Iconic film posters

DanielGWoodDanielGWood Staff
edited April 2013 in Everything Else
IMP Awards posted a great roundup yesterday of movie posters - remakes vs. originals.
The general opinion is that remakes are rarely better than the original films. But what about their movie posters? We've gathered together a collection of the main posters for many remakes in recent years along with with their original counterparts (or previous remakes in several cases).
For the most part the originals easily win out as far as we are concerned, especially in the case of iconic posters for the original versions of The Evil DeadRed DawnFright NightHalloween, and The Hitcher. Still, there are a few bright spots amongst the remakes. The new version of A Nightmare on Elm Street , for instance, benefited from being able to sell the creepy image of Freddy Kreuger while the original seemed to have no idea of what the villain even looked like. Some of our favorites among the remakes include PiranhaMy Bloody Valentine, and Planet of the Apes. So what are your thoughts regarding the best and worst posters for remakes compared to the originals?

I have to say I agree, I much prefer the originals in most cases, partly because I like that retro-postery look which is common to many of them.
What are some of your favourite movie posters? (your own work/posters made by others that were better than the official versions count too!)


  • edited April 2013
    In my junior year of high school in 1982, I was dating a girl, Sophie, an exchange student from Belgium. She gave me, as a goodbye present, an 8 foot by 5 foot [2.44 meters by 1.52 meters] movie poster from Belgium upon which was seen a road going back in the distance over a hill, a light behind the hill fading into a starry sky above and the words, "Nous ne sommes pas seuls" about a third of the way from the top. Sound familiar? It was magnificent!

    I'm sorry, Daniel. I didn't answer your question. I like the original movie posters over the remakes. Although, one original poster that I almost got my hands on as a kid was one advertising REVENGE of the Jedi. I asked the manager at the theater if I could have it when they were done and he said 'sure' and took my name and number. When the name of the movie changed the poster was 'recalled' which is probably managerese for 'I have it now 'cause it's going to be priceless'. I have a 'making of' book with a print of the poster but it's not as cool as the original.
  • I prefer the originals because it's very rare to see quality posters these days.  Even the ones on there that try to be similar to the original are just awful.  Take the Straw Dogs posters for example.  The first one is absolutely perfect, while the remake poster is like, "OMG let's put a reflection in the glass and cover his face with sweat because that's so much cooler!"  Then of course they also need a massive tagline...  Look at the Red Dawn ones as well.  The original is eerie and thoughtful, and the remake is like, "Hey, these people are in this movie and they have guns, and that's all you need to know."  Which, actually reflects the film itself perfectly. ;)
    Some of the remake posters are pretty decent, but just in general, poster design has really gone to crap in recent years.  When a studio can pay someone for an hour of photoshop work rather than 20 hours of thoughtful design and artistry, they're going to go for the cheap photoshop job every time.  I long for the days when Drew Struzan was doing posters left and right, and the images looked like paintings because they were paintings, not because someone took a photoshop brush to an actor's face until they look like they're made of plastic.
    That's not to say that all modern posters are terrible, cheap, hack jobs, because once in a while we see something really stunning and artful.  It just doesn't happen very often, unfortunately.  Indie films definitely get better posters than big budget Hollywood films do.  Although actually, one of my favorites recently was this one for Iron Man 3:
    It's rare that they actually have the actors take the time to pose for poster shots these days, so when something like this comes along, it makes me pretty happy.  You can tell some thought went into creating this image.
    The campaign for Pacific Rim has also been quite interesting.  Not really that original or unique, but it tells you exactly what you need to know about the film in a fun way.
  • edited April 2013
  • The soundtrack to Bruce Brown's 1966 surf documentary movie "The Endless Summer" was one of the very first albums I ever owned, and I like to collect various versions of its iconic silhouette image from its movie poster when I find them. I have a couple variations of this one hanging in my studio.  :) 
  • That's an awesome movie, too.
  • I also rather enjoyed this fanmade Star Wars VII poster:
    n general these days posters made by Mondo for blockbusters tend to be vastly superior to the originals. Unfortunately, they are also very limited edition. Great artistry though.
  • Lando and Han look great in that poster. Not quite sure what's happened to Luke, though. Looks like Mark Hamill wearing weird old age make-up. :P
  • edited April 2013

