Dude. I can’t tell you how many DVD covers for films totally suck. How disappointed were you, after seeing the incredible movie posters for films like Attack of the Clones or Pain & Gain, only to find the horribly put-together DVD cover designs for them? In my head, I’m thinking, why didn’t they just transfer the dope movie poster design to the DVD cover?
Mind you, it doesn’t really matter how good or bad the film promoted film actually is. Trust me, I didn’t enjoy Attack of the Clones either. But wow, that movie poster was something epic, wasn’t it? Now, not all DVD covers are bad. In fact, I highly enjoy seeing films released in stores in two or three formats, each format with its own distinctive cover design. It’s exciting! Without attempting to maintain a particular biased about how good the movies are or not, here is a list of some of the best movie poster designs I’ve ever seen. There are plenty, but this is just a few off the top of the ol’ dome.
Evil Dead (2013)
Think about this. Even if you never saw Sam Raimi’s three previous comedy-horror classics that this more recent film rebooted, you can still feel something completely different about this movie poster. Although the rich logo (complete with a cheesy, yet hardened 70’s feel) is dwarfed by the tagline of the film and gray-scale imagery, it still remains the hero of this design. Amazing typography and an awesome picture that drives both fans of the older films and newcomers to the franchise to think, “what’s happening here?” If a poster can make you do that it, it’s done it’s job well.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
This poster I first saw while TDKR was in theaters. I was in London that summer, and saw this horizontal poster on the side of a double-decker bus. I was very impressed, being that the good majority of promotional posters for this second sequel to Batman Begins were disappointingly lackluster. You know what’s about to happen here. Sure, Ra’s Al Ghul had a couple of clandestine ninja goons, and the Joker had a few lost followers of his own. But here, Bane looks to be the leader of a revolution. Yeah. Good luck, Caped Crusader.
You already know this is my favorite film of all time, but here me out. Imagine this: it’s early 1984. The Ghostbusters theme song, nobody has heard. In fact, it doesn’t even exist yet. And you go to the theaters, and see this. No title. No stars listed so you have no clue who’s going to be in it. Is it a comedy? It is a drama? All you know is that the world is going to be saved, presumably from some sort of supernatural threat, this summer. Got your attention yet? Thought so. Besides. Look at this design. A ghost captured inside a reverse International Logo of Prohibition. Genius.
Star Wars (1977)
The tagline alone should’ve had you at the box office the first night. You have no clue what the titular Alien looks like. In fact, what makes the film great is that even throughout the majority of the movie, you still don’t know. You just know something is killing off the cast, and this poster is tremendously representative of that fact; indeed, something not human is coming. This film is a franchise-starting horror classic.
This first sequel in the Alien franchise, which switches the genre from full-on horror thriller to exciting, outer space action-adventure with enough firepower to blast through a Gundam, also drops with an impressive new logo and an amazing environment. The first film’s poster had one alien egg. Here, you see our returning heroine Ellen Ripley surrounded by many alien eggs, with a little girl, no less. Did I mention that sexy gun? You know it’s about to go down. Gorgeous design.
…Need I say more? Look at this retro-themed piece of sexy glory. Wow.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Potentially the scariest movie of all time. I have this thing for old horror movie posters and this is by far the most hauntingly beautiful of them all. It makes little sense why this poster is actually scary: the colors are cool, the silhouette is that of a baby carriage (the most non-threatening thing since babies), and the soft face of a young woman lost deep in thought. Yet, this poster freaks me out. The typography is small, simplistic, and wonderfully executed. The tagline is so rich it could buy a small island: “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby”. Excellent. If you don’t me when I say this could be the scariest horror film ever, just freaking watch it.
Fast Five (2011)
The Fast and the Furious films are my guilty pleasure. I even like the worst middle films, but I never gave up on the franchise. So I was pleasantly surprised when the franchise made an unexpected full-on comeback by reuniting the original cast from film one, two main characters from film two, the best character from film three, and four late additions fresh from film four. And….The Rock. This top-heavy poster is a beautiful, summer-laced, deep move away from the style of the posters of the four previous films, all inspired by one another. It’s more simple, though a bit photoshopped. However, its so spacious and exciting just to see all these heroes from the entire franchise here together for the first time. Job well done.
Furious Six (2013)
I dare say I like this poster design from Furious Six more than Fast Five! This poster is just one of a handful of different character posters that show a main character next to his ride of choice, with a top-heavy, beautiful summer sky making up the majority of the poster, and a very simple, beautiful logo for the film at the bottom. No flashy colors, no effects to make the letters stick out or give the illusion that they’re moving. Just, simple. This Brian O’Conner character poster was my favorite, even prior to Paul Walker’s unexpected death. His Converse-wearing cool demeanor is heavily exemplified here, unlike the other character posters where they depict this person or that person looking in a epic stance to the side, or walking toward something.
Pain & Gain (2013)
Look at this poster and tell me you can tell what this movie is about. No? Didn’t think so. But that’s the beauty of this poster, isn’t it? It’s nothing like Michael Bay’s other films. Transformers, Bad Boys, or Armageddon would not get away with a simple, crisp shot of the heroes and an American flag hanging in the background. But, unlike the horrible DVD cover design, this poster sure does spark one’s interest just for showing two lovable, jacked guys surrounded by iron that, presumably, they just pumped. Merica.
X-Men Days of Future Past (2014)
This is easily the coolest superhero film poster design I’ve ever seen. I don’t even want to explain it. Seriously. I’m not gonna do it. Just look at it, man. OKAY FINE. How cool is thing stupid thing? Right from the moment you see either of these posters, you know this movie, though unnamed, is the next entry in the X-Men film franchise, and most likely, First Class 2. It’s a little deeper than that of course once you see the trailer or research the source material. But, without giving the plot away, you can tell that by this design that something–something–is going to happen between two generations of mutant heroes and villains. And the simple colors–one blue, the other red–indicate their respective spirits regarding mutant/non-mutant relations: one advocate for peace, one tyrant for war. I do not expect to ever see a superhero film with a movie poster this incredible.
Agree with any of these? Disagree? Find some online lists and see what you think 🙂