The advertisement is critical to a movie’s success. The use of movie teasers has increased over the years, with some specifically created for Instagram. They are used to promote an upcoming trailer. Yes, a movie teaser is used to promote a movie trailer. In turn, a movie trailer is used to promote the movie. It doesn’t stop there. You may see three versions of a movie trailer, including international versions before the actual movie is released. By the time a movie reaches theaters, movie studios hope you’re teetering on the brink of madness to see it! In most cases, this formula works, but only if it’s supported by behind-the-scenes footage and stills of engaged cast and crew, comic convention appearances, and promotional materials. Obviously, the studios use other marketing methods, but I’m listing the key three ingredients for a potential box office hit. I’ve noticed the one thing that is often overlooked is the importance of the movie poster. It’s not just promotional material. It is the most important feature of a movie. It’s the main design element that captures a persons’ interest. The challenge is to design a poster that has the right balance, which conveys the movie’s theme. Too many elements in the design will the poster will force a viewer to overthink. People will find it difficult to interpret and gloss over it. A lack of key elements in the poster, and you risk a loss of interest because it didn’t convey the message. Never make the viewer think or overthink. This maddening for any graphic designer, creating a movie poster.
Take Star Wars: The Force Awaken. You see lightsabers, battle ships, stormtroopers, and more. Just about every main element of the movie is in that poster. I could see where a few people will argue that it’s too busy. Knowing that Disney had over a billion dollars riding on its success, they took the chance to go big. They wanted to convey that you will definitely see action, adventure, and fan-favorites in the movie. It paid off. As of 2016, it is the fastest film to gross $1 billion in 12 days, including having the largest worldwide opening weekend and single weekend gross. That poster design worked! Of course, the trailers, actors, fans, and countless other media outlets factor in, but don’t ever forget the importance of a well-designed movie poster. Before you boo and hiss at me, let me expound. Billions of people walk the Earth each day. According to the World Population Clock by United States Census Bureau, there are over 7.4 billion people on this planet. It’s can a cool and creepy to watch the clock counter tick up on births and deaths by the nanosecond. Reminds me of the scene in Zootopia, where the bunny farm’s population signage kept growing. The subliminal message here: rabbits quickly multiply. To see a movie trailer, you have to actively seek it out. Of course, you will see some ads running on social media sites or your favorite entertainment websites, but, for the most part, you must actively search for them. There are those who avoid watching anything pertaining to a movie, to keep it a mystery until they watch it. A movie can be seen anywhere and be visible in any format. You can enter a mall and see it hanging or posted, not aware that a trailer was just launched. Again, you have to actively look for a movie trailer, such as being subscribed to the movie studio’s social sites and receive notifications of new posts. Still, this doesn’t mean you will see the trailer before the poster. The purpose of the movie poster is to get people interested, online, and searching for the movie trailer, to learn more about the movie. So, the poster design plays a vital role. Some posters are used as a preview to an actual movie poster. By the way, the HOSTEL movie poster was created for this article. The movie doesn’t exist.
Imagery aside, the textual information on movie posters must be clear and provide the best method to view the movie trailer. Think about it. You see movie posters at comic conventions. They reign larger than life for thousands to view from every angle imaginable. You will see the poster before you see a special preview of a movie trailer unveiled at a comic convention panel. The cast and crew often retweet movie posters before the trailer is available, or even in reference to it. Take The Book of Henry. Several cast members tweeted its poster. In turn, this hyped the energy of their fan base. At the time, the official wasn’t released. The promotional material is available before the trailer. Although, there were fake trailers of The Book of Henry making the rounds on YouTube, don’t be fooled. Always visit the movie studio’s official sites, to confirm a movie trailer has been released. There are those who enjoy creating fake movie trailers to build their YouTube views. No amount of flooding their comment section will undo what has been done. You watched it. You can’t unsee it. I have witnessed some fake trailers that actually appear as an official one, even better edited. That’s just sad, but it happens. There are many talented people out there.
What if the movie poster sucked? Oh, I have witnessed this, as well. Can it harm a movie? It can’t harm it because all press heightens curiosity. For example, I enjoy perusing the comment section of entertainment blogs. People always have something to say about an upcoming movie. The comments provide a lot of insight into a movie’s potential. If the poster is poorly designed, people will scream about it. If a movie teaser or trailer is horribly edited, people will scream about it. At the end, people will gripe, but pay to see the movie anyway. Maybe they go just to validate their gripe. Who knows? Still, bad press will motivate people to “see for themselves.” Whether poorly designed or edited, movie studios know we need these visuals to keep us entertained and talking. Never forget that the number one form of marketing is word-of-mouth (WOM) – it costs absolutely nothing. If a buzz goes viral, it’s even better. As of December 27, 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story grossed $340,634,691.
The Book of Henry released June 2017.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Stream, DVD, and BluRay.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on DVD and BluRay.
HOSTEL movie poster was created by Unscripted for Real Movie Chick™.
Just a nerd girl living a geek lifestyle of writing, filmmaking, photographing, and designing. Managing Editor of Your Film Review™. Believer in God/Jesus. 안녕 I'm also a Director under @DVDNetflix, where I write reviews, talk film, and more. Follow me on Twitter.