They wouldn’t use a shot from the final scene of the film on the poster, surely not?
Inevitably, with the advent of cinema came the need to market films to audiences prior to release – it’s just good business sense – and through the internet now exists to celebrate (and intentionally spoil) upcoming movies on the slate, some traditional marketing approaches still survive. Stoke the fires of imagination and throngs of cinemagoers shall hand over their hard-earned cash for entry into the latest feature doing the circuits.
Way back at the start of the last century, movie posters were only really permitted for use by the movie theatre owners and so designs were whipped up to convince folks to return to the cinema. An image, a headline and the name of the leading actors; these three assets were the bread and butter for early film poster designers, and thankfully, you’d see no horribly Photoshopped disaster, under-selling a movie that deserves so much better. Some of those classic movie posters have gone on to fetch millions at auction – not for the films own merit, but for the divine artwork dedicated to it.
But that would be unthinkable now, as in recent years posters have depreciated as they’ve been churned out more cynically (unless we’re counting the limited run special edition posters that are released in small batches by terrific artists like Mondo). While there are undoubted exceptions to this, namely in foreign movie posters, the majority of mainstream posters now lean towards enticing customers by revealing a lot more of the plot than merely its title, a random image and the names of its stars.
Unfortunately, screenshots, multiple characters, and the tagline can often reveal far more than a glimpse at what’s to come, and sometimes they can ruin the element of surprise completely, compromising the impact when the ultimate reveal eventually happen on screen.
Spoiler alert: Hey look, just beneath Arnie’s giant face – that’s Jason Clarke’s John Connor! And he’s on fire! And looks like a Terminator! He couldn’t secretly be a Terminator, could he?
Spoiler alert: In Rocky IV, America’s very own, um, Italian Stallion takes on the Soviet Union’s very own Ivan Drago. Three guesses who wins. Okay, one guess.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Spoiler alert: If you were wondering whether Optimus Prime rides a gargantuan robot dinosaur at the very end of Transformers: Age Of Extinction, wonder no more.
Spoiler alert: So it turns out the massive doughnut spaceship smashes into the other spaceship – called Prometheus, by the way – and bursts into flames before crashing into the ground. Bummer.
Spoiler alert: He may start off on Skull Island, butting heads with prehistoric reptiles, but King Kong’s defining ding-dong has to be this: plane swatting on the top of a skyscraper. Perhaps that’ll be the film’s climax!
Thor: The Dark World
Spoiler alert: A relatively subtle one, this, but that’s Odin’s crown at Loki’s feet, as well as Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now how could the god of mischief have made that happen?