Think of a film, any film. Okay, not any film, but a film that holds ambitions for blockbuster status. That film, more likely than not, will be blessed with character banners, and this can result in some delightfully odd one-sheets. After some extensive research – read: a trawl through IMPAwards.com – are our favourites, from Paddington’s Mrs. Bird to a tiny mustachioed cameraman being chased through a jungle by some ravenous giant pickles. You’ll see...
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Michael Nyqvist (Kurt Hendricks), Anil Kapoor (Brij Nath), Vladimir Mashkov (Anatoly Sidorov), Simon Pegg (Benji Dunn)
You can forgive the Russian marketing department for making a special poster in honour of their countryman Vladimir Mashkov, but the rest… not so much. Did Team Russia decide that Simon Pegg - great as series stalwart Benji in the film, there can be no doubt - sitting at a laptop trying to make his next solitaire move was worthy of a bus stop banner? Then there’s the other problem: every poster seems to say every character is played by Tom Cruise / Kryz. Nyet.
Ben Whishaw (Q), Judi Dench (M)
Essential to the plot of the film, but somewhat out of place on a poster, the initialed duo of Q and M finally get their chance to shine on the other side of the world. In the process they created one-sheets so rare that die-hard Bondians are checking for their availability on eBay daily.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov)
It’s hard not to love Anton Yelchin’s take on Ensign Pavel Chekov, but as Simon Pegg no doubt told him from his Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol days, a man sitting behind a computer does not a good character poster make.
Mia Wasikowska (Bertha Minnix)
The rest of the cast’s posters are all guns and buxom dresses. Mia Wasikowska’s poster is just a poster of Mia Wasikowska. By her name. And the word “LAWLESS”.
Red 2 (2013)
Mary-Louise Parker (Sarah Ross), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Edward Bailey)
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Álex González (Janos Quested / Riptide)
Korea: big fans of burgeoning young Spanish actors.
Tadanobu Asano (Hogun)
A member of The Warriors Three he may be, but his poster isn’t quite up there with the rest of the cast, with everyone from Loki to Odin, Thor to Jane, all getting BIG and IMPACTFUL one-sheets with words over their faces. Poor Hogun, meanwhile, gets just his name, just beneath his face.
The Hunger Games (2012)
Alexander Ludwig (Cato)
Ah, Cato. Gone, but… not forgotten?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
William Kircher (Bifur), Ken Stott (Balin)
Given the large number of dwarves, there was bound to be a diminutive axe-wielder either left on the sidelines in the film, or lumped with an odd character poster on the bus stop. Here are just two of our favourites, chosen because of a) axe in head and b) bubbles.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
Jeremy Piven (Don Ready), Ving Rhames (Jibby Newsome), Kathryn Hahn (Babs Merrick), Ed Helms (Paxton Harding), Craig Robinson (D.J. Request)
There’s so much wrong here – using grabs from the film, taglines that could be quotes or could be… something else, a dull red background, an alligator – that everyone’s going in the dunk tank.
Lily Collins (Lucy Pace), Karl Urban (Black Hat), Cam Gigandet (Hicks), random zombie vampire
Considering Paul Bettany’s ill-fated post-apocalyptic dystopia science-fiction action horror film flopped on release, it feels a little cruel to poke fun at its poster campaign – then you look at Karl Urban’s one-sheet and feel totally okay about it.
Charlotte Gainsbourg (Claire), Lars von Trier (Lars von Trier)
Melancholia is coming? It’s already arrived.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
Warwick Davis (Griphook)
The whole school roll got a dramatic spell-casting poster for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2, from Maggie Smith’s Minerva McGonagall to Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape. Then there’s Griphook, who stands in the middle of a Gringotts corridor, looking at something or other.
Weird Girl (Catherine O’Hara)
Every man and his dead dog was posterified for Frankenweenie, and while all of them are as enjoyable as you’d expect from Tim Burton’s stop-motion labour of love, Weird Girl stands out because she’s so weird (and has an excellent cat).
The Expendables 2 (2012)
Scott Adkins (Hector)
He’s not Arnie, he’s not Sly, but he is Scott Adkins. Hello Scott Adkins.
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013)
Benjamin Bratt (Manny)
All of the CWACOM2 character posters are a lot of fun, full of the food-themed puns that define the series, but Manny’s one-sheet stands out for not really standing out. Also, the talking angry pickles.
Do you remember this fella from the board game? Us neither.
