Ever seen a movie poster and think, “Have I already seen this? This looks familiar.” You are not alone. It’s no secret that Hollywood tends to recycle trends until it has worn out its welcome and this extends to movie posters as well. When the studios know that their flick isn’t up to snuff, they try to dress up the poster and trailer to make it look better than it is.
The theory is that if the poster looks like another more successful film, maybe they will be able to get more butts in the seats. Here are 15 examples of posters with similar themes.
1. Giant Floating Heads
Heads are in the clouds.
Sometimes the best thing a movie can claim about itself is that it has a big star in it. What better way of promoting that big star than making his face really, really big? But here is a twist. These posters feature really large heads that are floating in the clouds.
Sometimes the clouds can represent innocence or purity, but a lot of these tend to look like they want to convey a tribute the wise characters featured in the film.
2. Focusing On The Character’s Back
Posters than shun their audience.
From Puss in Boots to The Hitcher this technique looks cool and gives the poster a mysterious feel. The posters focus on one character who bold and powerful.
On the downside, though, they don’t show much of what the film is about. This can work for a movie that is not particularly useful.
3. Black & White With Flames
What is black and white with red in just a few places?
These particular movie posters want you to think that the films are more substantial than they are. This batch also features a few flames or explosions to remind you that they believe that they are a very serious action movie.
4. Standing Back to Back
I’ve got your back.
The technique shows the two main characters standing back to back. They obviously don’t like each other or do not work well together, but by the end of the movie, you can guarantee that this couple will be looking at each other face to face.
This is mostly used in romantic comedies, but can also be used for comedies about two seemingly different people who need each other. You’ll never see a “serious” film promoted this way.
5. Characters In Bed
Get a room.
Similar to the Back to Back styling, these posters mostly represent romantic comedies about couples who were once happy but now are not, or are perplexed on how they got there in the first place. If a couple is seen in bed on the poster, it is most certain that the two will end up in bed sometime in the film as well.
Ironically, very few of these examples feature a well-adjusted and happy couple.
6. Legs Spread Apart
Under the belt.
You’ll never see a serious movie like Saving Private Ryan, or All the President’s Men promoted with a poster with a pair of women’s legs spread apart and the central lead looking between them.
These are saved for raunchy comedies or 007 action flicks that need to remind their audience that if nothing else, the film will feature at least one character for your trouble in seeing it.
7. Blue With Circle
This design technique used in a film set in space or deep underwater. The round moon or glowing orb tend to operate like nature’s spotlight. They highlight the character or creatures that the film will focus. The color blue can create the air of mystery.
A surprising number of these are for documentaries or film about animals.
8. Yellow Pallet
A poster that makes you feels warm inside.
While it isn’t always the case, many movie posters that feature a yellowish goldenrod color background (like the new The Peanuts Movie) are used to convey warmth or emotion.
Perhaps the strangest example seen here is the use of yellow for the film The Shining which doesn’t feature any warmth or emotion, but just the opposite.
9. The Woman in Red
The little red dress.
These posters range from a subtle symbolism to a blatant sexual message, and all feature a woman wearing a red dress. The color red is a symbol of temptation.
10. The Man On The Run
Someone’s trying to get somewhere.
Isn’t it interesting how many film posters that feature a man in danger or running for his life with a blue background? Most are showing a scene at night.
The edges are dark gray or black, and the scene of action with a background of mysterious blue. All that mystery and action show that it’s going to be a thrill ride.
11. Type Over Image
Because the picture doesn’t tell you anything.
This technique adds a certain art house quality to the poster giving the subject matter a sense of mystery and seriousness.
This look doesn’t work for all of these examples. What’s the Story Morning Glory is a comedy film and giving Thor this serious looking treatment does the action flick no favors.
12. The Covering Of Eyes
Who is that?
This technique appears to be an extension of photos that feature a black bar that covers the eyes of the people featured there as a way of protecting their identity. The way it creates a lot of interest and mystery surrounding the film.
13. One Large Eye
I have my eye on you.
The human eye can be breathtaking to see. However, it can also be creepy as well. Especially if there is a hand reaching out of it (The Eye), a giant bee (Candyman) of if it allows you to see beyond the pupil itself (The Skeleton Key).
Almost always, a film that is promoted with one giant eye, it’s going to be scary flick.
14. Monster movies
All of these older monster movie posters look very similar. If you took out the various monsters out of these (vampires, Frankenstein and the like), you might not be able to tell the difference. Many feature a damsel in distress and “loud” typefaces conveying danger, evil, and spookiness.
15. Animation Rip Offs
Not the same as Disney.
Just about every Disney animation movie that comes to theaters has a similar-looking rip-off appearing at your local Redbox at the same time. Though they may feature an entirely different storyline than the film theaters, their look and film names borrow heavily from the more popular film.