Mike’s Top Ten Movie Posters of 2015

The movie poster is a lost art.

Look at 90% of the posters you see in theaters. They’re all the same. You’ve seen the templates before. Nothing is original. There are a few hundred new theatrical releases every year, and maybe you get 25 posters that are really doing something new or interesting. How often do you see a poster and go, “What is that movie?”

Not to mention, because there are so many posters come out (teaser poster, first poster, second poster, character poster) we’re never left with a singular image from a film. No one really sells a film anymore. Typically the only time you see a great poster for a film is when there is a singular voice behind it. Directors with strong visions tend to be the ones with the good posters.

I like to celebrate this dying art by appreciating when a film actually puts forth an effort into designing a memorable poster. I search through all the posters of the year and pick out the ones that I feel do the best job of selling their product (regardless of the quality of that product). I want a poster that is simple, memorable, tells you exactly what a movie is about in a single image, or just looks really cool.

Here are my top ten posters of 2015:


10. Carol

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This is a beautiful poster, masked as a somewhat forgettable one. This should remind you a bit like the scene in West Side Story, when Tony and Maria first see each other, and everything else blurs out. This is a movie about two people who, through the chaos and business of life, find one another. It’s that moment when they see each other and everything else stops and becomes unimportant. That’s the crux of a romance film. It’s a perfect poster. I’m so impressed by this.


9. The Hateful Eight

Yeah, okay, I’m slightly biased. But this is awesome. Stark white, simple image of the bloody stagecoach and nothing else. And I don’t need anything else. Simple image, Quentin, CinemaScope. In.


8. The Martian

They tried to trick me with the other posters, like this one, but this was always the best poster. Because this is the crux of the movie. They are confronting you with his face. This man is stranded on Mars. Now “Bring Him Home.” This might seem like they’re selling this on Matt Damon’s face alone, and they kind of are, but it’s more than that. “Here’s Matt Damon, he’s stuck on Mars. We need to get him out of there.” It’s all rooted in the Uncle Sam tradition of using a singular image to get at people’s innate feelings. Uncle Sam is there to make you feel patriotic. This poster is there to get at your instincts to want to help those in need. That’s why it’s so effective in its simplicity.


7. The Seven Five

This should come as no surprise. I love me some gritty, 70s, New York cop posters. Remember when I put Blood Ties in my top 3 before it even came out because I loved the poster so much? This is a documentary, by the way. But that doesn’t matter. Look at this poster! This should remind you of every great crime movie. And the black and white is so nice. (P.S. This poster is great too.)


6. Love and Mercy

This poster feels like The Beach Boys, and that’s all I need to say about it. You either automatically understand why this is here or you don’t.


5. The Revenant

It’s the fire that really makes me love this. The simple image would be great, but the fire adds that special touch that really brings it over the top. There are some posters where the beauty of them is that they prime you for what you’re in for with the movie — beautiful cinematography. Plus, you get the hint at all the crazy shit that’s happened in the past, and here’s this character, moving forward. But mostly it’s that gorgeous landscaping.


4. Spring

Every year, there’s a poster that’s so good it makes me go, “What the hell is that movie?” I had no idea what this movie was or what it was about until I saw the posters for it. Originally it was this poster. And on the strength of that, I saw the movie. And then I saw this poster, which is just gorgeous. This is also the entire film in a single image. I don’t want to get into it, since it’s a nice little horror-romance that is best seen and not told about, but even if we don’t get into specifics of what the poster represents, we can still talk about the beauty of it. The beautiful use of the blue in the middle and the great design of the Italian town in the back. It’s just a beautiful thing to look at. And also lets you know that above all else, this movie is a romance, which is why it works as well as it does.


3. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that my favorite films of the year will factor highly into the poster discussion. I just really like this. The color is nice, the drawings taking up what could have been boring, blank space is a good touch. It’s hard to put a poster to a film like this, and I think they did a really great job of it. Sure, my love of the film has me putting this higher than I probably should put it, but it’s my list, damn it.


2. Steve Jobs

Simplicity wins. I like that he’s off to the right and not dead center. That’s what makes it. Otherwise, what else could they have put here? The easiest solution can also be the best solution.


1. Straight Outta Compton

This was originally gonna be in 11-15. And then in 6-10. But when it came down to it, this one just made me feel the best. It’s such a strong image, and it makes you feel like it’s an album cover. I just love this poster. It wasn’t a clear number one up front, the way the last few years have been, but this is the poster I like best from 2015.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow we talk about the best trailers of the year.


3 responses

  1. Love & Mercy is my #1, probably, but good list.

    December 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

  2. So many amazing posters this year! I think your top pick is the best, with its instantly iconic and recognisable imagery. Perfect marketing there. I love the poster for Carol as well.

    December 11, 2015 at 9:23 pm

  3. Pingback: December 2015 Favourites | FILM GRIMOIRE

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