Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When the words don't match the face: Beautiful Creatures banner poster brings to light a poster art pet peeve.

This is a perfectly satisfactory billboard poster for the upcoming Beautiful Creatures.  It has its title, its release date, a tagline, and a roll-call of the elder vets and younger newbies (plus young vet Emmy Rossum) that will play in the southern gothic supernatural sandbox.  Everybody looks snazzy and it's a solid sell.  There's just one annoying problem.  They are exactly 1 for 7 when it comes for accuracy of labeling.  I've known Jeremy Irons as an actor for thirty years and I know he doesn't look like some kid aiming to be the next Robert Pattinson.  And I've had a thing for Emmy Rossum since her Mystic River/Day After Tomorrow/Phantom of the Opera break-out led to a near-decade of relative obscurity before bouncing back on Showtime's Shameless.  She does not look like a younger variation on Michael Angarano.  And while I don't know offhand who Thomas Mann is, I know he probably doesn't look like a dead-ringer for Viola Davis, who in turn is not the young Caucasian girl at the center of the poster.  By random chance, Emma Thompson is actually correctly labeled.  But the rest are all very wrong.  Yes I get the poster design, which puts the young girl at the center and then slowly branches out with the various forces of good or evil that will try to influence her destiny (IE - evil Emmy Rossum versus good Emma Thompson or something like that).  But any number of posters that screw this up in any given year don't even have that excuse.

It's not hard, folks.  Compare these poster for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End,  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  Dead Man's Chest scores an impressive 3 for 3 accuracy rate while At World's End goes a shameful 1 for 5.  This is floating head art.  How hard is it to merely choose accuracy over the branching-out system?  You want to keep Johnny Depp at the forefront?  Fine, but what mess up the accuracy of everyone else, resulting in poor Keira Knightly being mistaken for Orlando Bloom!  

New Line Cinema has been a longtime proponent of accuracy in poster labeling. Even with the Rush Hour sequels, which had two posters where each respective star got top billing, each poster made sure that Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker was placed at the proper labeling slot.  So too did the one sheet for Se7en, which correctly put Brad Pitt on the left and Morgan Freeman on the right to account for their billing order.  

I'll leave you with one more, which went 1 for 5 in terms of correctly positioning the actor in the vicinity of their respective billing. This isn't a case with actors being off on their own agenda on the photo-shopped poster art, or even a case where the cast billing goes elsewhere on the art.  This is poster art of the floating head or full-body cast list that still manages to royally screw up synchronization.   Write your congressman.  Take action now to end this terrible epidemic of poster positioning screw ups!  It's up to you!

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Matt from Phoenix said...

Say what you will, but I think Viola Davis could totally pull off playing a younger whiter character.... :D


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