Midweek Movie Mouth-Off: the lost art of the movie poster

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If you follow TheMovies on Twitter and Facebook (and if you don’t… why not? All the cool kids are doing it), you’ll know that we have our Movie Poster of the Day, where we hunt down the interesting posters for movies old and new. This is a bit of a struggle sometimes, as honestly, the art of the movie poster is a dying one.

One of the links we recently posted on #TheMoviesExtras was to an article on The Guardian about why movie poster these days are terrible, and that got me thinking, when was the last time you were hooked by a movie poster alone? Gone are the days where a movie’s poster had to strike a balance between being eye-catching and informative, to perfectly encapsulate it while not underselling it, to make you want more. These days, you’re bombarded with ads and information from all sides, so movie posters have become just that, another ad. As The Guardian succinctly put it, they’re boring and formulaic, designed by committee based on target market research and contractual obligations.

When you think about the iconic artworks we’ve had in the past, it’s all too obvious how far we’ve slid into this territory of generic laziness. If I say, think about the poster for Jaws, or Silence of the Lambs, or Pulp Fiction, chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about. If I say think of the poster for Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies or The Big Short (all nominees for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards by the way), you’ll probably draw a blank. That’s because their posters are completely bland and forgettable.

So what are your thoughts on today’s movie posters? Are you bemoaning the fact that there are no cool posters to frame for your walls anymore? Or do you think that in the grand scheme of things, movie posters just don’t matter anymore?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: February 3, 2016

Tracy Benson

All about movies, board games, cider, sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    It’s not a poster, but this billboard ad was brilliant:

    • All the Deadpool stuff is really amazing.

      • CaptainNemo42

        You mean, Skull poop L?

    • Tracy Benson

      Agreed, the marketing for Deadpool has been fantastic

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  • Sandelk

    These days you barely see movie posters. They need to become more visible. Also, they need to ask something thought provoking to make you want to see the movie. Some posters these days you can derive the plot just by looking at the poster they are so obvious.

    • Tracy Benson

      That’s exactly what I mean! Movie posters nowadays are just… background noise.

  • Youtube literally is the new movie poster. Hell I have not made a poster based movie decision in 20 odd years or so. they are still cool to hang up in your house though. 🙂

  • Hammersteyn

    One of my favourite movie posters. We used to buy them from the video store
    http://iblogalot3.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/3.jpg?w=732&h=1024

    • My local stores always only sold the shitty ones.

  • Nah, I don’t think so. There may be fewer illustrated posters and a lot more polished, magazine-cover type posters. But the other eras also had dull and bad posters.

    Now what gets me are all the ‘TV cast posing as a group’ photos.

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