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Posted at 2:00 pm,
December 31, 2012

Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2012

Every year, fandoms and movie lovers the world over get hundreds of new movie posters (sometimes 10 or 12 from the same movie) and there are always a few that elicit an “Oooo!” of excitement, or an “Ugh!” of disgust. Some that we hate may be from movies we love, and occasionally we even love posters from movies we hate.

As we are HUGE movie junkies, it’s sometimes hard to pick and choose from the myriad of options out there, especially when you try and choose between genres. Do you go for the poster for the drama that’s beautifully crafted and intricate, or the option from the cheeky indie comedy that makes you smile? And where does that leave our fandom movies that we love on principle? How are you supposed to choose?!

While our favorites may not always match up with everyone elses’ opinions, it’s always fun to take a look back and try and select the best and worst from the year past, so we wanted to highlight a few of the hits and misses in the movie poster business from 2012. Let’s start with the best…

The Best

10. 21 Jump Street

There is just something about this poster that represents high school prom in all the best ways… balloons, banners, streamer curtains, plus there’s the added bonus of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in white tuxes. While it may not be screaming creativity or anything, this poster represents everything that the movie is, and it does so brilliantly.

9. Jeff Who Lives at Home

Anyone with siblings knows that this poster says so much, and with very little. You get the immediate impression that this movie isn’t flashy or over the top, but you will get a good look at a pair of brothers and how they function as a family. The wood paneling and dated photos transport you back to your childhood home and get you in the perfect mindset for this movie.

8. Wanderlust

There’s just something refreshing about a poster that doesn’t even need the faces of the leads to be compelling that makes us smile. How can you not feel the freedom bursting out of this poster? It makes us want to kick off our shoes & join in, and whether or not you liked the movie itself, this poster just puts us in a good mood.

7. Moonrise Kingdom

The old school feel of this poster is what makes it so remarkable. Upon seeing it, we were not only drawn back into the world of the movie, but it made us nostalgic for old class photos from school, and giant group shots from summer camp. I can almost smell the pine woodchips and the smoldering campfires now…

6. Brave

While there is still a dramatically mixed reaction to this movie, it is hard to deny the beauty drawn into the vista in this poster. The green of the hills and the red of Merida’s hair bring an undeniably Scottish air to the visuals and surely do their job in enticing you into the breathtaking world of Brave.

5. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Such a simple poster, but it’s dramatic and effective nonetheless. The colors and unfocused realness of the design entice us to dive into this little girl’s world and find out what exactly Beasts of the Southern Wild is all about.

4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

While this may seem a little controversial, we find this poster simply fabulous. The idea of Abraham Lincoln hunting vampires is campy and ridiculous, but this poster manages to make the whole idea seem credible, while also creating a beautiful nighttime backdrop that sets the scene perfectly. We weren’t sure there was a way to make such a stunning poster for such a crazy movie, but the people behind Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter definitely knew what they were doing.

3. Killing Them Softly

In many ways, simple is best. This poster represents that idea in the all the best ways. It highlights the idea of the movie without going over the top or committing the cardinal sin of bad movie posters, slapping the lead in the center of the poster to eliminate all need for creativity. This film is all about guns for hire and how they handle death, and nothing illustrates that better than a bloody thumbprint and a business card.

2. The Master

The Master lead award show discussion for quite a bit of the fall film season, but has been overshadowed in the wake of nominations for the Critics Choice and Golden Globes. When it comes to movie posters though, this is the perfect way to highlight the general feel of the movie without going over the top. It subtly gives you ideas of the dated setting of the film, and the use of the water line gives a subtle hint to where this film will take place without beating you over the head with it. The beautiful simplicity seriously gives this poster an edge over its competition.

1. Les Miserables

There was a great potential for disaster with this poster, but Tom Hooper and company nailed it. Based upon the iconic image of little Cosette that has graced numerous playbills and programs the world over, the movie poster manages to pay homage to that of the stage show, while also painting a realistic idea of what this film is going to be. Les Miserables is a classic musical that is bound to succeed, and with posters like this, there is no doubt as to why.


