A major part of building anticipation for films is the extensive promotion campaigns that studios undertake. The most tangible part of these promotions are movie posters; these excellent works of art can be taken home and hung on your wall, unlike trailers or TV spots, giving them a special place in moviegoers’ hearts.
Thousands of posters are released every year, ranging from atrocious things that scorch the eyes to works of art that are worthy of hanging in museums. Now that the year is complete, it’s time to ask, which of 2013′s posters were the best?
In order to answer that question, I’ve sorted through the magnitude of posters released this past year and whittled my list down to the 10 best.
A few things to keep in mind before diving in: This list is exclusively for posters that were released in 2013, therefore, some one-sheets for movies that hit theaters in early 2013 aren’t eligible, despite being for a 2013 film. Also, this list is exclusively based on the quality of the poster, not of the film.
So, without further ado, here are the top 10 movie posters of 2013.Next
10. Only God Forgives
Reviews were very mixed on Only God Forgives, and understandably so. On the one hand, the visuals are incredibly beautiful, with meticulous lighting highlighting the neon colors in such a way that made it one of the most visually stunning things I saw in a theatre all year. On the other hand, the story was all over the place, with characters lacking motivation and plenty of holes in the plot. Fortunately, the promotion for the film was able to capitalize on the visuals and ignore the story.
The above poster is one of the best examples of that. The Taiwanese setting and neon lighting of the film are both translated to the background and text on this one, with a simple image of Ryan Gosling set in the middle. While a bust view of the lead can make for a pretty boring poster sometimes, when that lead is a stoic Gosling, there’s a little more wiggle room than usual. Blending him with the background color mirrors the effect of much of the lighting in the film. It makes for a striking poster, one of the most attention-grabbing of the year.Previous Next
9. The Sacrament
2013 was an exciting year for the horror community. Not only were there a ton of quality horror films coming from outside major studios, but Hollywood churned out a few good ones as well, which is definitely not the case every year. What is the case every year, however, is an abundance of creative posters for flicks involving monsters, demons, and psychos. Because of that, you’ll notice a disproportionate amount of horror sheets represented on this list, but they are well worth the high rankings, including this spot for the poster for Ti West’s The Sacrament.
The retro look isn’t anything new for horror posters, but this one works especially well due to the color combination. Everything is muted, but the golden color still stands out due to the basic background it’s set against. First, attention is drawn to the eyes, and it’s a nice touch to have the sunglasses show something in the reflection without being too blatant. It tones things down and requires a second look to really see what’s there.
The poster also has text at the top, which actually gives an indication of what the film is about. It can be hard to sort through which horror movies may be worth your time, and without that brief description, this poster would be intriguing but really not all that revealing. That blurb gives enough to show viewers that the movie has a pretty intriguing set-up, which is the purpose of a poster in the first place.Previous Next
8. X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Quite a few highly-anticipated comic book movies will hit theatres in 2014, but there may not be any as interesting as X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The film will combine the cast of the original X-Men films with the cast of First Class for a time-traveling epic. And part of the reason why this merging of characters and times is necessary is because of Sentinels.
The Sentinels are clearly front and center on the first teaser poster for the film, and that’s basically what makes it good enough for this list. The never-ending rows show the scope and magnitude of the threat, but I’m pretty sure even just one of those would be enough to cause even the most ferocious mutant to hesitate.
This poster is another one in the recently-popular propaganda style. More artists than ever are adopting this retro style for sheets, and there have been mixed results. Thankfully, this one stays simple and clean, and it makes for a pretty great piece of art to look at.Previous Next
7. Here Comes The Devil
Another quality, retro horror poster from this year is this one-sheet for Here Comes The Devil. While this one doesn’t really give all that much information about the film, or at least nothing that can’t be determined from the title, it’s still a pretty eye-catching piece of horror art.
The first thing that strikes me about this poster is the use of color. For the most part, it’s only a bit of black and white, and then it’s red all over. The shades of red are obviously meant to be reminiscent of blood, but they are also used for the fires of hell that come at the bottom of the screen. There’s also the way that the hell-fire is made up of hands reaching toward the sky. It’s subtle enough that it doesn’t feel forced, but the hands and demons below are still striking enough to warrant a second look.
The text is put in the middle, but instead of being boring like that technique usually is, there’s enough happening on either side of the writing, and the font is interesting enough that the placement really works. The text splits the poster into three equal rows, and each row has something that’s worth your attention. It isn’t the most innovative poster, but it’s done in such a way that makes it one of the best of the year.Previous Next
6. Escape From Tomorrow
And the award for boldest poster of the year goes to…
This sheet for Randy Moore’s Escape From Tomorrow is demented, twisted, and screams lawsuit on every level. And that is why it works so well. First of all, none of us want to see our favorite mouse’s hand dripping with blood. That’s like showing an Abraham Lincoln sex tape, Jesus as a white supremacist, or Santa as a sadistic slave owner. No one wants to see it, but boy is it going to nab the attention of your audience when you show it to them.
