What’s Up With Twentieth Century Fox’s Terrible Posters?

Why Are Fox’s Posters So Bad?

We may be living in a digital world but print media is far from dead and it’s particularly important when it comes to movie advertising. The poster is often the first form of promotion revealed to support a film and usually appears just before the trailer.

Now Fox have a long, long (and sometimes painful history) when it comes to launching new franchises and although I’m not a big fan of the way they used to operate I was always generally impressed by their marketing collateral but this summer I have to ask:

What up with Twentieth Century Fox’s terrible posters?

And lets be even more specific – from what I’ve seen of the US and international posters – what’s up with Fox UK’s terrible posters?

I saw the poster for The Wolverine on bus T-sides and at tube station and was floored by just how utterly bland it was.

Wolverine UK Poster

(it doesn’t help that in this case they also messed up the order of the panels)

And what’s odd is there is some pretty fantastic poster art out there for the film! Some with beautiful sum-e style art and some just cool stylised Photoshop work.

So the UK team actually went out of their way to ignore the cool assets they no doubt has access to and instead opted for an utterly generic poster that looks like it was made using PowerPoint.

This followed up the poster for The Internship which has to be the absolute worst poster I have seen all year. Unfortunatley I didn’t find a picture of it but it’s basically this idea:

The Internship Poster

But without any of the Google iconography and set against a plain white background. It is so completely insipid and not only does it not tell you anything about the film it doesn’t generate any enthusiasm to actually go see it. Its literally two guys looking confused with their namesagainst a white background.

And I’m not just being a hater ‘cos I liked the concept of the US version – the idea of the two leads looking back at the Google home page is solid. So why drop everything that made it unique?

Internship Poster Google

The other US posters also used Google-esque font to drive home the association but the again the UK one has none of that. I can’t believe someone was paid to produce these.

Is it no coincidence that both films have failed to live up to their potential at the box office?

How about the art from last year’s Fox flop The Watch:

The Watch Poster

Does that inspire you to see the movie?

Now I have a theory why they are so bland. They know posters have to work for the mainstream so by highlighting the titles and stars against a plain background this helps minimise audience confusion and gets straight to the point:

  • HUGH JACKMAN is in a film called THE WOLVERINE
  • OWEN WILSON & VINCE VAUGHN are in this film called THE INTERNSHIP

And that’s all you need to know! Hooray!

Except it isn’t really. You need SOME information. Some hooks. A call to action or investigation. This just a big disservice to both films and the people who worked hard so make them. A great poster not only inspires you to see the movie it is in fact a piece of art in itself.

x-men-first-class-poster-james-mcavoy

I remember the terrible poster for Fox’s X-Men First Class back in 2011 – nice idea shame about the execution. The film turned out to great and deserved so much better.

Thankfully although the first posters for X-Men Days Of Future Past have a similar theme they are far better executed.

x-men-days-of-future-past-posters

Look I know it may sound odd to criticise a movie poster but these things are designed to sell multi-million dollar projects all around the world.

And when a potential customer rejects your labour of love which you have invested so much time, effort and money to produce, market and release just because they were turned off by a terrible piece of artwork well then it just seems like a huge wasted opportunity.

Come on Fox look at your competition (click to expand) – Can you afford to be complacent?

Up your game!


Let’s just be grateful they didn’t have any grammatical errors…

GI Joe 2 Poster Fail

Yikes.

Am I over-reacting? Let me know below!

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4 responses to “What’s Up With Twentieth Century Fox’s Terrible Posters?

  1. Whoa, as a designer myself, I just can’t believe the typo. Who is proof reading this stuff? Do they just send it to print before having 2-3 people look it over? Fox’s competition is definitely much more creative as you have shown in the examples. Also personally I did like the Wolverine posters which reminded me of the comic-book character that he is but it was a little bland. Sometimes less is more…some times….

  2. Yes I was stunned when I saw the GI Joe poster! How did that slip through!

    On the Wolverine I really like the painted style posters and the other poster where he is kneeling is also a striking image, but the posters in the UK are based on the blue ones on the side of the bus in the photo above. It’s so bland compared to the other two.

    Agreed that minimal designs can look great but I just wish they had the used the art style from the other two posters or been a little bit more inventive!

  3. I absolutely love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own site and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Kudos!

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