Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers breaks out this week. No doubt you'll have already been distracted by the posters, which feature more female teenage flesh than any other poster in movie history. All those nubile young bodies in the service of selling a film may seem ever-so-slightly gratuitous, but they're not without precedent. Here we cast an eye over some of the most unnecessary exploitation of people's rude bits ever to have "graced" a movie poster. And yes, Kelly Brook's bum is in there.
The promise of hilarious mishaps and sexual adventures is inherent in the teen comedy genre, so all that's required of a poster is to put the beautiful cast front and centre (or front and slightly to the left of centre in this case). Just to ensure a few more bums on seats though, let's just pop Michelle Trachtenberg in a low-cut vest top and get her to lean forwards for no obvious reason.
One of the rarest sights in movies these days is Matthew McConaughey with his shirt on, which makes this poster as unusual as a grown adult male watching a Twilight film. The clothed MattMac torso is even more baffling when Kate Hudson has been required to wear a bikini you could floss your teeth with. Anyone would think someone was trying to attract a male audience to a below-average romcom.
This 1968 Hammer Horror was the third to see Christopher Lee's Prince Of Darkness feeding from the throats of unfortunate busty maidens, and the poster made sure we knew exactly what we were getting. The pink plasters on a monochrome female are a nice touch, but the decision to include the lady's knockers at the expense of her face is the very definition of sexual objectification.
"Once a normal, voluptuously beautiful woman, she drove into a nightmare of horror!" intoned the trailer, and the poster backed it up by having Allison Hayes bending over a freeway at a convenient, cleavage-enhancing angle. As for those guys running out of their cars, it's hard not to wonder what sight must have greeted them when they looked up. Here's a B-movie showing its mainstream brethren how it's done.
Jean Dujardin silently danced his way into controversy with this French poster for a comedy released shortly before the 2012 Oscars. The caption reads, "I'm going into another meeting"; the poster says this is the kind of meeting that won't remembered for Colin from accounts complaining that someone ate all the custard creams. Fears that the poster might harm The Artist's chances at the Academy Awards were forgotten almost as swiftly as The Players itself.
A ten year-old who saw Star Wars in 1977 would have been 16 by the time Return Of The Jedi came out, so while George Lucas was busy employing Ewoks to bring in a younger audience, artist Kazuhiko Sano was appealing to the teen market by foregrounding Carrie Fisher's metallically-clad breasts. He could have shown her in those unflattering Endor fatigues, but then that episode of Friends might never have happened.
Bond films have always been sold on sex, but in 1967 artist Robert McGinnis went all out to make sure we knew that we, along with 007, were getting more bang for our buck. While you might be wondering if all this near-nudity is entirely necessary, look closely at the lady at the bottom left, creating a suspicious amount of bubbles by demonstrating a remarkable dedication to the job in hand.
Horror films are rarely subtle in the marketing department. When the film itself is pretty shoddy, you need an eye-catching poster to make people forget all those terrible reviews. And so it came to pass that The Unborn's poster is pretty light on the spooky-spirit-in-the-mirror front and remarkably heavy on the Odette-Yustman's-tight-buttocks-in-skimpy-knickers aspect.
The promise of a good ogle at Natalie Portman's norks probably boosted Your Highness's box office like a Wonderbra boosts a cleavage, so imagine the disappointment audiences felt when all they got was a long shot of Miss P in a thong surrounded by 102 minutes of "comedy" that would have struggled to get a laugh in medieval times.
When an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet sat down to write over 3000 lines of what would become a legendary tale of heroes and monsters, it's unlikely that he or she would have envisaged it one day being turned into an all-CGI film by Robert Zemeckis. Still, in those pre-feminism days, it's equally unlikely that any of those wulf-whistling fur-botherers would have complained about Angelina Jolie's mocap-enhanced mammaries being used to flog the movie.
When you think of Merchant Ivory films you think of stuffy butlers, repressed Edwardians and afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches, which is why it was something of a surprise to see them turn out this muddled comedy about American sisters struggling to cope with love in Paris. Not as surprising as the poster though, which features a décolletage of such enormous proportions that it has the Eiffel Tower wedged in its cleavage. Ooh là là!
When a film has at least three different titles (it's also known as 'My Mom's New Boyfriend' and 'My Spy'), you need to give it some serious branding in order for people to actually remember that it exists. Which is why Homeland Security, if remembered at all, will only ever be for this poster. Unfortunately, even that plan backfires - it's most likely to be confused with its suspiciously similar booby predecessor, Le Divorce.
Here's a film widely advertised as being the erotic and kinky (but short-lived, hence the title) sex life of Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke's characters, based on a book that was the Fifty Shades Of Grey of its time. Still not sure what you're getting? Well here's Basinger in white fishnets adjusting her scanties just to ram the point home. Obviously Mickey Rourke in his boxers, scratching his nads, wasn't considered a big enough pull.
Kelly Brook and Billy Zane form two points of a murderous (but sexy) love triangle in this calamitous, one-star turkey. Safe in the knowledge that Ms Brook's own two points are the film's primary weapons, the film's poster shows her in all her improbably curvy, photoshopped-to-hell glory. Again, no love from the marketing department for Billy Zane in his Speedos here.
Howard Hughes' Western is about the friendships and rivalries between Doc Holliday, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid. Not that you'd know from the poster, which implies it's about a desperate attempt by Jane Russell's humungous hooters to burst free of her insubstantial shirt and flee to Mexico.
You know what you're getting from a superhero film, even one based on Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel. But just to make sure that comic-book nerds the world over flocked to see how Zack Snyder interpreted the story, one of its character posters featured Malin Akerman in a PVC getup so tight and revealing that, had Silk Spectre II been real, she'd have had to stop every two minutes to reapply the talcum powder.
Kevin Smith's return to the lovable losers that helped launch his movie career was another series of awkward situations, hilarious misadventures and musings on friendship and love. So was it really necessary to have Rosario Dawson on the poster, sticking her assets out at improbable angles, with the caption "Always open"? We don't see Silent Bob doing the same now, do we? Actually that might be for the best.
Cameron Crowe's bittersweet tale of a young journalist befriending a rock band and its groupies was a mature film with a lot of heart. What it wasn't was a vaguely sleazy softcore porn film featuring Kate Hudson wandering round in tiny pants for two hours, which makes this poster somewhat misleading. Was Billy Crudup's often-shirtless rock god not a more appropriate selling point? Guess not.
When John Turturro wrote and directed this musical romantic comedy about love, lust and infidelity, it seems fair to suggest that lead actors James Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon would have had enough star power to attract an audience. But no: it's Kate Winslet's flirtatious lingerie salesgirl whose gravity-defying jumper bumpers adorn the poster. Her face? Why would that be important? Frame that out for a start.
You might think we've unjustly focused on the ladies in this feature, but trust us: posters featuring gratuitous shots of near-naked men are almost impossible to come by. Which is why this one, featuring an undeniably impressive 12-pack, seems refreshing when in fact it's actually just an attempt to get more women to see a film about blokes beating the bejesus out of each other.