10 Worst Movie Posters Ever Made

Shonky film ads to cover your eyes for...

10. Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)


Why it’s bad: Yes, yes – a controversial choice. But were it not for the fact that Audrey Hepburn was so planet-rattlingly beauteous that even a cartoon approximation of her looked weirdly classy, this would surely resemble the one-sheet for some grating British countryside farce.

Also, it’s very patchy, design-wise. Those little vignettes over on the right look like Microsoft clip-art that Roger McGinnis chucked in when he got bored half way through.

What could improve it: Toning down the Play School vibe of those coloured blocks around the border might help it to feel a bit less knocked-off.

And it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the film itself when the starlet’s name is the same size as the title...

9. Star Wars (1977)


Why it’s bad: It completely fails to capture the essence of the film, which is obviously hyper-futuristic and – let’s face it, at least until the gold bikini – not especially sexy.

Luke’s ludicrous Thundercats histrionics, not to mention his rippling six-pack, make this look more like the box art for a gratuitously nerdy RPG game.

C-3PO’s expression matches ours. ‘OMFG!’ indeed.

What could improve it: Screenshots. Star Wars is, even now, one of the richest and most ogle-tastic on-screen worlds ever devised. Back then, it was simply mind-blowing.

Even a tiny teaser would’ve been far more alluring than this sub-Games Workshop art fart.[page-break]


8. The Green Mile (1999)

Why it’s bad: Right, so this is a film about... uh... wait, is he a cop or what?

Ok, so it’s an authority figure who, like, looks at things in a slightly wonky way?

Hold on, let’s see if that tiny, myopia-inducing tagline helps us out at all. *squint* No. No, it doesn’t.

What could improve it: Well, Hanks’ spammy mug not having apparently been laminated might’ve reigned in the inherent queasiness a tad.

But something - anything - to give those of us who didn’t read the Stephen King novel a clue about the plot would’ve been nice.

I’m not paying money to watch a plastic park-keeper staring at something (possibly this very poster) in vague bewilderment.

7. Charlie’s Angels (2000)

Why it’s bad: The Angels look like bored extras from a Next catalogue, for one – and what’s the point in featuring them at all if we can’t at least see who they are without reading the names?

Also, whoever decided that orange could be offset nicely with a good slash of livid purple needs dragging back from the ‘70s and given a swift kick in the Jaffas with the Mahogany Clogs of Superior Taste.

What could improve it: It’s pretty much beyond salvation, this one – but they could at least have photocopied in a half-decent flame effect, rather than something that looks more like a macro shot of a particularly loud feather boa.[page-break]

6. Meet The Fockers (2004)

Why it’s bad: It fails to offer even one single reason why we might want to comply with the film title’s pushy demand.

Surely they’re not seriously suggesting that the only remarkable thing about this family – or indeed this film – is the fact that they’ve got a slightly rude name? Oh, wait... that IS it?

What could improve it: A slightly less aggressive application of the ‘positive use of negative space’ theory, for one.

It looks like the greenscreen broke at the start of the photoshoot, and they didn’t have the budget (or, more likely, the enthusiasm for the project) to
reschedule.

5. Don’t Look Now (1973)


Why it’s bad: The most violently unattractive colour scheme imaginable compounds the use of the least realistic-looking bloodstain, the most gormless-looking photo of the stars, and the most irritatingly mismatched fonts available at the time.

It’s like they’re actively trying to discourage you.

What could improve it: Not making it look like you’re about to see A Nightmare On The Antiques Roadshow would be a start.

Failing that, how about a tagline that makes some kind of proper English sense? What warning? Why are we passing it? Why do we care?

Come on, guys! We know it’s only three words, but there are still several legitimate combinations available.[page-break]

4. THX 1138 (1971)


Why it’s bad: ‘The Future is here’? Ok, a contradiction in terms, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that’s their wry point.

So, it’s here, is it? That’s quite exciting, actually... Let’s have a look at it...

Wait, what do you mean we are looking at it? Those grainy photocopied blobs? Meh, I think I’ll stay here, thanks. There’s probably something on telly later...

What could improve it: Choosing better glimpses of the future than what appears to be a sort of robotic gondolier and – Jesus wept! – A MAN DRIVING A WHITE CAR. Are you sure we’re ready for this brave new world, Mr Lucas..?

3. Brick (2005)

Why it’s bad: Ah, the old ‘collect them all’ campaign (see also: Trainspotting).

It’s a nice idea in theory, but not when every single one is as face-tearingly irritating and smug as these.

Ripping out the central figure only really works if the space that’s left tells you something about the character.

Those milky white splodges just look as though the artist got carried away and had some sort of literal design-gasm all over it.

What could improve it: Leaving what looks like it would’ve been a perfectly reasonable promo shot the hell alone.

Dropping the smarmy, nonsensical-until-you’ve-seen-the-film-anyway taglines.

Not crowning the name of the film with what appears to be a crudely drawn cock.[page-break]

2. Wanted (2008)


Why it’s bad: File this one under ‘Photoshop Disasters’.

There’s something distinctly Regan MacNeal about the grotesque and otherworldly angle of Jolie’s limb/head positioning.

Speaking of her limbs, the emaciated forearm makes that comically oversized shooter look like an oil-rig balanced on a toothpick.

What could improve it: One or two slight concessions to realism would edge them a bit nearer to the right track.