Where The Wild Things Are (2009)
Ira (Forest Whitaker)
Ira: taking the wild out of Wild Thing since 1963.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Wally Wolodarsky (Kylie Sven Opossum)
Don’t look into this eyes! Crap, it’s too late. You’re a goner.
Beautiful Creatures (2013)
Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Lawson Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), Jeremy Irons (Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood), Viola Davis (Amarie Treadeau), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Thomas Mann (Wesley Jefferson Lincoln), Emma Thompson as (Mavis Lincoln / Seraphine Duchannes)
Either these people are huge, or these trees are tiny. Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson deserve better than this.
Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief (2010)
Pierce Brosnan (Chiron), Steve Coogan (Hades)
Here’s a scary thought: in the Percy Jackson universe, Steve Coogan, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd are meant to be brothers. Making matters more complicated is the sequel, Sea Of Monsters, Chiron (and, so, Pierce Brosnan) is replaced by Anthony Head.
Mickey Rourke (King Hyperion), unidentified soldier types
Five Empire points to anyone who can come up with an appropriate name for Mickey Rourke’s headgear here.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters), Jonny Lee Miller (Roger Collins), Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis), Gulliver McGrath (David Collins)
Okay, the Jonny Lee Miller one might end up on someone’s wall, if only because of that facial expression.
Albert Brooks (Bernie Rose)
Albert Brooks is great in Drive, but does he deserve a poster? The answer, it seems, is yes.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)
Danny Trejo (Mr. Perez), Richard Riehle (Santa Claus), Jake Johnson (Jesus)
Jake Johnson’s Jesus is the stand-out of these very special one-sheets, and the stand-out part of his poster is the question mark right after Jesus.
Escape From Planet Earth (2012)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Kira Supernova)
Apologies if you are now colourblind.
Nicolas Bro (F), Jens Albinus (S), Udo Kier (The Waiter), Stellan Skarsgård (Seligman)
You wait ages for some random character banners and four come along at once.
Blood Ties (2013)
Matthias Schoenaerts (Anthony Scarfo)
You remember Blood Ties, don’t you? Matthias Schoenaerts does. Here he is, in a still from the film. Which you remember.
Need For Speed (2014)
Aaron Paul (Tobey Marshall), Dominic Cooper (Dino Brewster), Imogen Poots (Julia Maddon), Scott 'Kid Cudi' Mescudi (Benny 'Maverick'), Ramon Rodriguez (Joe Peck), Rami Malek (Finn), Dakota Johnson (Anita Coleman), Harrison Gilbertson ('Little' Pete Coleman)
All these character posters, and no Michael Keaton!? His character is called Monarch, for Christ’s sake.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
The only reason this dog got a poster was because its agent is a real ball buster.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
Elden Henson (Pollux)
Elden Henson also plays Foggy Nelson in Marvel’s Daredevil Netflix show, but you may best know him as Fulton Reed from the Mighty Ducks trilogy.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Tilda Swinton (Madame Céline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis)
Hang this up in your front room wall and see how much time passes before you take it down.
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (2014)
Rami Malek (Ahkmenrah), Ben Kingsley (Merenkahre), Ricky Gervais (Dr. McPhee), Patrick Gallagher (Attila The Hun)
Leaving the fact that he’s Attila The Hun wandering around modern London for one second, how on Earth could anyone be on a tube train that’s above ground and still be in view of The Houses Of Parliament?
The Book Of Life (2014)
Carlos Alazraqui (Chuy)
Have you ever seen a wooden pig this cute?
The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015)
The cast of Insurgent
If only the word “Insurgent” wasn’t so long. "Rebel", perhaps?
Cuban Fury (2014)
Ian McShane (Ron)
Lovejoy is lovin’ it.
A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014)
Giovanni Ribisi (Edward)
It’s a safe bet Giovanni Ribisi has put up a copy of this in his bedroom.
Julie Walters (Mrs. Bird), Jim Broadbent (Samuel Gruber)
Mrs. Bird and Mr. Gruber are are both wonderfully eccentric characters and boast wonderfully eccentric character posters to match. The best of both one-sheets: the incongruous carousel horse.
The Hangover Part III (2014)
A cockerel, a giraffe
It's a rooster! It's a giraffe! It's... The Hangover Part III!
Expendables 3 (2014)
The cast of Expendables 3
There are some seriously big names on this list – Arnold Schwarzenegger's is 20 characters long, for example – but what’s more notable here is the colour palette. Jason Statham seems particularly comfortable with the situation.