Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2017 (50-31)
I say it every year — the movie poster is a lost art. That statement is even more relevant this year. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — this year sucked for movie posters.
In today’s marketplace, about half the product is based on built-in IP that can trade off iconic images in previously known versions of that product. The other half are smaller movies that maybe get one poster at most, and usually that poster is created off the same generic template as most posters and is designed to make you think of other movies that you went to see in the past. Or, the new wrinkle is that a bunch of movies are now being released on Netflix, who doesn’t need to bother marketing the films and doesn’t even bother giving you posters for them. As such, there’s really no great use of imagery out there anymore.
Last year, I felt, was actually a really strong year for posters. This year, it felt like every poster I saw was either trading off its own brand (Disney, Marvel, even Blade Runner) or reminiscent of some other movie poster from years past. Few posters actually gave a shit to give you a great image. Usually at least one of a movie’s posters is great — because, as I usually say, there are like five different posters for every major movie. Teaser, first official, second official, character posters, IMAX poster, etc — but this year it didn’t even feel like they tried on those.
A good movie poster is one that sells its stars and its subject matter, boiling down the themes of a film into a single image. Ideally, you look at that poster, know exactly what it’s about, and are left with the thought of, “Oh, I wanna see that.” Did anything really stand out to you this year?
What I do every year — and I struggled mightily this year. You’ll see that the first bunch is basically “Hey, this looks like that other one, so sure” — is find 50 posters that I liked among the films that came out that year. So here are my favorite movie posters of 2017.
We begin, as always, with one honorable mention. Why do I do this? No idea. But I do it, so here we are.
My unofficial #51 favorite poster of the year is….
Look, it’s not a great poster by any stretch. But it is a baby in a suit, and I think that counts for something.
Hey man, look — it was either this or me saying something like, “Hey look, Coco’s poster had a lot of colors!” or “Beauty and the Beast reminds you of how great that movie was that they’re remaking.” At least the image of a baby in a suit is something you haven’t seen before. And also the fact that… well, we’ll leave politics out of this.
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Okay, now we can get into the actual list.
50. The Emoji Movie
It’s a terrible poster, but how often do you have the chance to have your movie poster be the perfect explanation for the product you put out?
49. Justice League
48. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
I mean, yeah, it’s ripping off The Bodyguard, but that’s the point. This movie doesn’t need an original poster because it’s selling you on the two leads. Plus, it’s not exactly high art. Giving you a twist on a famous image that you know, even if you’re not necessarily aware of where the image is from, works for this movie. The use of the same tagline is also really smart.
47. War for the Planet of the Apes
It’s an ape riding a horse, how awesome is that?
If I saw that dude, I’d go to war for him.
46. Dave Made a Maze
I love the design of this. The do-it-yourself aspect of it, that it all looks like cardboard, the stop-motion, Fantastic Mr. Fox quality. Plus it’s got that side view that reminds me of my days as a kid watching Legends of the Hidden Temple. Love it. Love everything about it.
It’s Harry Dean Stanton in his underwear watering a cactus. Does that not automatically make it one of the best posters of the year?
44. Logan Lucky
I love the coloring. The gray giving way to the yellow car. That’s pretty much it.
43. The Disaster Artist
That face, though.
This doesn’t even need a title. You know exactly what it is from that alone.
42. Cars 3
It’s really how photoreal it looks. And while this poster is a bill of goods that they did not follow through on, it is a really effective image.
The style of the animation is really nice, and I like the simplicity of the image. That’s how you sell this movie. It sells you on this image and turns out to be way more than that. It’s also unique enough to make you go, “What the fuck is this?”
I like the image of the two planes about to collide on his face. Really strong image for a film that is based on a really crazy true story.
39. The Dark Tower
It’s Inception, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good version of Inception. No idea what the fuck this is supposed to sell us, but the movie didn’t particularly tell me that either, so I’m fine with this. I also really like little upside down McConaughey hanging out up there.
38. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This looks like an 80s punk band album cover. Which I’m assuming was the point. I like it.
37. A Ghost Story
That is your movie, a dude under a sheet. So…. good job sticking with the obvious and not getting crazy?
36. John Wick Chapter Two
A lot of people would go with the alternate, of him standing there and a circle of guns around his head, but I liked this one. The two guns being the II in the subtitle.
Roman numerals count for a lot for me.
The Olympic rings as the strings on the puppet, and the hammer and sickle as the shadow — genius.
34. Crown Heights
I liked the title as the bars on the cell. Never seen that before. That’s a nice touch.
33. Call My By Your Name
Simple story, simple poster. Just the two characters. Sometimes simple is the best way.
This feels like the movie in a nutshell — impeccably framed, gorgeous to look at, and not a whole lot going on. Very nice looking poster.
Sure, it’s trading on an iconic image, but 1) that’s what the documentary is about, and 2) they didn’t choose the obvious image you thought they would. This one is all the more effective for me, and I wanted to put it higher than I normally would because of how effectively it’s used without giving away specifically what it’s about in words. You gotta read the quotes to know for sure, if you don’t already know from the image itself.
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