the UK poster for Movie 43. That’s how the world feels about this poster. For how the world feels about the film itself, take a look at our list of The Worst Movies Of 2013, where details can be found in abundance.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD
For once in your life Loki, you’re not fooling anyone. Also, that’s not a knife…
Which is your favourite/least favourite poster for The Internship? The Celebrity Squares-style black-and-white branded cows affairs, which make the ‘real’ interns look like they were crafted from clay, or the awkwardly-Photoshopped snap of the gang outside the Google offices? Something to look up on Altavista later: how can the light come from behind, yet hit so perfectly on their faces at the same time? It really is a mystery.
PS Take note of the almost-too-subtle Wedding Crashers reference tagline – “They’re crashing the system!” – as well as the small Google + login in the top lefthand corner of the mirrored poster. Billy and Nick have few skills, but can navigate Google +? Impressive.
![The Internship poster]%28/images/uploaded/the-internship-worst-poster-4.jpg%29
NONDESCRIPT AMERICAN INDIES
They’re kinda-sorta rom-coms and/or journeys of self discovery, and they have a few people that you know, and a few people that you don’t, and they need a poster, and this is what they look like. Inspiring no emotions in anyone, ever, they all look the same, and they all don’t do their films justice.
![Crazy Kind Of Love poster]%28/images/uploaded/crazy-kind-of-love-poster.jpg%29
WHITE HOUSE DOWN TEASERS
![White House Down teaser poster]%28/images/uploaded/white-house-down-teaser-poster-2.jpg%29 It’s not the worst idea in the world – three teaser posters showing the serene tranquility before The White House goes Down – but the execution is so jarring it simply doesn’t work. The middle poster, in particular, has serious focus troubles, and makes you wonder if the photo was taken when someone dropped their camera on the lawn.
POINTLESS CHARACTER BANNERS
Character banners can be exciting, fun, dynamic and a great way to introduce your audience to the supporting actors and actresses in your film. They can also be a massive waste of time. Here are just a few of the least exciting character banners to hit the web over the past 12 months, with this burgeoning trend no better highlighted than by the Viper’s one-sheet for The Wolverine, which is just a bit of a mess and detracts from the beauty of the original.
![Walking With Dinosaurs 3D poster]%28/images/uploaded/walking-with-dinosaurs-character-banner.jpg%29 ![The Wolverine poster]%28/images/uploaded/woverine-character-banner.jpg%29![Seventh Son poster]%28/images/uploaded/seventh-son-character-banner.jpg%29 ![Olympus Has Fallen poster]%28/images/uploaded/olympus-has-fallen-character-banner.jpg%29 ![Shadow Hunter poster]%28/images/uploaded/shadow-hunter-character-banner.jpg%29![Jack The Giant Slayer poster]%28/images/uploaded/jack-the-giant-slayer-fumm.jpg%29 ![Gangster Squad poster]%28/images/uploaded/gangster-squad-giovanni-ribisi-anthony-mackie.jpg%29 ![Free Birds poster]%28/images/uploaded/free-birds-character-banner.jpg%29![Beautiful Creatures poster]%28/images/uploaded/beautiful-creatures-character-banner.jpg%29 ![Snowpiercer poster]%28/images/uploaded/snowpiercer-character-banner.jpg%29
MACHETE KILLS (AGAIN)
Amber Heard’s Machete Kills poster has already made its presence felt on this list, but now it’s time for something a little bit different. Not the worst poster released this year – some would say it’s the best, in fact – it bears mention here because it’s got SOFIA VERGARA FIRING BULLETS FROM HER MINIGUN BRA.
If you don’t approve of the whole bullet-firing breast thing, there’s also an alternate take with a pair of whips. Take that, Indiana Jones.