1. The Heat
The actual posters for The Heat are less than thrilling — and the U.K. version is downright horrifying. But this variant poster commissioned by Mondo is exactly the kind of over-the-top throwback image that should have been selling the film all along. Why throw together a forgettable jumble of Photoshopped images when you can make something dorm-room-wall-worthy like this?
2. August: Osage County
If you’ve seen the film — or the award-winning play it’s based on — you know this image is lifted directly from one of the climatic moments in this family drama. There is something dark and angry about this poster that does the movie much better service than the oddly upbeat trailers for the film.
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
The movie itself has divided audiences, but there is no denying that this striking single shot from the film lets you know exactly how much manic, hard-partying energy director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio are expending for this film. (That would be all of it.)
4. The Kings of Summer
Everything about this poster, from the shot to the tagline, evokes the unfettered joy of an adolescent summer. Lovely.
It was a smart choice to rotate by 90 degrees this image of historic pro baseball player Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) sliding into (likely) second base — it immediately gives the image more triumphant power. But it’s the tagline that is the most powerful thing about this poster, directly addressing the central racial component of Robinson’s story in a way few studio movie marketing campaigns ever do.
7. The Fault in Our Stars
The tagline upset enough fans of John Green’s bestselling novel that Green himself felt compelled to address it the day BuzzFeed debuted this poster. I think it winks at the darkly comic elements in the story, but more importantly, that image of nuzzling stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort: SO MANY FEELS.
8. Blue Is the Warmest Color
The movie itself is far more than just those extended sex scenes you’ve heard all about — at three hours, it would have to be. But there is no denying that this story of a teenage French girl (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and her azure-haired girlfriend (Léa Seydoux) is at its core about the emotional power of erotic longing, and this provocative poster makes that abundantly clear.
What was that again about erotic power? The teaser poster at the left conveys the subject of director Lars Von Trier’s latest cinematic provocation with subtle wit. The main poster at the right is about as subtle as a sledgehammer — and just about as effective. Either way, these are images one is unlikely to forget.
13. Star Trek Into Darkness
Holy crap, the Enterprise is going down! Spoiler-y? Yup. But in hindsight, it’s all I needed to be keen to see this movie, instead of the annoyingly coy is-he-or-is-he-not-Khan marketing surrounding Benedict Cumberbatch. (Spoiler! He’s Khan!)
20. You’re Next (and, in a way, The Big Wedding)
You think you’re looking at the hathos-inducing poster for The Big Wedding, but, wait, WHO IS THAT STANDING BEHIND YOU?!?!??!?!?!?!?! It’s almost as if Lionsgate is tacitly admitting that the killers of You’re Next are eager to lay into to this insipid waste of talent!
From here on is where things flip from being memorably good to being memorably bad.
On the left, we have one of the moody teaser posters for this long-anticipated adaptation of Veronica Roth’s YA best-seller, featuring Shailene Woodley’s Tris and her signature tattoo of three ravens. So far, so good.
But then Summit Entertainment debuted the final main poster, with Woodley striking the stereotypical gratuitous-butt-and-side-boob pose that so many women on so many posters have done so many times. Oy.
27. Grudge Match
There are four taglines on this overstuffed poster, each of them uniquely terrible. But the worst offender is by far “tickets on sale at box office or on the World Wide Web,” an insulting pander to the over-60 moviegoers this poster is apparently aiming to win over. Also, in the name of Photoshop and good taste, what happened to Robert De Niro’s face?!?
The relative merits of this paranormal action comedy may be in some dispute, but this poster is so oddly nondescript about the film’s gonzo premise that it almost approaches a kind of Zen marketing. The tagline could be: “See this movie, don’t see this movie, it’s all good.”
What were your most memorable posters of 2013?
- Inside WikiLeaks: A former employee shares what he learned about Julian Assange (including his beef with Hillary Clinton).
- One week into the fight to take back Mosul, expectations for quick success have clashed with the reality of a bloody struggle ahead.
- Less than 24 hours after AT&T announced an $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner, politicians are expressing skepticism and opposition.
- An NFL player paid tribute to Harambe, the gorilla who died at a Cincinnati zoo, on his cleats.