How To Sell A Disaster Movie In Three Images Or Less

Earlier today, some new posters hawking Roland "I Don't Get Out Of Bed For Less Than Three Utterly Decimated Global Capitals" Emmerich's upcoming disaster epic 2012 were unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace like, er, a tidal-wave-buffeted battleship being dropped onto the Lincoln Bedroom. And, somewhat surprisingly, they're quite effective in raising our interest level for the film, even though we've already seen, and mostly forgotten about, the so-so trailer they released a few months ago. Why does this three-pronged one-sheets assault work so well, besides the reason it's the last Friday afternoon in August and we're ready to be excited about anything that doesn't involve flaming 3-D racecar parts flying through the screen to virtually cave in our heads because we once cheated Death? Let's break it down and find out!


1. I'm So Sick Of The Totally Boring Health-Care Debate, Can We Blow Up Washington Or Something?

You know what? Yes, we can blow up Washington or something! The movies, especially movies in which Roland Emmerich and about $100 million in semi-convincing computer-generated effects bring about the end of the world, are all about escapism. And who doesn't want to escape from the seemingly endless blather about "public options" and "not being bankrupted by out-of-control doctor's bills" and "everyone having access to a level of care enjoyed by people in Equatorial Guinea"? Wouldn't it be nice if some merciful cataclysm belched forth a tsunami, scooped up an aircraft carrier, and washed away all the annoying health care yakkity-yaks in the White House? Of course it would. This arresting image reminds us that the watery purge we've been clamoring for will happen in November, freeing up more time to debate the next Twilight movie. (Team Werewolf Guy!)


2. Touchdown, Jesus.

Notes from a Sony marketing meeting:

"Why are we putting Rio on the poster? Who the fuck cares about Rio? I don't even know where that is. Chile?"

"Brazil. Pretty sure. Wikipedia."

"Tiny market for us. So why, again?"


"Excuse me?"

"It's the scene where the 100-foot-tall Jesus crashes down on thousands of screaming Christians. Someone's bound to get outraged for some reason. Maybe we'll get the Catholic League to boycott, they're totally nuts."

"Tell me more."

"Or the opposite, they'll love it. End of days, Revelation, all that good stuff."

"Hmm, still don't know. Religion, it's touchy. Don't we blow up New York City in this movie? Can't we put that on a poster?"

(uncomfortable silence)

"Oh, right."


"Let's go with Rio."

"Great idea."


3. You'll Never Go Broke Showing Los Angeles Finally Getting 'The Big One'

It took us a few moments to figure out we were looking at a devastated L.A. in this poster, even though we can actually see downtown's relatively nondescript skyscrapers from where we sit. The marketers made a bold choice here by not somehow featuring the Hollywood sign as a geographical marker, but one that we think paid off; showing some big wooden letters sliding down a hillside just doesn't have the same impact as seeing the normally unnavigable 10 freeway rendered even more nightmarish by an earthquake-enhanced traffic jam. There's no more visceral fear than the prospect of an extra seven-hundred hours tacked on to one's morning commute. It's a subtle masterpiece. Kudos, Sony, you're getting our fourteen bucks.


  • stolidog says:

    I love a good disaster movie, but the size of that aircraft carrier compared to the white house makes me a little suspect of this one...

  • Well, that's one way to get that subway to the sea started.

  • zerozero says:

    The sad thing is that I'm pretty sure the actual movie won't be nearly as fun as the posters. Still, let's have that shot of LA getting a new orifice again...

  • Kyle Buchanan says:

    Even that would provoke some NIMBYs, I'm certain.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    If you look closely at the final poster you can see some asshole in an SUV shocked that his Platinum American Express didn't save him.

  • TheEscapist says:

    Weird. The USS Abraham Lincoln toppled over onto the Kennedy bedroom, too.

  • Liz Lemonazi says:

    Yall, it's The Day After Tomorrow. Adjust for inflation of desensitization and Cusack suckation (more than Quaid these days), and we got the same damn thing a few years later.

  • adilio says:

    well, since i am a carioca (a person born in rio), i have to say that i am delighted to see that the american studios decided to include us on the whole world catastrophe fun. i always felt a bit left out, it was always paris, nyc and london, (cairo and rome, maybe) a bit boring really. i don't know why they suddenly decided to include rio in everything (i noticed that rio is also represented on the trailer for V, the tv series, and some other stupid movie, i cant remember which one).
    seriously tho, i have no idea why they decided to include us, i think if their aim was the christian "world", wouldn't rome be a better target? maybe they were going for something exotic and new? maybe brazilians are (sadly) taking over the internet and they thought it would help somehow to spread the word about the movie.... oh well, who knows...
    oh and the scales are well off in all of these posters

  • snickers says:

    Just another CGI demo of destruction. Next.

  • $14!!?? Is there a guest list?