Movie Posters art of movie posters James Bond posters movie posters Carol Burnett Show on DVD
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 Movie Poster designsMore versions of well known
movie posters that never
made it to print

by William P. "Billy Hollywood Swingin" Ingram III, Esq.

People who work in the motion picture marketing business are a rare breed, the absolute top in their craft. You had to be to meet the needs of demanding stars and clueless studio execs.

In a high pressure, creative environment, niceties and manners go out the window. You just couldn't take it personally if someone walked by your desk and said, "That looks like crap, you're wasting your time." In fact, they're doing you a favor.

movie postersI remember this one art director who would get a flash in his eyes when something wasn't going his way - and that would be more often than not, just because of the nature of the job. He was uptight and all right and always on top of his game, he produced damn good stuff and he knew it.

But you did NOT get in his way when he was under the gun - he would pull your shit right out off the Xerox machine or knock you off a computer if he needed it for a hot deadline. He would not care what you had to say - he knew what he had to get done and that was it. No time to explain.

Here was a guy you wanted on your team during the never-ending battle of the deadline because of his laser sharp focus.

Thanks to a brilliant crop of young turks coming up through the ranks in movie marketing, three films reached blockbuster status ($100 million gross) within the first three months of 1990, a record unmatched until 13 years later.

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Great movie, great poster - and this was an early comp that might have made an even better poster, who knows? This is a perfect example of a classic 1980's type layout with good old-fashioned star sell combined to great effect.

Notice also that Arnold's name is as large as the title, the pinacle of movie poster stardom - most stars never get their names past 50% of title.

Schwarzenegger was really fond of the typeface "Machine" (seen here in the logo typeface) and it ended up being the logo face for many of his movies, his corporate identity if you will.

With Arnold's career in mid-life crisis, expect to see more of this approach on his next movie posters - and on his yard signs if he eventually runs for President of the United States.


Predator Movie ads

mr jones

Mr. Jones

The concept at left doesn't tell you much about the movie, but it looks like fun, doesn't it? Just the kind of campaign that might have brought people to the theaters to see this typically mediocre Richard Gere vehicle.

Mr. Jones Richard Gere movie postersInstead of a bold approach, the studio went with something safe - heads in the sky. In fact, in the final poster (see right) Richard Gere and Lena Olin's giant heads filled up the sky entirely, running up on the beach below like two superstar supertankers colliding on the shore.

They could have done it in one afternoon at Glamourshots at the mall and saved half a million dollars.

JFK movie posterJFK

At left is the first poster Warner Bros. 'bought' for "JFK".

Art director Alex Swart's comp/concept with a shadow of Oswald and his rifle across Jim Garrison/Costner's forehead was ultimately rejected by producer-director Oliver Stone because the design made it look too much like a generic Kevin Costner movie.

It was artist Christian Struzan who created the striking and effective final campaign on the right (this version is missing the type treatment).

The final poster looked very much like this first draft, which compares favorably with the great, graphic movie posters of the past, don't you think? This comp was composed before artwork was created primarily on computers, so color Xeroxes, airbrush, chromatechs and every other media available were used to create these fully-developed, 9 x 14 layouts.

Christian Struzan is the son of movie poster and book illustrator Drew Struzan (famous for his 'Star Wars' and 'Indiana Jones' posters, he signs his paintings 'Drew').

The younger Struzan is not only one of the best poster designers in the business, he's also a fine illustrator in his own right. Do you sense a conspiracy, Oliver Stone?

JFK poster

boomerang movie poster


Eddie Murphy was lobbying hard for the James Bond role at the same time 'Boomerang' was being released so he decided all advertising for this movie was going to show the world just how Bond-ian he could be.

Good for Eddie Murphy but limiting if you have to incorporate this idea into the creation of a movie poster for another of his belabored 1990's comedies.

To top it off, Murphy refused to do photo shoots, so head shots from fuzzy unit photography would have to be stripped onto crisp photo shoot body doubles. This situation was made worse when it was discovered that Murphy had hired a family member to shoot the unit photography, and the results were less than spectacular.

This unused poster is a good example of a bad 'head strip' - but it is just a comp.

Movie Poster Artists



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Movie poster designsSearching for Bobby Fischer

When award-winning art director Adrienne Burke designs a movie poster, it STAYS designed! This layout didn't make it to final, but the movie-going public can be thankful that another one of her lovely designs did.

The rough illustration (at left) behind the photo is by Dave Christiansen, master of all styles. Someone should do a retrospective of Dave's beautiful, but largely unseen work.

movie poster artI don't need to show you his portfolio, it's already in your head - Chevy Chase being electrocuted on the roof for 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' and the mohawked baseball for 'Major League' are just two of his brilliant paintings you might be familiar with.

Majot League posterThe sketch for 'Bobby Fischer' probably took him ten minutes, but whenever Dave would bring in his finished paintings the whole office would gather around and squeal with excitement. His color work is amazing and no one can nail a movie star likeness like Dave! That's why he's one of the most sought after illustrators in the business.

Star Trek, Rocky and Double Van Damme!

Movie Poster Artists
page 1: Unseen Movie Posters
page 2: More Lost Movie Poster Designs
page 3: Son of Unseen Movie Posters
page 4: Yet Again, Unseen Movie Poster Designs

page 5: Movie Trailers of the 80s-90s
Page 6: Inside Seiniger Advertising - 1988

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