So I’m minding my own business, wandering around the Series of Tubes after finishing all kinds of physical labors, and what strikes my eyeballs?
Only the worst movie poster known to man.
Here it is:
This isn’t bad in the usual way. The production values are high. The photograph looks nice. There’s nothing low-budget about this.
HOWEVER: From looking at this poster, and reading the tagline “An unexpected journey,” what do you think this movie is about?
Here are my theories:
Theory Number 1: Gandalf makes an unexpected journey back to the store after he forgets to buy sour cream AGAIN.
Theory Number 2: “Oh, it’s only partly cloudy today, when my weather prediction potion said it would definitely rain. How unexpected! I’ll go for a stroll.”
Theory Number 3: Gandalf, being older than the oldest hobbit’s great-grandfather’s grandfather, is getting rather senile. Every journey he takes is unexpected.
See, here’s the thing: a movie poster needs to express one thing, and one thing alone: conflict.
No conflict, no story.
No story, no movie.
No movie, no audience.
This is why the JAWS movie poster is so powerful and iconic.
Do you have any doubts, whatsoever, about what this movie is about? (Hint: It’s about a killer shark.)
THE HOBBIT poster gives us nothing to work with, no reason to plop down $12 for tickets with funky 3D glasses and $9 for popcorn that costs 26 cents to make and $6 for Diet Coke.
Memo to Hollywood executives: Put the conflict — the villain — on the poster. If you make the poster calm, beautiful and boring, there’s no reason to see a film that cost $230 million to make.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.