10 of the most hilariously misleading movie posters
Conveying the contents of over an hour and a half’s worth of entertainment via a still, silent image is not an easy feat. Some poster designers get it very right, mastering the skill of visual summation and delivering a succinct pictorial shorthand that draws the viewer into seeing the movie in question. Meanwhile, some others get it very very wrong. That or they’ve actually set out to deceive us by giving a completely dishonest impression of a film’s tone and/or content in order to sell more tickets. Which, considering the cruel nature of the Hollywood machine, seems a lot more likely. While people were probably very annoyed by not getting what they expected from these films, we can look back at them now and laugh. Right?
Riding on the back of Breaking Bad‘s success, the makers of this low budget, slow burning indie drama thought an ‘explosive’ looking action movie with Aaron Paul at its helm would sell better than its actual plot about the wayward children of a struggling single father. Honestly, you have to watch the trailer to see just how wrong the poster is.
My Sister’s Keeper (2009)
Anyone who’s seen this movie about a 13-year-old girl conceived purely as a marrow donor for her gravely ill sister, who now sues her parents for medical emancipation, will know that full of mother-daughter laughing and joking and bubble-blowing it certainly is not.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
In what universe is this picture of a happy family locked in a warm embrace appropriate for advertising a drama surrounding the breakdown of a marriage and the ensuing long and emotional custody battle over a small child?! Not one we want to live in, that’s for sure.
Blue Valentine (2010)
This poster totally doesn’t let on that it’s promoting one of the most tragic ‘romance’ stories of our time, replete with nonconsensual sex, traumatic abortions, and domestic abuse. Go on and laugh, young lovers. We know now you won’t be getting your happy ending. Ryan, you betrayed us :'(
We’ll admit it’s pretty much impossible to sum up a movie about a man falling in love with an operating system in one snappy image, but this Italian poster for Her and its presentation of Amy Adams as the film’s free-spirited romantic heroine is all kinds of misleading.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Despite his overwhelming prominence in the image and credits of this poster, Robert DeNiro plays more of a supporting character in this tale about a teenager taken under the wing of a neighbourhood mobster. Yet another drama made to look like much more of an adrenaline-fuelled action film than it actually is, the bit right in the middle of the poster where the kid runs away from the explosion totally never happens in the movie, either.
A Single Man (2009)
Colin Firth playing a suicidal gay man reflecting on the death of his longtime partner? Why not go ahead and make it look like he’s in bed with the film’s only real female character, Julianne Moore, who appears in the film for all of about 10 minutes? That’ll sell tickets to the wider heteronormative market!
Vanilla Sky (2001)
Would you believe that the poster above is promoting a mind-bending sci fi epic about cryogenics, alternate universes, lucid dreaming, the quest for eternal life, events 150 years into the future, and facial reconstructive surgery? Yeah, didn’t think so.
The Abyss (1989)
In case you weren’t already aware, The Abyss explores what happens to salvage crews at the bottom of the ocean when they come into contact with an alien intelligence. Which, of course, you wouldn’t have had the first clue about from the poster, which passes the film off as some erotic arty romance.
The Room (2003)
We’re tying things off with The Room because nothing can ever prepare anyone for the horrors and delights contained within The Room. [In fact, now that we think about it, we could’ve included the poster for last year’s Brie Larson-led drama Room on this list…] But anyway, this ominous closeup of Tommy Wiseau’s notoriously unique mug doesn’t even begin to convey the strange mix of unrelated and unresolved ‘plots’ that make up this 99 minutes of complete and utter incomprehensible cult gold.