7 Types Of Movie Posters In Popular Culture And Filmmaking -
Movie posters are one of the best ways for a studio to market its films. You can probably think of several posters that got you excited to watch a movie. Apart from the trailer, movie posters serve as the best way for a film studio to advertise its films. A great movie poster builds anticipation and can also become a part of the film’s memorabilia.
Movie posters in filmmaking can sometimes be more iconic than the film itself. Many studios design their posters in a way that attracts audiences that wouldn’t have been interested in a film’s premise. Nowadays, blockbusters use their movie posters to attract audiences and market their films.
You can also see a large impact of movie posters in pop culture. You can find movie posters everywhere, from billboards to college dormitories. Due to the sheer number of films released each year, you might have noticed similarities between several movie posters.
In this guide, you will learn about the different types of posters and how their layout helps market a specific film genre.
Characteristics Of A Movie Poster
Before we get into the types of movie posters, let’s take a look at some common characteristics found in almost every poster.
Most people who collect movie posters are often attracted to their style or art concept. While many studios try to draw the poster collector crowd, often studios only create posters for one simple reason - to promote their films.
At the most basic level, all movie posters usually contain the title, the actors, the director and the release date. Some posters might include a review quote or a tagline to attract their audience further.
Apart from this information, the overall brand identity and poster aesthetic also play a major role in the marketability of a movie.
Studios use eye-catching colors, large/fancy typography and beautiful graphics to present a cinematic experience in a static form. Some posters feature large glossy images of big movie stars to attract fanbases.
7 types of movie posters in filmmaking
Now let’s look at the different types of posters used by film studios.
1. Teaser Posters
A teaser poster serves as an early promotional movie poster for a film. These types of posters often contain a basic design or image relating to the plot of the film. Teaser posters are designed in this minimalistic manner to avoid revealing too much information about the story, theme or characters. A tagline may or may not be included in the poster. The reason for such a minimal design is to raise awareness and generate hype for an upcoming movie.
Many blockbuster franchises use this method to build early anticipation and drive up ticket sales. Some studios use teaser posters for a planned film instalment way ahead of its production schedule. There have been times when film posters were made for cancelled films. These types of posters are often considered rare and are highly valuable.
Some features of teaser posters include:
- Showing only a symbol associated with the film or a title
- Using the phrase “Coming Soon” on an international version of the poster
- No or limited film credits
- The main character is looking away or looking at something in the distance.
This type of poster is often used for bigger budget films or franchises. Smaller budget films usually just stick to one poster.
2. Main Or Final Poster
A main or final poster is the last poster designed by a film. This type of movie poster often follows a teaser poster and includes more information than that poster. Main posters include information such as film stars' names, movie taglines, production crew information and distribution information. Some studios release more than one style of main posters; however, this depends on the film’s budget and marketability.
3. Character Posters
When a movie features an all-star or ensemble cast, movie studios may decide to do character posters. These posters will often feature a movie star or the individual character they are playing on the poster. The poster also displays the actor's name or the character they are playing. This is often written as “(movie star) is (character name).” Sometimes character posters also feature a quote or tagline specific to the character displayed.
For example, let’s look at the poster for Knives Out(2019). Knives Out is a murder mystery film featuring an ensemble cast. To market this all-star cast, the studio put out a character poster similar to the popular game “Clue.”
The poster for Chris Evans includes a picture of him as his character and features the line “Chris Evans is The Trust Fund Playboy.” This poster shows us what his character looks like and his role in the film.
Many studios are using character posters to appeal to an actor’s fanbase. This is especially true for large franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the Knives Out example, Chris Evans’ character is a great way to market the film due to his large fanbase and general popularity.
4. Color Driven Action/Thriller Posters
Colors play a big part in movie poster designs. Using the right color scheme can create a poster that is eye-catching and also fits the mood of the movie.
Many actions and thriller films use three main colours for their posters - blue, orange, and red. These three colors are found in several posters of this genre, and studios prefer this palette because it fits the movie's theme.
On a scientific level, the colour blue lies opposite the colour orange. According to colour theory, blue and orange are complementary colours. Complementary colors are pleasing to the human eye and help an image “pop.” This theory could be why movie studios enjoy applying this colour palette to movie posters.
Many movie studios use the colours blue and orange to fit the gritty themes of their film. These colours can be used to signify something dark and moody. This fits perfectly with the genre of films this colour palette is popularly used for.
Red is also often used for action/thriller films. In contrast to blue and orange, red invokes a sense of urgency and is often used for high-energy and action-packed films. Red is sharp and vibrant, and it immediately catches people’s attention.
Posters that use these colours feature a font that is haphazard, textured or condensed to reinforce the feeling of a gritty, action-packed film.
5. Couple Leaning Against Each Other Poster
If you are a fan of romantic comedies, chances are you have seen a poster like this. The couple leaning against each other poster is often a cliche trope used for many romantic comedies or sometimes just comedy films.
Movie studios often use this type of poster to introduce the main characters of the film's main couple. If two big movie stars are playing the couple, studios use this leaning pose to attract audiences.
The pose reinforces the feeling of a light-hearted and fun film. Studios often use this poster to hint at the plot of the movie. In rom-coms that use this poster, the couple starts off disliking each other and then eventually falls in love. This is why they are shown facing away from each other in the poster.
6. Large Text On Faces Poster
These posters often feature a character's face and a large text placed on top or under their face. The text is either the title of the film or the tagline. These types of posters are emotionally-charged and are always used to convey the mood of a movie.
Characters featured on the poster often show a sad, angry and painful look, and these are the types of films these posters are used for. Showing the character’s emotion is a great way for the audience to sympathise and relate to the character.
By using this type of poster, studios want to market the emotional tone of a film. Staring directly at another person’s face is very moving, and it is more likely to make someone watch the film.
7. Award/Review Posters
Award or Review posters usually contain information about a film's awards or nominations. The awards mentioned are the Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA.
It is common practice for movie studios to re-release or re-issue a film that has completed its initial showing and has now been nominated or won an award. In this scenario, movie studios issue a new set of advertising materials that contain references to the awards. If the movie is still showing in cinemas, studios will take the original posters off the market and release new posters with the awards information. Awards information is often indicated as:
- Academy Award Winner (followed by the actor’s name)
- Nominated for X Academy Awards
- Golden Globe’s Best Picture Winner
Movie posters might have different awards information based on the country of the awarding body. For example, movie posters in the US will feature information about the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes, while movie posters in the UK will feature BAFTA information.
A movie poster is one of the most important parts of a film’s marketing campaign. Movie posters are the first step to getting an audience. Some posters remain iconic years after a film is released, and these posters are often considered collectables.
Due to the large volume of films released every year, certain themes are repeated in movie posters.
Next time you go to the cinemas, take a look at the movie posters and see if you can recall a poster that used a similar theme.
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