The worst movie poster OF ALL TIME

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:

the hobbit, the worst movie poster OF ALL TIME

THE HOBBIT movie poster is seven separate kinds of awful.

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.

jaws movie poster

The JAWS movie poster is classic, and will always be classic, because it’s simple and visceral and seven separate types of awesome.

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.

###

This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

About these ads

22 Comments

Filed under 3 Tinseltown Tuesday, The Big Screen

22 responses to “The worst movie poster OF ALL TIME

  1. Well put! Never would have thought of that but you’re right. The poster is rather serene, isn’t it?

    Like

  2. Pingback: What made SKYFALL so insanely great? | The Red Pen of Doom

  3. Pingback: Honest trailer: THE AVENGERS | The Red Pen of Doom

  4. My biggest complaint is lack of Hobbit. If I knew nothing about this story I would think “that dude looks magical, that land is pretty, uh-oh the sky is getting dark.”

    Like

  5. Where is Smaug? Where is Gollum? Where is Bilbo? Elves? Here’s another movie poster that rocks it:

    http://tinyurl.com/6lrbomz

    Not that I’m old enough to remember The Clockwork Orange, you understand, but I heard the older girls talking about it.

    Like

  6. I agree. However, everyone (including moi) will go and see it, because it’s The Hobbit!

    Like

  7. It is a beautiful poster, however it does seem to me as if ol’ Gandalf’s had to make an unexpected journey to find the outhouse..

    Like

  8. I’d say the same goes for book covers (and informs me on how to approach my next book’s cover). Thanks for the post.

    Like

  9. be ready for further posters. if you look up yahoo or google images, you’ll find more than one poster for most movies. there will be others, like with gandalf and the rest of the crew walking with him.

    Like

  10. juliabarrett

    When I first saw the poster I thought it was a joke. Like some cartoony guy’s idea of a spoof. The studio will fix this, right? Right? Otherwise going onto the Netflix list.
    Now Jaws = perfection.

    Like

  11. I guess the studio execs are pretty confident that the patronage of fans would be more than enough to recoup that $230 mil. The poster does a pretty good job of tying itself in with The Lord of the Rings franchise though, and that might be all that matters in the end.

    This reminds me of my exact thoughts upon seeing the cover to The Casual Vacancy; it doesn’t convey any information about the book, but we all know it is going to become an instant bestseller simply because it has J.K. Rowling’s name on it.

    Like

  12. From a purely observant perspective, with no correlative background info, yes, you’re correct: the poster for “The Hobbit” is incredibly boring, and tells nothing of what the story/conflict is about. Also correct that “Jaws” accomplishes this marvellously well, perhaps better than any movie poster before or since.

    But I don’t think producers or media execs assigned to promoting “The Hobbit” are that worried about connecting with their audience through the poster. The movie is coming with a lot of pre-formed buzz and a built-in (rabid) following of Tolkien book and/or movie fans, who would shell out their cash to see this four-hour epic even if the poster was just white text on black background. (On a personal note, I would have liked to have seen at least a hint of Smaugh.)

    If someone who is cut off from the Internet and knows absolutely nothing about the Lord of the Rings stories or the films to come before were to see that poster, he likely would not take a chance on this film. But who’s like that, anymore?

    I understand this latter is more your point about the value of the poster image than my niggling above. But I don’t know if you can separate any longer the association between print, online, and word-of-mouth buzz for anything, least of all blockbuster movies.

    Like

    • Guy

      Sure. The fanboys will see it three times no matter what.

      But for casual fans like me, the poster makes me NOT want to see it. At all. #hollywoodfail

      Like

  13. I want to defend this poster – I’m really looking forward to THE HOBBIT – but you’re right. Grandfather Gandalf out for a stroll. It would make a nice bedroom poster though!

    Like

  14. I agree w/Lindseyjparsons…where are the Hobbits? And yea, it does seem as if Gandalf has aged quite a bit. In fact, he looks more like Professor Dumbledore from HP, and it makes me wonder if Dumbledore is back form the dead and making a trip to visit the Hobbit village? Are the Hobbits going to battle teen wizards in this flick? I might pay to see that.

    And of course, the Red Pen O’ Doom nailed it on the head, when choosing the JAWS movie poster as the greatest of all time. It’s simple in its ability to convey such a primal fear. I don’t think there’s anyone who saw the movie who does not experience the slightest twinge of fear when their toes feel ocean water, that they do not think of what could be out there.

    side note: I think another photo which conveys a similar primal fear is of the dad in the kayak this week off the coast of Cape Cod being trailed by the great white shark.

    http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/07/09/070912-news-cape-cod-shark-1-2-zzinfogrzz/

    That shows accidental primal fear and an “OMG” moment if I ever saw one. That also conveys a bazillion times more emotion and purpose than the damn Hobbitt poster.

    Like

  15. It’s a very nice poster of Gandalf if your a big Gandalf fan it’d look good on your wall! Perhaps the conflict bit is the fact there’s not one single hobbit in sight?

    Like

Leave a witty comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s