Mike’s Top Ten Movie Posters of 2016 (30-11)
You know what I’m gonna say — the movie poster is a lost art.
Because the movie industry is divided into movies with built-in audiences that don’t need to market and tiny movies that aren’t gonna get a giant audience no matter how hard they market them, nobody much cares about the posters anymore. Either they’re the same cut-and-paste jobs with the same five templates or they’re putting the stars’ names on them with some sort of stock image from the film that is only there to get you in the theater.
But a good movie poster is about tying stars and subject matter. It sells your stars and encapsulates the themes of a film in a single image. And no one cares about that now. Plus, there are so many posters for a movie — the teaser, the first official poster, the second official poster, character posters — that they don’t take any chances and all fit them into a standard format that you’ve seen a hundred times over.
By the time this year is over, I’ll have seen over 350 new films from 2016 alone. And I barely found 50 of them that made me at least go, “Oh, that’s kinda nice.” Which, if you’re doing the math, is less than 15%. So if you’re in a movie theater and walk by five movie posters, the odds that two of them are gonna be great is not in your favor. It’s a shame.
But, since there are a few really good ones that come out, I like to celebrate the ones that actually do put a little effort into selling themselves. So I comb through 85% of shit in order to uncover the 15% of diamonds among them. Well… maybe like 8% diamonds and 7% cubic zirconia.
That said, here are my favorite posters of 2016:
30. The Fits
I love the simplicty of this poster. And the color. You don’t see this shade of violet anywhere on posters, especially in such a burst as this. No one really knows what this movie is or what it’s about, but this simple image is quite reflective of what the film is about. And even without knowing the film, this is just a striking poster that makes you want to know more about it.
It’s a cat dressed up like a gangster. Does this not belong here?
28. The Magnificent Seven
Simple, and effective. I like that it’s a wide one. It might have gotten higher if they didn’t put the 7 on there and let people figure it out for themselves. But still, western iconography will always do well with me.
27. De Palma
It’s the film in a single image, and there’s a nice collage of all this films behind the blinds. Simple, and I like the look of it.
26. Gimme Danger
Take off the film title and credits and this could be a band poster you had on your wall. It’s a striking image.
25. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Love this image. The camera built from all the iconic pieces of the film. Genius poster. Also a really terrific thing these kids did.
24. Nocturnal Animals
This is a striking image. I’ve yet to actually see the film, but I’m sure this has something to do with what it’s about. But her face and the paper torn off in the shape of animals is pretty great. Good stuff.
This is the film in a single image, and it’s pretty striking. Really like this poster a lot.
22. Kubo and the Two Strings
Surprisingly, this film did not have one singular amazing poster. I like this one a lot, but this is, I’m guessing, some sort of specific variation that wasn’t widely put out there. It’s really nice, and looks great. But I wish there was something so great that I could want to buy. Instead it’s just a nice painting with nice warm colors that reminds me of a film I liked very much. Oh well.
21. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
What, you thought I’d sell out and put this on the top ten like everyone else did? Nuh uh.
I actually didn’t care for the marketing campaign for this movie at all. I thought they played it safe. Sure, this is a striking image I like a lot, the Death Star looming over a planet as a war rages. Especially a beach planet, which we never see in Star Wars. It’s always swamps, deserts or ice. So that I was a fan of. But the amount of things they could have done with these posters is almost neverending. And they did none of it. So we’re left with a nice poster, but it’s really nothing special. Force Awakens didn’t have that great a poster either. That one was heavily reliant on the design of the original trilogy. Disney really doesn’t care to do anything inventive with their marketing at all now that they have a monopoly on every major franchise.
20. Everybody Wants Some!!
Not an English poster, so slight downgrade. The American poster, with all the cassette tapes of all the music used in the film was a nice alternative, but I preferred this one. It just looks fantastic. It gives off the vibe of the film in a single image. Perfect.
19. Elvis & Nixon
I almost went with the other one, with Elvis being represented by the glasses and Nixon being represented by the flag pin, but this one works more for me. Because it takes a simple meeting and turns it into something of mythical proportions. Big neon lights — it’s taking a minor event and making it major. And that’s what the film is. It’s a perfect representation of everything the film is going for.
18. Shut In
It’s the angle that does it for me. It’s like you’re looking at a poster in a theater. This poster makes the movie look way better than it is. Which, good on them for that. Because what this movie is does not deserve a poster this good.
17. Miles Ahead
I don’t know why I like this so much, but I do. Reminds me of the Carol poster from last year, which I adored. The motion blur is a nice effect. I’m still not certain what it means for this poster, but it works for me. The colored lights are a nice complement. I can’t explain it. I just like it.
16. Star Trek Beyond
This is such a striking image I found myself constantly coming back to it again and again as I went through all the posters of the year. It just stays with you, even though it tells you nothing about what the film is about. But it doesn’t matter. A memorable poster is a memorable poster. I’m also not 100% sure whether or not the shape around her eye is meant to look like the Enterprise or not. If it does, major points. If not, it doesn’t really matter. This stayed with me nevertheless.
15. Hands of Stone
The powerful use of the red is more than enough to get your attention. And I love the cracking of the blood dripping down the glove. Black and red, especially used like this, is a really effective contrast. A blast of red is a sensory overload, and it works.
14. The Founder
Hard to screw up a poster using McDonalds imagery. There’s nothing overly unique about this poster, but it certainly is effective at getting its point across. And sometimes that’s all you need.
13. Green Room
Oh I love this poster. The film in a single image. And I like the idea that he’s either using the machete or moshing. Doesn’t matter. Still awesome.
You know why I love this? Because it’s mundane yet unsettling at the same time. This so perfectly encapsulates this movie. I also really liked the alternate, where the TV is on her head. But this one felt more effective overall, so I went with this one.
11. The Neon Demon
This barely missed the top ten. Drain out all the color, and then when you use it, it’s effective. Especially, you know when the color is there to signify a throat being cut. Say what you will about Nic Winding Refn, but the man certainly has a visual sense.
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More posters tomorrow.