Thursday, May 10, 2007

Character Posters: A Satisfying Trend

I don't recall exactly when the multiple character poster trend began. I want to say with The Lord of the Rings trilogy but it was probably much earlier. Now it's de rigeur for would be blockbusters: a variety of teaser posters must introduce the principal cast. Here's one from Hairspray for "Velma Von Tussle" (you can see the others here) . You know I chose this one because it reintroduces my personal goddess. Appropriately enough this posters tagline is "tease it up. " Pfeiffer is a tease too, you know, what with all the semi retirement and cancelled projects. This role was originated by Debbie Harry in the 1988 John Waters comedy (those who haven't seen it, do so might quick. You won't be disappointed) Hairspray has since been adapted into a Broadway musical and now makes the trek back to film. Wish it better luck than The Producers had with the same doubled adaptation process. Anyway... if anyone can own a role already superbly realized by another icon, it's La Pfeiffer. For all her skittishness about actually working, she's a fearless actor once the camera is on.

The Simpsons Movie is also coming out this summer and we keep hearing outrageous things. As if to say 'I told you so' here's Bart ---> (you can see the rest here). I did a double take when I saw it, it's so out there. That never happens looking at movie posters. Hilarious.

Most advertising trends get annoying through repetition but I love this particular fad. I only wish we could travel back in time and get posters for other movies that totally deserved the "introducing..." approach. The ones that came instantly to mind for me were Boogie Nights , The Breakfast Club and Clue --maybe one of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries. They would have totally lent themselves to this marketing routine.

Amber Waves "the foxiest bitch in the world"
Rollergirl "she never takes her skates off!"

Think of the posters to frame or otherwise cherish. Your favorite movie character all by his or herself on your wall.


Anonymous said...

I really don't like those character posters for Hairspray, whats with the text over the faces and the way they put



the film has actually been getting great early reviews though and I personally don't see how they wouldn't be able to make something better than that horrid Broadway production, with it's horrible singing, bad choreography, etc. I don't care how many Tony's it was up for or won, I hated it!

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember Armageddon (of all movies) doing similar posters of one per character.


(of all movies) is right. shouldn't the characters have some, well, character to warrant that ;)

Jason Adams said...

I am so endlessly disturbed by these threats of Little Bart making an appearance. Just NO.

It seems like Tarantino's movies could lend themselves nicely to this multi-poster thing. I love the thought of a poster for Bridget Fonda in Jackie Brown.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jackie Brown actually do that? I recall having seen individual posters for some of the characters, including Bridget Fonda (except they didn't have catchy taglines).

DrG said...

I used to have Mrs Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega posters... but I have a feeling they were significantly post-release issue...?


Yeah Jackie Brown did do that.

what other older films? (it's so weird to call Jackie Brown an older film...)

Jason Adams said...

Ah!!! Really? Off to IMDb I go...

I'm back! And it's true!. Wish I'd known before I opened my yap. Perhaps I did know, and my yap was speaking for something buried within my subconscious. Yeah, that's the theory I'm sticking with.

Anonymous said...

Mulholland Dr. sort of did that with separate posters for its two leading ladies. Still, it'd have been nice to have a few more, with episodic, yet memorable, characters - I'm thinking Aunt Ruth, Cowboy and Justin Theroux's character, specifically.

Cronenberg's Spider should have run a campaign with three posters depicting three different Miranda Richardsons, since she single-handedly saved the movie from being rather pointless, I felt.

What else? Mars Attacks!, of course, bare minimum being: Nicholson, Nicholson, Close, Brosnan, Steiger and two or three Martians.

And traveling way back in time, imagine 12 posters for my beloved 12 Angry Men. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

I think the door posters for Thunderball are going to turn out to be the earliest.

I can only find this miniscule version (it's the one on the right) but each of the four character panels (3 girls plus Bond) was released as a door-sized poster.

Anonymous said...


Neel Mehta said...

In college I had an oversized poster of Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino movies sort of lend themselves to the character poster idea.

I'd find it equally unnecessary and amusing to see character posters for:

Dead Poets Society
Adventures in Babysitting
Top Gun

Aside from a few obvious choices (Animal House, The Bad News Bears), going further back than 1980 would just be too disturbing.

Jason Adams said...

I want a character poster for the Wicked Witch of the West. And one for a flying monkey.

John T said...

Four films that the trend might have leant itself well to:

1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. A Streetcar Named Desire (though I know I'd want the entire quartet)
3. Bonnie and Clyde (Nat, I'm sure you'd have Warren taped up on your wall).
4. Nashville (oh good lord that would have been fun)

Glenn Dunks said...

I was gonna say Jackie Brown had them before I clicked on the replies. I love Fonda's poster with her tongue.

Of the Hairspray posters, they're alright.

Of the Simpsons ones, I love the Maggie one. The pointing with the pacifier falling out of her mouth. Teehee.

I too love the character poster trend (if you can call it a trend). And then along comes a movie like Brick which does it and then cuts out the characters!

Remember Eternal Sunshine had individual posters, too.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Secrets & Lies. Those would have been some surly fucking posters. I would have bought all of them.

Brian Darr said...

The first character posters I can recall are the ones for Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack, Sally, the Mayor, and the Lock Shock & Barrel trio. Maybe a few others I don't remember.

I loved these bus shelter posters (and this movie) when they came out in 1993. I was living in Minneapolis at the time and called the ad company to inquire about getting one for myself. To my amazement, they said "sure, we'll just give you one if you come down to our office" which was in some suburb (Bloomington?) somewhere. The perfect answer for me because I had lots of time on my hands and no money.

So I had "Meet Jack" hanging on my wall for a while in college, but now he's rolled up in a 43" cardboard tube.

Looks like somebody's selling one on ebay. (not me).


john t --nashville? god those would have been endless.

nick --brenda's would read "sweetheeeeaaaart" i take it.

brian --funny that you should mention that --one of my best friends called me after seeing this post and said: hello, nightmare before christmas ;)