Every year, Hollywood produces hundreds of movies, and to help promote them, they release thousands of posters – often those posters are good-to-serviceable, but sometimes they’re just not very good. This year was no exception, and as we combed through a couple thousand submissions, we found the twelve featured below to be the worst offenders.
Any number of faux pas can turn a movie poster from good to bad – cluttered workspace, unrelated imagery, no sense of depth or scale – but most often the visual violation can be traced back to one main culprit: bad graphic manipulation. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our nominees for the Worst Movie Posters of 2014.
The Other Woman
At first glance, there’s really nothing majorly wrong with this poster for movie debut of supermodel Kate Upton, The Other Woman. The graphic artist creatively used emojis to recreate the original poster for the film (seen HERE). But we had to ask ourselves – WHY did they decided to use emojis to recreate the poster? While clever and not necessarily a “bad” poster, it’s not really relevant to the movie and seems more like a piece of cutesy fan art than a professional piece of promotional art distributed by the studio.
Creed of Gold
There’s a lot going on in this Creed of Gold poster, which should make it easy to discern what the movie is about. Alas, that’s not the case. There’s the classic “floating heads” of the main characters juxtaposed over an American flag, juxtaposed over some trees (for whatever reason), juxtaposed over the Capitol Building, and just in case your brain wasn’t bombarded with enough information, there’s an explosion on top of that. Even with all of that information overload, we still can’t tell what the film is about.
Aside from the interesting title logo for Falcon Rising, this poster makes the mistake of trying to create action by overlaying flying debris around the center image of the main character – clearly, he’s not in an action sequence at the moment. It’s a tool that more action films are beginning to employ in their posters, but all those shiny, tiny “action particles” look more like snow than whatever it is the poster is trying to convey.
Step Up All In
With five films in the franchise, the Step Up series is the dance movie equivalent to the Saw films – oddly continuing to produce successful film after successful film, even though the storytelling has become more and more lazy. This poster for Step Up All In is just as lazy as the story for the film, using water droplets in place of the “action particles” in the Falcon Rising poster above. It doesn’t help that both main characters appear to be heavily Photoshopped to give them the appearance of perfect waist, abs, legs and “thigh gap.”
Where to begin on this poorly laid-out poster for Drive Hard? If the disconnected, out-of-proportion hand holding a gun next to a couple of floating heads and the inexplicable fiery background explosion doesn’t convince you that this poster deserves to be on our Worst List, then the “hero” car in the center of the poster which appears to be parked, even though there are sparks flying the rear tires (again inexplicably) should win you over to our side. Maybe the movie should have been titled “Try Hard”?
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To begin, our criticism of this awful poster is in no way a commentary on Kirk Cameron’s personal life or spiritual leanings – which is most often the case with criticism of his recent body of work. No, our problems with this poster are the ridiculous action movie vibe it’s trying to create in the most over-the-top fashion. Plus, the film is titled Saving Christmas, but the cross (a prominent symbol for Christianity) is regulated to the background, while presents, money, other secular symbols for Christmas and even Cameron himself are front and center – and that seems to be the opposite of what the movie is trying to promote. It receives minus points for the inclusion of “action particles,” as well.
The Expendables 3
The Expendables 3 was possibly the most violent film released in 2014 (in terms of number of people dying), but you wouldn’t know it by looking it at this hyper-colorful, super saturated series of character posters. It was like someone in the graphic arts department learned how to apply filters in Photoshop and submitted them for approval as a joke, but, to their shock, the studio signed off anyway. Tough guys and gals whose clothes appear to have been painted by a child using a fluorescent highlighter will never make for a good movie poster.
Walk of Shame
The only thing funnier about this ridiculously bad foreign poster for the rom-com Walk of Shame are the comments left on the other posters over at Imp Awards (read them HERE). Typically, the signs that a good graphic artist has worked on a poster are evident by the things you CAN’T see, while the opposite is true for a bad graphic artist – the person who worked on this poster clearly falls into the later category. The only things that weren’t manipulated in this poster are the lamp, the socks, the bed, Marsden, the carpet and the guitar – everything else was obviously placed there.
The only thing worse than Adam Sandler’s most recent string of movies are the posters used to promote them. He’s had a poster grace our Worst List three out of the last four years (see 2011 and 2013), and this year is no exception. In the movie Blended, Sandler actually rides an ostrich, so why then does he look so obviously photoshopped on top of the bird in this poster? We’re not sure what his kids are looking at, but it’s clearly not their dad riding the bipedal fowl.
Jersey Shore Massacre
Raise your hand if you even knew Jersey Shore Massacre was a movie released this summer? The title of the film implies it’s a slasher film, and what better way to promote a slasher film (that no one’s heard of) than to fill your poster with heavily enhanced pictures of breasts, abs, and smoldering looks at the camera? It was really nice of them to give away the name of the killer, too, by using a a really bad pun for a tagline. It’s almost as bad as AMC spoiling a major character death in The Walking Dead…almost.
My Man is a Loser
Poor Michael Rapaport and Bryan Callen look like they were inspired by the shrunken head patient from Beetlejuice in this poorly produced poster for My Man is a Loser. There’s really no excuse for over-adjusting the scale of an actor’s head, face, or body in like this. John Stamos, while not completely mishandled, is generic at best. To top it off, based on the ridiculous thigh gap they’ve given Tika Sumpter, she’s apparently built like a Barbie doll from the waist down. The creator of this poster needs to go back to square one and try using more realistic proportions on their subjects.
While we didn’t number the posters in order of failure this year, if we had, this Spanish poster for Chef (which was a rather enjoyable movie) would definitely be on the top (or bottom?) of our list. The tagline is terrible (“Not all the best recipes come from grandma”) and the characters all look like they were dressed with one of those free dress-up mobile game. We also find it odd that a Spanish poster would leave off the film’s major Spanish-speaking actor, John Leguizamo. This just proves that not all great movies have great posters.
As you can see, there were some truly terrible movie posters thrust upon the movie going audience this year and we barely scratched the surface. Fortunately, the bad posters aren’t in the majority and you can read about our picks for the Best Movie Posters of 2014 very soon.
Do you think any of these posters don’t deserve to be on our Worst list? Which ones and why?
Follow me on Twitter – @MoviePaul – and show me your vote for the worst movie poster of 2014.