I saw this poster before I knew anything about this movie, and it instantly had me hooked. It’s simple, allowing focus to remain on just how bold the image is. They could have gone with a much more expansive scene and shown a lot more terror, but the simplicity is to the point. That’s where the strength is. The background is plain but pleasant, which further expands on the poster’s sense of contrast. This is a quality piece of film art, and while it’s not the sort I want hanging around my house, it should be commended for its boldness and style.Previous Next
5. Spring Breakers
Most of the promotion for Spring Breakers was focused on the fact that it starred a bunch of attractive girls on spring break. Kind of a no-brainer there, as nothing is going to sell this sort of movie better than skin. Of course, Spring Breakers is a much deeper and much darker film than that and this poster steps back to show those layers.
First off, the colors on this one are beautiful. It’s a perfectly peaceful ocean scene, and the purple of the text and the hats works well with the color of the sunset-lit ocean. Then there’s the fact that James Franco’s Alien is sitting in the middle of the water at a piano. The white piano and girls holding guns makes for one of the most instantly attention-grabbing images that could have been pulled for a poster.
Perhaps most important, though, is that unlike the rest of the posters for the film, this one doesn’t really get any attention from the girls in the cast. They’re in the poster, but there really isn’t much skin showing, and they’re actually wearing pants (granted the pants say “DTF,” but that’s neither here nor there).Previous Next
4. You’re Next
While there’s no one poster from You’re Next that I’d be willing to call the best of the year, that film may win campaign of the year. Almost every poster is an impressive piece, with drastically different styles spanning the various sheets. Still, as impressive as they all are, the one poster that stands out far above the rest is the map poster.
In any home invasion movie, the house is almost a character in itself. For this poster, it’s clear that the house is much more important than any of the characters. At times the film attempts to deconstruct the genre, and this poster deconstructs the traditional horror poster format, stepping away from the gore and the scares to lay things out in a logical way.
Obviously, it’s far more intricate than any poster you would usually see. This isn’t the sort of poster you could glance at while driving and have enough of. This is the sort of poster that would cause a 10-car pile-up due to you trying to sort out all the details of it. (I really hope this wasn’t on a billboard anywhere.) You could even get this laminated and turned into a board for some sadistic new version of Clue. Regardless of where this poster will be found, it’s far better than your typical piece of film art.Previous Next
The first poster for 2014′s Robocop remake was about as conservative as they come, simply showing off the new suit against a white background. For a gritty sci-fi flick like this, there’s so much potential in the promotion and it should be far from conservative. Thankfully, the second poster put out for the film provided exactly what I was looking for.
As with many of the quality posters this year, the style isn’t necessarily revolutionary. We’ve seen sci-fi films with distressed propaganda posters before, but there’s a reason that studios keep coming back to this look, and it’s done especially well here. First of all, they’re working with a human who’s become a robot, so that’s going to be awesome under almost all circumstances. The suit looks intimidating on its own, but taking that bold quote and slapping it in front of him makes it all the better.
Just at first glance, it really is an incredible piece of film art, but it gets even more impressive when you look at the details. Everything from the slight reflection on the visor to the sloppy edges of the blue paint come together to make for a remarkable poster. It doesn’t have the typical studio text bogging it down either, which makes it easier to look at.
This is definitely one of the best posters that we’ve seen this year.Previous Next
When images of this Comic-Con poster for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla started popping up on the internet, I almost hopped in my car and headed for San Diego. It blew me away and I instantly knew this one was going to be on my list when the end of the year rolled around.
There are always a few really good posters that come out of Comic Con, as those sheets usually allow for a lot more creativity than a standard piece of theatrical promotion, but this year there was none better than the poster which you see above.
For a movie about a giant monster, it would make sense to show the giant monster. After all, there’s this beast coming out of the sea and wreaking havoc on the helpless human population. That’s what most posters for similar movies have done, and we’ve seen some great pieces that follow that format. Still, it’s been done before because it’s easy. So for this poster, instead of just showing the monster, they created a new version of the monster, a version which is made of the destruction it has caused.
And really, that’s why this poster is so brilliant. When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter what the monster looks like. The humans who had their homes destroyed by this beast don’t care if he was green or blue, had thirty tentacles or breathed fire. What they care about is the buildings and homes that have been ruined. This poster takes that concept and beautifully sets it against a blood-red background. Just brilliant.Previous Next
1. The Place Beyond The Pines
The Place Beyond The Pines is one of the most beautiful and impressive films from 2013, and epic hardly begins to describe the scope of the generation-spanning story. Part of what makes it so memorable is the gritty tone. There aren’t many good guys or bad guys. Everyone falls somewhere in the grey area. So for the film’s posters most of the color was washed out, the images were distressed, and there’s a focus on the powerful characters that the story centered on. All the headshot posters are great, but it’s this image of Ryan Gosling staring at the fateful bank that tops the bunch.
The photo is just completely beautiful. It’s a perfectly framed image of the scene, leaving ample room for text above without seeming forced. And that’s because the clouds behind the text are beautiful in their own right. It’s rare that I’ll be excited to look at the clouds in a picture, but here they’re just wonderful, working perfectly with the tone of the movie and the the rest of the poster.
For me, the most memorable part of the movie was the initial bank robbery and the period of time just before it. While the entire film is taut, that’s the most intense portion. So obviously a poster depicting that is going to have my attention. It doesn’t have any of the other memorable characters on it, but it’s a beautifully composed and shot piece of art, and that makes it the best movie poster of 2013.Previous