    Most posters are copying the same formulaic design.  I read a post somewhere that compared a bunch of original movie posters to movies posters that clearly copied/were inspired by different films.  There was a lot of talk about how Star Trek Into Darkness copied the dark knight rises

    My 2 favorite movie posters are
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited April 2013
    Axel - yeah, the guy has aged but he still looks like a normal human being, rather than somebody wearing a rubber mask of their own face. :P
    Actually quite excited about the prospect of Hamill being in the new films. He's a much more experienced and accomplished actor now than he was back in the original trilogy days. His voiceover work in particular has been stunning.
  • edited April 2013
    In general these days posters made by Mondo for blockbusters tend to be vastly superior to the originals. Unfortunately, they are also very limited edition. Great artistry though.

    I really don't get the obsession with Mondo. To me, all (most) of their stuff looks like generic done-in-photoshop faux-silk-screens of just photos that already exist for films in unimaginative ways and color palette. They aren't quite artful and edgy, nor minimalist to fit that sort of poster design trope- yet none really capture that 'drawn by hand' comic book-y feel I think all are going for.
    Instead, they just are what they are. Like something more akin to a crafty filter-job done to put a movie image on a Target or Walmart t-shirt or lunchbox. And it's never really seemed all that special to me. Maybe because I'm disenchanted because they work out of Austin.
    Or maybe it's because in knowing them I know they're just, generally, dicks. And make limited quantities of so-so artwork for people to fight over on top of that. And are overhyped. And all those things together just make me not really like them. ;)

  • I really like some of the poster designs here: http://io9.com/5834205/fan+made-superhero-movie-posters-we-wish-were-real
    hey're a real mixed bag and some are terrible, but the Saving Private Ryan-inspired Captain America posters I really, really love.
  • Andrew - to each his own. Some of your points there (generic, done-in-photoshop, unimaginative, [unimaginative] colour palette, movie image on a lunchbox, overhyped) are even more apt for the official poster offerings in my opinion. I like the style of Mondo's offerings, and though their artificially exclusive/limited edition runs mean I won't be likely to ever buy one of their posters, that is their business model, and it seems to work.
    Simon - yeah, kind of a mixed bag. Some pretty good ones though.

  • I definitely agree that Mondo posters are way overrated.  Some of them have been really, really good, but most of them are like the exact opposite of the whole minimalist fan poster thing.  Someone tries to incorporate every single element of the film into the poster and it ends up looking like a total mess.  When they get it right, the posters look superb, but that isn't very often (They had one for Metropolis recently that was awesome).  Their business model, while yes it works wonders for them, is ridiculous, and the only reason most people seem interested in buying their posters is to turn them on ebay at a ridiculous markup.
    Speaking of minimalist fan posters, I don't think there's anything I'm more tired of seeing than vector art of some obscure film reference with a distressed paper effect thrown onto it.  So bad.  Fan posters in general are pretty awful most of the time, but there are a couple of decent ones on that link.
  • Distressed paper effects fix everything, though. It's like lens dirt.
  • edited April 2013
    Criterion Collection covers/posters are some of my favorite re-done posters, on their blurays and DVDs. 



    They're generally all pretty artful and cool- and people make 'fake Criterions' for movies that I find very well-done or, in some cases, very funny. This is my favorite fake one:

    And these Star Wars fake Criterion's are pretty cool, for embracing the minimalist aesthetic without going the same route as everyone else:

  • As a Norther Californian I really have to call out that Return of the Jedi poster for not using a pic of a redwood forest.  :P 
  • Those Criterion posters are very nice indeed. Love the concept of those Star Wars posters, too. Clever.
  • Those are nice! I can't see I've ever seen the criterion collection over here.

Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment