The 13 Worst Movie Posters of 2012

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 23rd, 2013 at 6:52 am, This is a list post.

The 13 Worst Movie Posters of 2012 - A Good Day to Die Hard, This Means War, Bad AssThe 2012 movie season is coming to a close and that means it's once again time to make fun of look at the worst movie posters Hollywood had to offer this year.There were well over 1500 movie posters produced for over 250 films in the span of 365 days, and while some great ones made our list of 13 Best Movie Posters of 2012, others didn't do so well.Just like our Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2011, we've managed to find the ones we thought deserved to be at the bottom of the movie poster garbage pile, in ranking from bad to worst.

Alex Cross

Alex Cross Movie PosterAlex Cross was a badly written, poorly constructed movie, so it comes as no surprise that it would have a poorly constructed movie poster to go with it.Tyler Perry doesn't look upset, determined or threatening in this poster and Matthew Fox showing up in the middle of it - as if he was ripped into the poster - makes no sense to us at all.Both actors are holding guns here, but instead of being full of bullet holes, the title has been sliced through - a technique that was heavily overused by the industry this year.A forgettable poster for an even more forgettable movie.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Movie PosterThe Brendan Fraser-less sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth was a mildly fun family romp, but you couldn't tell it from this poster.Everyone in this poster (including the giant iguana) is running from the Photoshop artist who created it. True, this Jules Verne-inspired world is one of make-believe and fantastical surroundings, but just about everything in this image has been overdone.It seems the artist was trying to tell the entire story of the movie in one poster - erupting volcano, sunken city, running from monsters, the pretty girl, the curious young boy and the hero.Let's discuss the hero, Dwayne Johnson. Movie poster designers think audiences aren't going to notice when they take an image and use it over and over again in different surroundings - like this other poster for Journey 2. Here's a tip for all of them: we do notice. "Believe the impossible" indeed.

The Avengers

The Avengers Movie PosterWe know what you're thinking: "How can a movie that made $1.5 billion worldwide have a poster listed in the worst list?" The answer: Because this Japanese poster for The Avengers is pretty bad.The American movie posters for the film, while not Top 10 worthy, were still very good and promoted the film well. This one seems like Marvel asked the artist to put every character from the movie and their alter-egos onto one movie poster.We're glad the film did so well overseas, but we're pretty sure its success wasn't due to this uninspired mess of an image.

This Means War

This Means War Movie PosterThis Asian poster for This Means War has a few flaws and one HUGE mistake on it (see if you can find it).For some reason the studio changed the name of the film to Black & White for the Asian market, which isn't that big of a deal except it has nothing to do with the film (might as well have called it Mac & Cheese).Instead of looking like two friends fighting over the same girl, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy have their guns pointed at Reese Witherspoon (or is it Whiterspoon?) as if they want to shoot her.Lackluster, uninspired and cheap Photoshop skills aside, misspelling the lead actress's name on any promotional material is a big oversight, and how it went all the way to press without anyone catching it is inexcusable.


Nurse 3D Movie PosterNurse 3D is a thriller/horror story about Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) who works as a nurse at a hospital during the day, but at night she lures cheating men into her dungeon to kill them.Why someone decided this story needed the 3D treatment is beyond our comprehension, but it's obviously something Hollywood doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.Here's what audiences can tell about the movie just from the poster to the left: It will have nudity (enough that it overflows onto the poster), it will have sexy women, and it will have lots and lots of blood.Here's the kicker about this film - it was actually inspired by the poster and not the other way around. Lionsgate Chief Marketing officer Tim Palen actually took a series of photos with women all naked and covered in blood and someone thought: "Hey, let's make this into a movie!"Like most audiences, we don't mind movies starring attractive women, but using nudity/gore as the focal point on a poster to promote the movie is a bit much for our taste.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Movie PosterAt first glance, this poster for G.I. Joe: Retaliation looks pretty cool - but then you look again and start to notice how ridiculous and familiar it is.Seven months ago, Paramount released this poster for the movie (click the link to view it), which featured the exact same image of Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson) and mirror images of Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) and Snake Eyes (Ray Park).Reusing images of characters in the same pose (just reversed) instead of creating new poses is just a lazy way to make a poster.However, this time around they did replaced COBRA Commander with the COBRA the logo, added (what we suspect is) a previously-used image of Duke (Channing Tatum) and tossed in one COBRA operative, Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee).*Side Note: We know female action stars are supposed to be more beautiful than badass but is it possible to have them look like they do more than Pilates and a spinning class to prep for battle?

What to Expect When You're Expecting

What to Expect When You're Expecting Movie PosterWhere to begin with this hapless poster for the bad romance "comedy" based off the best-selling self-help book What to Expect When You're Expecting? Let's start with the bottom of the poster.To help this film make money, the studio knew it needed for guys to come watch it with their wives or girlfriends. To appeal to the potential male audience, they cast Chris Rock as a father who is part of a "Dads Group" and used them all as comedic relief.It was really a bait and switch tactic by the studio, as most of the scenes from the film involving the dads group were in the trailer and in this poster. The only good thing about this scene on the poster is it's all real - real actors on a real background with no Photoshop magic applied.Now look at the women on the top - there's more Photoshop work here than on the cover of Cosmopolitan. The viewer is supposed to think all of the women will be in the same scene together, but the truth is, none of these images come from the same scene at all.One day, maybe artists and studios will learn that their audiences can tell when something has been overly produced in Photoshop.


Lockout Movie PosterMost movie posters are supposed to help tell the viewer what the movie is about - some little nugget about its characters or storyline. This Japanese poster for the action film Lockout does none of those.Going directly from the images on the poster, one would think that maybe the movie is a psychological drama about getting into the mind of a serial killer or about some guy in a coma who is lost in the maze of his own mind.Looking just at this poster you would have no idea the movie is actually about a space prison being overrun by the prisoners and a tough-as-nails former CIA agent going in to rescue the President's daughter.Without the title of the film or even a recognizable face for viewers to associate with, this poster becomes flat and confusing.

Bad Ass

Badass Movie PosterAlmost everything about this poster for Bad Ass is laughable - especially Danny Trejo's overly-Photoshopped face. Even though this is a low-budget action film, that doesn't mean the viewer should be left with questions about the film.Why does Trejo have a bloody bat when the bus behind him is on fire?Did he beat the bus to death and blow it up with a Louisville Slugger?Why does Trejo look like a little boy if he's supposed to be an old man?Now, put him in one of those motorized scooters with a minigun attached to it and spent bullet casings laying all around his feet and THEN we would think he's truly bad ass. Right now, he just looks like he missed his medication.

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard Movie PosterThis poster for A Good Day to Die Hard (a.k.a Die Hard 5) is a great example of how less is not always more.Just about every movie fan can recognize Bruce Willis and know about his association with the the Die Hard films, so it's not a big deal to just have his face on the poster. But shouldn't the title of the movie be somewhere on there as well?Live Free or Die Hard (a.k.a. Die Hard 4) took some lumps for "cleaning up" the franchise by removing curse words from the now famous phrase, "Yippie ki-yay mother f**ker!". However, to bastardize the quote with the word Russia is beyond forgivable - even if it does have something to do with the plot of the film.It's a clean photo with clean lettering, but the two don't belong together on a movie poster.

So Undercover

So Undercover Movie PosterMiley Cyrus' jump from TV to the big screen hasn't been very successful to date and this poster for the horribly bad comedy So Undercover isn't helping one bit.Without even watching the movie, no one is going to believe that Cyrus is anyone's new secret weapon, and pasting in a badge and handcuffs doesn't make it any more believable.In making the posters for this film the studio used the same trick the retail industry uses in its catalogs by changing the color of the Cyrus' outfit to use in different images - like they did HERE with her blouse and shoes.Bad movie. Bad poster.

Thankskilling 3

Thankskilling 3 Movie PosterNot only does this poster for Thankskilling 3 belong in the Top 10 worst [fill in the blank] of 2012, but so does the movie. If you aren't familiar with the Thankskilling series, here's a brief recap:Thankskilling 2 was so bad that every copy of the film has been destroyed except one which the evil "fowl"-mouthed Turkie and his sidekick Nibla are hunting down so they can use it to take over the world.Virtually every character in the film is a puppet (not a Muppet, thank God), including (from left to right): Yomi, Rhonda Worm and her bisexual space worm partner Muff, who are dead set on stopping Turkie, Flowis the gansta rapping grandmother and Frankenturkey.Not since Jennifer Lopez's hitman in Gigli has the phrase "gobble gobble" ever been used so poorly.

The Babymakers

The Babymakers Movie PosterBy looking at this poster for The Babymakers we guess the viewer is supposed to think that Olivia Munn is hungry, Jay Chandrasekhar is surprised, Paul Schneider is tired and Kevin Heffernan is a creepy pervert - none of which make any sense, except for maybe Heffernan's expression.This poster tops our worst of 2012 for two reasons - sperm and word gags referencing sperm.No one is ever going to buy this poster and hang it up in their house or room. We seriously doubt if it would even make it to the walls of a college frat house or dorm room.It isn't funny.It isn't interesting.It isn't appealing.It is, however, appalling.

The 13 Worst Movie Posters of 2012

The 13 Worst Movie Posters of 2012 - What to Expect When You're Expecting, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The AvengersThat's it for our list of the Worst Movie Posters of 2012, but there are plenty more that could have made the list.Do you agree with our list or are there some you would add or remove?Tell us which ones you liked the best this year and which ones you thought were really bad.-Be sure to check out our list of the 13 Best Movie Posters of 2012 as well.Follow me on Twitter - @MoviePaul.
TAGS: die hard 5, gi joe 2, journey 2, lockout, the avengers, this means war


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  1. At the Alamo Drafthouse They have a whole wall of classic movie posters redesigned by Olly Moss, it’s awesome.

  2. i like the die hard one but when you talk about that quote i can understand why it was in this list.

    • @Corey – That quote is the only reason it made the list. Other than that I liked the poster.


      • The Quote is a play on words and is fitting. Why the hate?

  3. In the title you worte Battleship instead of G.I. Joe Retaliation.

    • @f4rrel – Yeah, originally we had Battleship in there and swapped it out last minute for GI Joe. Forgot the title. It’s been corrected.


  4. I respect your opinion but here is my 2 cents. Japanese posters are not for American viewers. If not for internet, it won’t be released worldwide. So what is horrible to Americans may not be to the Japanese. Based on experience as a designer, Japanese likes minimalist designs and I believe that is the peg for that Avengers Poster. I just believe you are being unfair for judging it based on your perspective if the intended market is not you. You should have titled this article as “The 13 Worst Movie Posters of 2012… according to me”. ;)

    • Agree, and agree. Different parts of the world respond to a different aesthetic that may or may not appeal to the American viewer. To judge foreign posters through American eyes is not correct. On the second point this absolutely sounds like a personal analysis, and some of the supporting arguments do not sound like effective arguments.. Some of these posters do suck, but most could easily and effectively be argued as good posters.

      And really, just because Danny Trejo isn’t dressed like an “old White man” doesn’t mean he looks like a kid.

      • Trejo is dressed like a mongoloid white 6 year old, why?

    • @Joriben – Well since I generated the list by looking at every poster I could find that wouldn’t be an incorrect statement heh.

      Seriously though, I pull them all but we go through them as a group to generate the list. Obviously not everyone will agree with all of our choices and that’s cool.


  5. I really like that Japanese poster. Mainly because of Scarlett Johanssen in a red tank top. That’s as close to perfection as one can get.

  6. Die Hard poster sucks !

    • Maybe Bruce Willis’s contract states that his face must occupy 95% of the poster space. From the things I’ve read, I would believe that.

  7. You do wonder when a film has a big budget
    how there could be any excuse for a bad poster.
    The Japanese poster for The Avengers — inexcusable.

    A bad movie deserves a bad poster and there were several.
    A few of these were laughably bad. Journey 2? Mine eyes!
    And Nurse 3D almost single-handedly redefines bad taste.

    G.I. Joe: Retaliation proves Photoshop is the bane of movie posters.
    Your line Paul on female action stars “is it possible to have them look
    like they do more than Pilates and a spinning class to prep for battle”
    had me laughing out loud and nailed that repeated look used for them.

    So Undercover takes underestimating the intelligence of the audience
    down to a new level and I’m not sure even her fans fell for that one.

    This series was a great retrospective on the year using posters.
    It reminded me of a couple of films I missed along with being
    thankful I missed a few bad ones that had good promotion.

    • @Robert Palmer

      Umm, you realize of course that photoshop IS how they make most movie posters, right? The reason why some of these posters look so bad is because it’s so easy to fan make posters now days. Im not necessarily defending it, BUT, if the Gijoe poster came out like 10 years ago, no one would have had a problem with it. And I guess im in the minority of people who like the Avengers poster here, lol.

      • It is the availability and prevalence of Photoshop in amateur hands
        that was the point I driving at not the existence of Photoshop itself.
        Photoshop in the hands of an artist is another tool not an end to itself.

        Even with that, for me the best posters work with an artists hand
        first and then incorporate the use of digital enhancements later.

    • @Robert – Right? I’ll never believe that a woman with toothpick arms can hold and shoot a heavy weapon with any kind of accuracy lol.


  8. No american Avengers poster? Where Cap is 10 stories tall?

    • I think there might be something wrong with your depth perception buddy… ;)

      The american Avengers poster wasn’t that great (certainly not good enough to make it into anyone’s list of best posters), but come on, it wasn’t really that bad either.

  9. I saw the Die Hard poster for the first time Friday after seeing The Hobbit. All I could do at that point is shake my head and say wtf? That has to be one of the worst posters I have ever seen. Not only is the changing of that phrase atrocious, but the way they put the words over the image just looks cheap. Also, even though a lot of Die Hard fans would know what the poster is for just by those two things alone, it doesn’t tell anyone what the movie is.

    • Yes it does, its Die Hard…in Russia. Pretty easy to put together. And i think the quote is actually pretty funny, corny sure but still funny.

      • No, not funny, just stupid.

  10. I actually liked like half of the movie posters here, I don’t see the problem with some of them. Although I would agree it isn’t a very good poster, the Die Hard one is just a TEASER poster, I didn’t see the problem with it. And I had no idea what was wrong with the “what to expect when your expecting poster.”

    Anyways, I guess it’s an OK list, a few good points. But wait, Miley Cyrus staring in an FBI movie? Ah s***… :/ Im tired of that b****, lol.

  11. I love the Japanese Avengers poster as it shows the duality of the civilian ordinary side of the heroes and their heroic alteregos. It is probably actually quite minimalistic in comparison to other Japanese posters. The only bad thing about it to me is that Tony Stark is facing the complete opposite direction to everyone else.

    • @sakib

      That would be good if duality was a major theme of Avengers. But it wasn’t. At all. In fact, most, if not all of the heroes did not have secret identities.

      • I know right, cuz on the bottom we have Nick Fury and on the top we have….oh…Nick Fury again. No code name. No real change of costume or character. Unless, you know, the one on the bottom was just Sam Jackson with an eyepatch and the one on top was Nick Fury. Then it makes perfect sense.

        • Haha, yeah. And same thing with Thor. On the top we have Thor. And on the bottom we have Thor wearing a t-shirt. Deep stuff.

  12. That nurse poster was awesome!

  13. I love the minimal Nurse poster and not because of the nudity. I just love simple compositions. Less is more to me.

    • I agree– I actually liked the simple composition of this image. Not sure why it’s on this list. It’s almost “art”–and frankly, this would do a fine job of getting some people to check out what this movie is about. And yes–people who want to see blood, boobs and chicks. This poster actually did a perfect job of describing the movie it represents and being an image that stops the viewer for moment– marketing complete!

      • @Bill – We included the Nurse 3D poster because we found it tasteless for a movie poster. Some things (in our opinion) just aren’t appropriate for public promotion.


        • If the only basis for including this poster was because it was found tasteless, then I would have to agree with you all the way. It very much IS tasteless and inappropriate for general audiences…and I would be angry if my kid saw this hanging up at my local theater.

          But even though I agree with you– the poster is still artistically sound, professionally composed and conveys the movies contents at a glance. Im certainly not trying to change your mind or prove a point, I guess I got a little confused over what base-line criteria the posters were being judged by… some placed, based on bad taste and some placed, based on incompetence or bad visual judgement. That Black and White poster certainly deserved the award for most confusing poster–I would have no idea what that movie was about…and if I thought I did, I would obviously be wrong:) lol –it really DOES look like Pine and Bane are out to shoot her based on that poster… oh, well–at least they’re entertaining:)

  14. the lockout poster u’ve shown there is not a japanese poster… its a chinese poster…. the language used is different there

  15. Seriously, all of these posters, bad or not, do what they are supposed to do, tell people that a movie is going to be available soon or is currently available. That’s all they are for. Once people see them, they most likely will try to find out more about the film on their own, not rely on the poster to tell them what the film is about. Do book covers tell what the book is about? No they are meant to draw the viewers eye to get them to take a closer look and probably read the back…that’s seeking more information because the images caught the eye. It’s as simple as that. Such a worthless and pointless article.

    • Oh yeah and speaking of spelling actor’s names incorrectly, it’s Dwayne Johnson, not Dwanye Johnson.

    • @Klingon – That’s your opinion but we disagree. All posters are not the same and some posters are worse than others – these are those posters.

      Thanks for reading though and I have no idea what you’re talking about with Dwayne Johnson.


  16. Whoever designed this should be fired immediately. Design 101 – Rule #1: NEVER flip a persons image. Stock imagery is okay… but absolutely NO recognizable figures. Can’t believe this got approved. OMG. Wow. Fail.

    • –it costs money to do re-shoots. They already hate that they have to pay the graphic artists again to flip the image…I agree its a lazy thing to do, but they’re not going to fork over more money to re-shoot the actor and all the expenses that come with that if they can avoid it. Just reality talking:)

  17. Kind of felt like you might have been trying too hard to find reasons to hate some of these, but I can certainly agree with some of your points. Die Hard should have been on the top of the list, simply for being so LAZY– (quick! type something on this poster with Bruce on it! :) — seems like the Babymakers poster and the So Undercover poster got on the list more because of personal feelings towards Munn and Miley than for being a bad posters…which they were, but not as bad as what they ranked, in my humble opinion. ( Im trying to judge the posters on their OWN merits and trying not to let the quality of the film or its talent sway my opinion-) –and I have to agree with some of the other posts on here about comparing the American market posters and the Japanese market posters…cultural differences make it more like comparing apples to oranges in some cases–I think its cool to look at them oddly, since to “us” in the U.S., they kind of ARE, but they shouldn’t be included in a placed ranking of which posters were worse than others…maybe make a separate list to compare Japanese posters with OTHER Japanese posters. That would be fun–and a bit more fair. Still, a fun article– I have to hand it to the people that actually make these posters though…these graphic artists aren’t to blame most of the time–the studios provide them with meager assets and resources and force them to turn these around on impossible deadlines…and on top of that, there’s the pressure to try and do something that is original, cause lets face it, it’s all been done before. On top of that, a lot of times the producers or somebody in the chain making decisions are forcing their own ideas down the artists/photographers throats, even though they have no experience in that area and don’t let the artists do their job. Its a touch place to be when the guy who signs the check tells you his terrible idea and you have to make it happen on the poster… you can tell the posters that were farmed out with lots of hands in the kitchen compared to the ones that allowed the artist/photographer to do his/her thing…just a thought to mull over…or, you know…not:)

    • @Bill – I have no personal feelings towards Munn or Cyrus…well…none that I can type in a family forum heh.

      Seriously though, they’re lousy posters and that’s why they made the list – Babymakers specifically for the tasteless sperm references, which I pointed out in my write up.

      As for the Japanese vs. American perspective, I’ll have to disagree. We have several foreign posters on our Best Of list this year including an Asian poster for The Hobbit. It isn’t about translation, it’s about quality.

      Thanks for reading.


      • oh, I totally agree that we disagree–but that’s what makes this fun as movie lovers, that we can put our different perspectives out there and articulate why we feel the way we do about certain things.

        –just to be clear though, I wasn’t trying to get the Miley and Munn posters off the list. I just think that the Die Hard poster should have been considered higher up towards number one–but I have to admit that is a biased opinion, because the reason that Im more upset with that one is the fact that I like that franchise a lot and with the budget and success behind it, I really expected more–much more from them.

  18. