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Movie Posters: The Best And Worst

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood November 19, 2010 at 5:49AM

Ten films, ten posters. Vulture selected the best and worst of the year, and while movie poster quality doesn't necessarily line up with box office success or critical acclaim, you've got to question the thought process that went into making these would-be audience-building promotional tools, and those responsible for signing off on them.
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Thompson on Hollywood


Ten films, ten posters. Vulture selected the best and worst of the year, and while movie poster quality doesn't necessarily line up with box office success or critical acclaim, you've got to question the thought process that went into making these would-be audience-building promotional tools, and those responsible for signing off on them.

The best (which speak for themselves): For Colored Girls, The Expendables, The Social Network, I’m Still Here and Devil. The worst, and Vulture's explanations for them, are below:

Worst: The King’s Speech
The awards prospects of For Colored Girls may have peaked with its poster, whereas The King's Speech is widely expected to be an Oscar front-runner yet debuted a one-sheet so hideous that it looks like it was ripped from a hastily put-together DVD cover for a 1982 BBC TV-movie. "I hate it," admitted director Tom Hooper. "I hate it. And it is not going to ever be on any cinema walls. It will be replaced. It’s a train smash."
Thompson on Hollywood
Worst: Knight and Day
Compare that to the "hide the stars" game employed by Fox when selling Knight and Day. Sure, both Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz had their names prominently displayed on the one-sheet, but leaving Cruise's face off the poster — a move that's practically unprecedented over his 30-year career — is like an admission that the studio has no confidence in its star's drawing power anymore. (And when a studio doesn't believe in a movie, trust us, the audience can feel it.)

Worst: Extraordinary Measures
Actors often get photo approval for movie stills and posters, so how Brendan Fraser signed off on this look — where he appears to be employing Joey Tribbiani's trick of "smell the fart" acting — is a total mystery.

Thompson on Hollywood


Worst: The Switch
The Switch was always going to be hamstrung by its off-putting, slightly rapey concept — Jason Bateman secretly impregnates Jennifer Aniston with his own sperm, really? — but the movie's poster didn't do a single thing to help its cause. You guys, this is a one-sheet where a dude is sniffing a cup full of cum. (He doesn't seem to mind, but we're guessing audiences did.)

Worst: Yogi Bear
Good things may "come in bears," but the way these two are positioned with that double entendre of a tagline, one almost expects a sniffing Jason Bateman to come between them.

This article is related to: Box Office, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Studios, Marketing, Media


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.