Brad Pitt as Nazi killing machine, and some vaguely humorous text. This is the most crystal clear case for why you might want to see this film I have seen so far. It’s not necessarily my favorite design, as I’m quite fond of the character posters with the white and red background that have cropped up. But as a sales pitch it is better than anything that came before.
The thing that really caught my attention about this poster is the little Cannes logo. It’s sort of jarring to see a film starring Jim Carrey associated with the symbol that screams “art-house” and “indie”. Especially because it otherwise seems like a pretty typical “Jim Carrey making a goofy face” poster. Although one with an unusually high amount of yellow.
And I guess that is the main problem facing the marketing of this movie. It’s a Jim Carrey movie with slightly loftier pretensions that is apparently not quite in the award winning flick level. So, what do you sell? Do you sell Jim Carrey and hope people aren’t mad when they find out how the movie really is? Do you try to sell it like a more offbeat but smart comedy and hope the usual public isn’t turned off by Jim? Do you sell the gay angle and hope against hope that will be enough to get people intrigued (in the film Carrey’s character falls in love with his cellmate, the titular Philip Morris)? Or do you sell this as a fun con man adventure, like Catch Me if You Can?
Every choice has it’s downsides, and obviously a lot depends on how high a gross they hope (or need) from this movie. But I think you have to make a clear choice. What this poster does, putting Carrey’s face front and center but using an offbeat background and a Cannes logo to make it seem different from the typical Carrey fare, is obviously not working.
So, here we have a film starring Vince Vaughn, with a side of Jon Favreau. As the trailer makes it clear, this is a comedy. Based on that, shouldn’t the poster be more fun? A bunch of people sulking inside a body of water doesn’t really spell barrel of laughs to me. At least not this execution of it anyway.
As a matter of fact, if you changed all the actors, putting in their place a bunch of 20-year-olds, this could be the poster for the newest angst ridden teen TV series. From the makers of Dawson’s Creek, it’s Vince’s Lake.
I have to admit I didn’t find the trailer all that funny either, but it was much more clearly trying to make me laugh.
Theory: The T-Rex has been overused in movies, and really overused in marketing materials. True or False?
Let this be a lesson to all the kids out there: sure, that face tattoo looks narly now. But once you grow older, pudgier and much less threatening it will look very very silly.
It will probably help the poster for that film you have a small part in stand out more though.
In general a like all these little posters for minor characters from the film. As a general rule these types of characters in comedies have to be quickly memorable for something, so the odds of they working as a poster seem high.
And who can not love a poster featuring pretty much just a chicken?
I’ve been torn about Bruno since the project was announced. I mean, Borat was tons of fun, but a part of the fun was that it felt fresh when it came to the big screen and became a cultural sensation, despite the fact that the show had been going on for a few years in the small screen. Could Bruno possibly be close to as much fun? Wouldn’t it feel like a retread, and with a much less funny character?
Well, we’ll have answers soon enough. But I have to say that the poster only strengthens my ambivalence. On one hand, a laughed when I first saw it. On the other hand, it’s just not as great as the classic poster for Borat. I don’t blame the poster itself, which I think does a lot of things right, but the source material, the character at the center of it all, simply isn’t as funny or memorable as Borat. And no matter how hard they try, and they are trying hard, that is hard to overcome.
Then again, a lot less funny than Borat can still be very funny…
[removed by request of the author]
So, you have seen the official poster for Taking Woodstock. But now here you see John Malloy’s alternate version which the studio ultimately didn’t pick.
It’s obvious from these two that they always wanted the poster to be quite psychedelic. In the end they went with an image that felt a lot like something you could have actually seen in the 60’s, and more particularly with something that you could see associated with the culture that permeated Woodstock. Malloy’s version lacks that “from the time” feel.
On the other hand, you can actually read the text in the alternate poster, which is a big plus! And overall I think it does make the movie look like a more broadly appealing comedy while maintaining a sense of uniqueness and a strong identity. Like I said before, I fear that the first poster might be making the movie look way more niche than it actually is.
I can see why they went the way they went, but there are (as is often the case) risks involved.