Movieline Rates the Summer Movie Posters

As I was passed yesterday by a bus with a wraparound advertisement for Showtime's Nurse Jackie, I was struck by two things...

1) How cleverly the ad managed to do all it needed to: it sold its star (Edie Falco) front and center, communicated the premise of the show clearly, and put forth a memorable tagline ("Life is full of little pricks") conceived with a healthy jolt of cable innuendo.

2) How few summer movie posters this year have been half as clever.

So which summer one-sheets succeeded, and which should have been sent back to marketing? Let's take a look.



Away We Go

Like the film itself, which dutifully includes Amerindie staples like a folk-guitar soundtrack and ennui-stricken leads, Away We Go's poster lunges straight for its genre's hallmark touch: hand-drawn credits. A one-sheet so on the nose, it was inevitable that Hipster Runoff would take a look at it and mockingly announce, "I think this movie is supposed 2 appeal 2 me since I am alt and see the world in a quirky way."

Rating: 4 (out of 10)


Funny People

How do you sell an Adam Sandler cancer dramedy? Pretty much exactly the way Universal has: some of its leads are smiling and some are not (drama mixed with laughs!) and there's a Judd Apatow credit block that's specific enough about his bona fides to distinguish him from the rash of recent comedies he's merely produced. An extra point for giving Leslie Mann above-the-title billing.

Rating: 7


The Hangover

As we've been reminded plenty of times, The Hangover isn't exactly filled with "stars," but that hasn't stopped WB from issuing a full slate of quirky character posters that manage to nail the film's tone better than just about any summer film out there. At a time when Inglourious Basterds and Public Enemies are cranking out one-sheets for every minor actor in their ensembles, we'd take a poster of The Hangover's tiger over Eli Roth any day.

Rating: 9



Humpday's leads have even less star power than The Hangover's, yet Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard have managed to get their names front and center on the film's poster. They deserve it, though: their guts-and-all pose immediately says, "You might have heard that two guys have sex in this movie, but do you see a Crunch membership here? Totally bro-safe!"

Rating: 7



The Proposal

The Good: Hey, a movie for women whose poster isn't a sappy condescension with its title written out in lowercase letters! The Bad: Who the hell grabbed hold of Sandra Bullock's body in Photoshop and made her look like a praying mantis?

Rating: 5


My Life in Ruins

"Hey guys, remember My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember that family that was trying to usurp the poster from Nia Vardalos when she was just trying to have a peaceful moment? Remember?!?!"

Rating: 3


Julie & Julia

A conceptual poster in the summer? Jesus, are those eggs or enormous testicles? Kudos to the studio for eschewing the obvious "Meryl & Amy, separated by time" poster they could have ripped straight from Sleepless in Seattle (with the admitted danger of a cougar-licious lesbian subtext). We're sure the outdoor campaign will take a different turn, but right now, we're kind of in love with a marketing department that says, "Let's sell it with words."

Rating: 8


My Sister's Keeper

Remember our Funny People fears about how a big studio goes about selling a glossy terminal illness movie? This poster takes all those concerns and adds bubble blowing.

Rating: 2



X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Is this an X-Men spinoff or an actual, full-fledged X-Men movie? It's impossible to tell, and the studio wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Rating: 6


Star Trek

Though virtually every move in Paramount's ad campaign was note-perfect, we're not sure if the final one-sheet really sold the reboot's guiding mantra: "This ain't your father's Trek." Because...that kind of looks like my father's Trek, my uncle's X-Files Movie, and my mother's knack for overexposing her Kodak film all rolled into one poster.

Rating: 5


Terminator Salvation

Well here's the perfect way to continue a star-driven franchise that was once studded with flashes of excitement, humor, and spirit: a grim one-sheet of a skeletal robot holding a gun. You know things are dire when the women in the focus group pick the scary skull faced-thing over an image of Christian Bale.

Rating: 2


  • SunnydaZe says:

    The Star Trek poster looks like my drinking buddy right before I see vapor trails and pass out on the floor!

  • Old No.7 says:

    Check out the subliminal caveman club in between Bullock & Reynolds. Hey, that's art-sy!

  • FrancoisTrueFaux says:

    kudos on citing HRO; i wish we could give you gold stars

  • Inhaler says:

    What came first, the Meryl or the egg?

  • loudrockmusic says:

    That poster from "The Proposal" is a straight rip-off of another poster, and I'm going to come the dvd boxes at the video store till I find it!

  • joaquin's beard says:

    @LOUDROCKMUSIC - After you finish "combing" the video shelves, you might conclude it has the same layout as a thousand other romcoms. That white background that screams I'm A Comedy! Awkward expressions on the "stars" placed in the otherwise empty frame. Genius!

  • JudgeFudge says:

    The Here We Go poster looks like a poster for a college theatre production of a real hip take on a Midsummer Night's Dream.

  • Bob says:

    I think you were a little harsh on Terminator Salvation. The poster isn't great. However, I'd take it over the posters for The Proposal and My Sister's Keeper.

  • borstenwurm says:

    Though you're right about the terminator poster, I actually loved the teaser poster (

  • Andy says:

    I think you are being harsh on The Proposal. It tells me everything I want to know about the film. Who is in it. That it’s a rom-com. What the relationship between the two characters is like. And most importantly that I do not want to see this film!

  • zarvos says:

    In this day and age of Photoshop, star egos, and unimaginative-by-the-numbers-marketing, creativity and ingenuity in marketing films has indeed died. Compared to posters from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and even the 80's, poster design today is more like paint-by-numbers art for untalented or uncaring designers and marketers.

  • Ilena says:

    You were very right Julie & Julia. Yet, I would have given Star Trek a higher score. I like how the Enterprise is pictured going at warp speed. What does everyone else think about Star Trek?

  • Joe says:

    Referring to the Star Trek poster. It's hard to tell what is. I guess if you're a real Star Trek fan you may be able to recognize it.