Who doesn’t love a little Hollywood controversy? But only ones of the cat-toy variety (shiny but lightweight enough so you can bat them around for hours and no one gets hurt).
Today let’s address one of the more “benign” disputes at play in Tinseltown (much more fun than those genuinely troublesome controversies like the one surrounding The Help. Which I wouldn’t dare touch. Besides, I find some of the arguments ludicrous when held up against one simple and inalienable fact:The Help is an amazing movie. Period.)
That said, I now bring you a much fluffier Hollywood argument: Movie Posters. (See? I told you). Usually movie posters are the first image issued by a movie studio, long before trailers appear. They’re the initial impression of something that’s going to attract us, scare us, heartbreak us, inspire us, rev us up, or whatever it is that movies do best. So the poster is very important. (Did you know that they have very serious awards for movie posters?) Plus, with movies around for almost a century now you’d probably expect that the ideas behind the posters might get used more than once. In fact, there are countless examples of artwork for movies and the earlier art they borrowed used as inspiration. Happens all the time. There are great formulas for movie posters too; color and placement of things like hot girls, hot guys, and frequently firearms can often create the mystique long before the film opens. Opening and closing credit sequences get used over and over again too – Mad Men’s “Falling Man” opening sequence, while super cool, is absolutely and unabashedly reminiscent of another very popular design era.
Every year there’s creative controversy, and this year it concerns the poster for the upcoming film,Colombiana. The movie is a brand new revenge thriller starring Avatar’s Zoe Saldana. Evidently our heroine here is hellbent to wreak havoc upon the bad guys who have done something awful to her family, and by all reports she is one ultra badass lady in the film. I’m thinking it would have been silly to ignore her stunning looks. Turns out, they don’t. And they showcase her, in profile, resting her head on a gun. Now, depending upon how you choose to look at it, that’s kinda like – or exactly like – what Angelina Jolie does in her poster for her badass gun-toting lady in Wanted. Hence the dispute, and thus far each film’s studio (Universal and Sony) is keeping mum.
Clearly the two posters are totally similar. However, I’d be surprised if they could prove that there was specific intent to steal a theme — for several reasons. First, who wants to spend the money in court? Second, there are so many movies out there with such a finite number of graphic resources that retreads are inevitable. Every studio knows this and they are all borrowing from one another. Can you trademark the image of a lady in profile holding a gun? Doubtful. Third, would the connection that’s been pointed out be so strong if both women weren’t long haired, exotic-looking beauties? (Imagine Meg Ryan or Amy Poehler leaning against a firearm. Would someone cry foul then?) And finally – when you’re designing promotional images of beautiful women and you’re tired of them standing with their backs against their costars, where else do you put them? Especially if your creative poster mission is to showcase their beautiful face (as opposed to the whole body) and to make sure there’s a gun in there too.
For today, we’d like you to look at few iconic movie posters. Let us know which others are your favorites so we can put them in another poll.
2) The Social Network
3) Pretty Woman
4) Star Wars