And getting rid of James McAvoy wouldn’t hurt – he’s not really bringing much to the party except a couple of relatively feeble guns.

Cowering in the shadow of Jolie’s apocalyptic hand-cannon, he might as well be comin’ atcha with a fly swat.

1. The Hottie And The Nottie (2008)

Why it’s bad: It makes two claims. Only one of them is correct.

What could improve it: Getting Paris Hilton’s KFC bargain-bucket ladybumps the hell out of our faces as a matter of urgency.

Use a black marker, or go the Brick route and physically rip her out – we really don’t care. Just do it.

Then shred the leftover remnants, soak them in wallpaper paste and fashion us a rudimentary dagger with which to jab frantically at our tremulous eye-jellies until they’re utterly incapable of alighting on such bleak horrors ever again.

Mark Powell

 

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Comments

    • scarter2000

      Apr 21st 2009, 22:17

      Disagree with Wanted. I really like it. And your comment about Ange. Erm... There is nothing wrong with her head/limb positioning. If it was her right arm in the pic, then yeh. But no. Epic fail. Also,the Star Wars poster is iconic and amazing. You could have chosen some s****y poster like Basic Instinct 2 or Big Mommas House 2.

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    • alowe

      Apr 22nd 2009, 8:42

      Wanted arm wrangle aside, it's still pap. And BI2/Big Momma's House 2 are easy 'cos they're rubbish films. Star Wars poster is ridiculous - it only feels iconic because it's familiar. Art though, innit? :)

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    • digger

      Apr 22nd 2009, 9:12

      Guys, can we just take a moment here to think about Bangkok Dangerous, where Nicolas Cage's hand grips nothing...surely that must be in the top 10 somewhere

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    • mattburgess

      Apr 22nd 2009, 11:06

      Nobody ever told me that The Hottie and the Nottie features Paris Hilton rooming with a zombie...

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    • ThrashGordon

      Apr 22nd 2009, 11:49

      hahaha awesome guys, loved the Green Mile comments. Also, too right at Star Wars; Mark Hamill with a six-pack?? :D The Wanted poster is rubbish, I agree with the limb deformity thing... looks like an arm is growing out of her neck! Scary stuff! lol I'm surprised there was no comment on the fact that the poster for 'the hottie & the nottie' ( :/ ) the 'hot' and not so hot girl are labelled for the audience's benefit!! We do have eyes you know. lmao

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    • MarkPowell

      Apr 22nd 2009, 12:08

      @digger - haha, yeah that glorious flub was definitely overlooked. Well reminded! @scarter2000 - you don't think it looks as though Jolie's collarbone and/or spinal column must be about four centimetres long? Hm. Maybe it's just me then...I am, admittedly, not a doctor. ;) (Either way, I still can't stand the poster. Biology aside, one word: GOOOOOOOOOOLD.)

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    • Padman

      Apr 22nd 2009, 12:35

      I'm only on the first page, but I feel I have to say that in my opinion the Breakfast at Tiffany's poster, while a boring movie poster, is always a nice, clean classy looking one on a magnolia living room wall, and as such is fairly classic. And the Star Wars one with it's ludicrous hyperbolic drawings of characters who don't ressemble their real-life counterparts is also a classic! It can't be put in such a list as it's in it's own way a piece of history, surely?! Though admittedly these ones are both better: http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Star%20Wars/Star%20Wars.files/StarWars%20poster.jpg http://images.art.com/images/products/regular/10204000/10204240.jpg And yes, reading the comments, that Bangkok Dangerous one with Nicholas Cage clutching nothing, whilst shooting his way out of a glass box sinking in fire definitely should have made it on... why would you (presumably) photoshop out the gun?! I don't understand!!

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    • Padman

      Apr 22nd 2009, 12:46

      @ ThrashGordon; I believe the labels on The Hottie & The Nottie poster are meant to be a play on Paris Hilton's real-life (or at least Simple Life) catchphrase of referring to anything she likes by saying "that's hot", but no, this doesn't make the whole affair any less detestable. LMAO @ the plastic park keeper in The Green Mile, that is indeed quite a shocking lack of information. The Meet The Fockers one to me, rather than the film name, seems to focus on shouting "look at our cast! Look at our cast! You recognise them all, don't you? It's because they're really famous! That makes our film good! Look at our cast!!"

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    • SCQ47

      Apr 22nd 2009, 15:09

      If this is your top ten, you've clearly not seen very many films or film posters in your life time.

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    • spudmonkeysteve

      Apr 24th 2009, 10:13

      At everyone who has complained about this top ten, especially SCQ47 who says that because they have chosen these because they haven't seen many films. These posters are chosen because they do not adequately put across the point of the movie, the Star Wars poster looks like Conan The Barbarian in space, for example and, while it is an iconic piece of cinema imagery, does not adequately advertise the film. The image itself is very arty etc but you don't get a sense for what the film is about from the image. Also because something looks good on a magnolia wall does not make it classy or iconic, bravo to Total Film for being brave enough to challenge the commonly held opinion.

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    • razzaman123

      May 6th 2009, 17:46

      argh man paris hilton sucks to the fullist i hate the hell out of her damn shes annoying

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    • razzaman123

      May 6th 2009, 17:46

      th family guy blue harvest poster is better than that star wars one

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    • featherdustball

      Jun 20th 2012, 14:34

      How Bangkok Dangerous escaped this list I'll never know

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