10. Flight

While the movie has had mixed reviews, this poster makes our worst list at number 10 due to 2 distinct things. One, the simplicity of this poster would make a real impact if it wasn’t so confusing. If this movie is ultimately about a plane crash and the life of the pilot, why does this poster not, at least, show a plane in freefall, or at least slanted toward the ground. Two, a person could gather from the title alone that this movie includes airplanes, so what more do we learn from this poster? The answer is nothing. Basically, we just expected more.

9. Cloud Atlas

This poster represents everything that is wrong with large ensemble cast film posters these days. While we understand the desire to put all those gorgeous faces on one poster, it ends up just feeling muddled and overdone. Not to mention that the resulting collage of heads ends up looking like some creepy monster. Plus, for a movie as complex as Cloud Atlas, surely there is a better way to represent the film that with a typical comic book style fashion…

8. Dark Shadows

While this poster isn’t a total disaster, it makes our list because it raises more questions than answers, which may be good for a movie, but it spells disaster for a poster. First of all, why is everyone’s skin tone the exact same as Johnny Depp, who is supposed to be playing a vampire? It almost seems as if they all decided to splash flour all over their faces, and, frankly, looks a bit ridiculous. Also, this has to be one of the lamest taglines of the year. “Every family has its demons.” Really? Yeah, we aren’t even gonna go there.

7. Celeste and Jesse Forever

This poster for Celeste and Jesse Forever makes the list basically due to boredom. It doesn’t inspire much desire to see the movie and it doesn’t give much of an idea as to what this story is all about. Also, its not exactly a great picture of the two leads, and they are not ugly folk. Frankly, we just expected more. When you have such amazing talents to showcase in Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, surely the poster could pack more punch.

6. Hope Springs

We all know that Meryl Streep is amazing and there is no doubt that we all adore her, so nothing against the lady, but this poster is quite… weird. First, if you stare at her hand that is touching her face long enough, it starts to seem like maybe her hand shouldn’t bend that way, which just weirded us out. Also, there had to be a better way to sell a movie about an older couple spicing things up in their marriage than with Meryl Streep in a bookstore.

5. The Apparition

No offense to Ashley Greene, but in this poster, she looks more pissed off than scared, which throws the whole idea of this scary movie into jeopardy. Plus, are those human hands? Or ghostly hands? And why is she naked? The weirdness of all of those questions equals the sum total of why this poster made our worst list. Now we have to just stop looking at it…

4. Playing for Keeps

Why does photoshopping actors and actresses onto colored blocks make producers think people are going to pay to see the movie? If we had never seen a trailer for this movie, we would have no idea that Gerard Butler is playing a retired soccer stud who coaches a little league team. While you can probably guess that this is some sort of romantic comedy, this poster does nothing to sell the film, and if the powers behind the movie can’t sell it, maybe it’s just not worth seeing.

3. Joyful Noise

One look at this poster and an unsettling question arises… What kind of auditorium has a balcony like that and sits the audience on both sides of the stage? It just made us wonder where exactly the stage is in that place. We get that sometimes you’re supposed to suspend belief in a movie, but a poster that seems to defy logic usually just leaves us scratching our heads, rather than running to the box office to buy a ticket.

2. Chasing Mavericks

What exactly are Gerard Butler and the other guy (what’s his name again?) supposed to be doing in this poster? They don’t seem to be looking at each other, and the placement of their floating heads just seems awkward. Well, at least we’ve been given a wave in the picture so we know that this movie is about surfing. With a title like Chasing Mavericks, it could be about anything, so at least we get a hint. Overall, this poster just fails in one too many ways…

1. Katy Perry: Part of Me

Lastly, our worst movie poster of the year goes to Katy Perry: Part of Me, and it has nothing to do with her, or her purple hair. Mostly, how is a poster in which she is sitting in popcorn supposed to inspire us to go to the theatre? It sort of just grossed us out, thinking about people sitting in our popcorn. Plus, there’s that really awkward look on her face. Poor Katy.

Well, there we are! Our 10 best and worst movie posters from this year. We hope you may have discovered 1 or 2 new ones, or maybe you have a favorite that we didn’t mention (or one that you just HATED). Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you thought about this year’s stock of movie posters.

