The best movie posters come from Mondo, other art-boutiques, and individual artists who take their passion for a film and turn it into something that every fan has to own. Studios don’t have that luxury. They need to sell a movie to an audience that has no idea what they’re in for. They need to find a way to appeal to everyone, or at least get their attention. Usually studios go for the dull route of floating movie star heads and/or blue-orange color schemes. My picks for the best studio-produced posters of 2011 were the posters that went beyond and tried to do something better.
Hit the jump to check out my choices for the Top 10 Posters of 2011.
[Note: Only the poster had to come out this year, not the film. Also, I’m referring to the studio as the designer of these posters, but I’m aware that the design is outsourced to ad companies.]
Gina Carano may be a star among MMA fans, but she’s unknown to mainstream audiences. Relativity used her relative anonymity to their advantage with this teaser poster and had her character straddle some poor/lucky chap. It’s a nice way to sell the sex and violence but without showing Carano’s lovely face.
9. The Devil’s Double
Auric Goldfinger may have gone overboard, but Lionsgate got an eye-catching poster out of it. You instantly understand that The Devil’s Double is a tale of excessive wealth and violence and you don’t even need to read the crappy tagline hidden underneath Dominic Cooper‘s chair.
8. Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbabrian standing on top of a mountain of skulls. Why couldn’t the movie grasp this simple and badass concept?
7. The Artist
I see this poster and I immediately think, “Elegant.” I’m not sure how The Weinstein Company could sell or even explain in a poster that The Artist is a silent film. But what they came up with does a great job of sending the viewer back to an earlier age, which is what director Michael Hazanavicius does with his critically acclaimed movie.
6. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
You had me at “Giant skull screaming bullets.” The only reason it’s not higher on the list is because it doesn’t tell people it’s for a new Ghost Rider movie, and provides no way to find that out.
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
There’s no title on this poster either, but you can at least discern that it’s probably for a Planet of the Apes movie. And honestly, it doesn’t really need a title when you have an image that perfectly sums up the idea of the movie.
4. 13 Assassins
Like the poster for Haywire, 13 Assassins has the advantage of starring no one American audiences would know. What makes this poster brilliant is that it takes a somewhat generic title, shows that the film has samurai and bloody action, and does so in the style of Ukiyo-e prints.
3. Hobo with a Shotgun
First, this will probably be the last time Rutger Hauer‘s name is emblazoned across the top of a poster. Second, this poster does everything short of showing a shotgun-obliterated penis in order to tell the viewer “This movie is insane. Enjoy.”
2. Young Adult
The poster doesn’t really convey the dark humor, but it’s still a devilishly clever image that puts a young adult author inside a young adult novel-style cover. The clever part comes in when you see the movie understand that Theron’s character, writer Mavis Gary, projects her mean-spirited, self-righteous attitude on to her young adult novel’s main character. It’s a hall of sad, petty mirrors.
No tagline and no people. Just sad, crumpled bed sheets and the title in small letters with a blurb at the top and the names of the actors at the bottom. Not only do you have to stop to see what the crumpled bedsheets are about, you have to stop and look to read the small title. And then you’re left to wonder, “What could be so shameful about crumpled bedsheets?” It’s a perfect image for those who have seen the movie, and it’s an intriguing image for those who haven’t.
Monday: Top 10 Posters of 2011
Tuesday: Top 10 Trailers of 2011
Wednesday: Best Performances, Directing, and other Miscellany of 2011
Thursday: Worst 5 of 2011
Friday: Top 10 of 2011