View the latest articles from: Features
  • Jen

    what about The Hobbit one-sheet of Bilbo sitting in a tree? That was disastrous, although I’d argue that the couple of posters they did well for that movie, they really did well- it’s just the photoshopping was in that case disastrous.

    • Jen

      Sorry I’ve said disastrous twice. That’s how much I hated it.

  • Jason

    I actually really loved the “Flight” one. And “21 Jump Street” was a great movie, but seriously? “The only thing getting blown tonight is their cover”? Trying too hard.

  • 7Starrchasers

    I loved the one of Bilbo leave the Hobbit hole!… and the poster for Prometheus! not a bad list though..

    • 7Starrchasers


  • belac889

    The Doctor Who posters should have been put on the best list

    • http://twitter.com/MaireadNguyen Mairead Nguyen

      This is a list of MOVIE posters…

  • Stormageddon :D

    I’m really surprised that Breaking Dawn Part II poster with the weird, awkward, fake running didn’t make the worst list.

    • Tomas

      That poster was actually really beatiful. Should have been with the best posters

      • SpiritWitch120

        It really truly wasn’t. It looked comical and incredibly awkward, practically nauseating even.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Krys831 Krystol Grayson

      I completely agree! I’m a fan of the movies, but each of the faces looked photoshopped and awkward. It was one of the ugliest posters I’ve ever seen.

  • SnatcherGirl

    I really wanted to see the Skyfall poster, and it’s usefulness for placing next to other despicable movies.

  • http://twitter.com/Andrewm4930 Andrew Martin

    In my opinion, all of The Hunger Games posters should have made this list. Especially the character poster series. And the one with Katniss with her back to you, facing the capitol. Those were definitely my posters of the year.

    • jozefd14

      I was expecting the Hunger Games too..

  • hpboy13

    I didn’t mind the Dark Shadows one – it looked like a crazy ensemble supernatural comedy, which is what it was. Then again, I don’t get the hate for the movie itself either.

    The Hunger Games poster should be on the best list – it was stupendous.

  • potterhead667

    your missing so many! What about Savages, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, Django Unchained.

  • Gary65

    Frankly, the only people going to see KPPoM are die-hard fans who don’t need convincing. Everyone else is staying at home, even if the poster said “COME TO THE PREMIERE & KATY WILL SHOW UP IN PERSON & GIVE YOU FREE GOLD”. I’d hazard a guess & say she made a deal with Kernel Poppy to do an endorsement & couldn’t be bothered putting any though or effort into it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=607519910 Catherine Lai

    What’s wrong with ensemble cast posters? I like them. They remind me of the Lord of the Rings posters.

  • http://twitter.com/dreamfall31 Kevin Slechta

    Dark Knight Rises shoulda been on the worst list! I’m a fan of the film, and even I’m embarassed by that photoshop disaster!

  • kmorris76

    Django Unchained had some pretty great posters imo.

  • CliveRogan

    I disagree wholeheartedly about Cloud Atlas’s poster. It brings back memories of the old Star Wars, James Bond and Lord of the Rings posters. Personally, The trend for posters just using a headshot, quite possibly in shadow and looking to one side bores me to tears.

    They’re selling us a film, not a perfume so should give us something to look at, something that will still give you something to think about after a few seconds other than the acknowledgement that it is in fact a movie poster.

    Also, i guess it’s just part of the film. You couldn’t advertise Cloud Atlas in any other way. You need to feature every plot and genre on there otherwise it’d potentially be misleading.

  • Jessica

    I agree with most of this… but I super disagree about Celeste and Jesse Forever being on the “worst” list. I like the minimalistic style and cascading repeat of the title, and yes, even how the photo of them isn’t the greatest. It makes them look like normal people. I think it actually belongs on somewhere on the low to middle end of the “best” list, honestly.

  • morgen71

    Looper had an awesome poster! It’s much better than 21 jump street’s in my opinion. But otherwise I agree completley with this list.

  • http://twitter.com/Dillon_Mays Dillon Mays

    If anything, 21 Jump Street should be on the worst list.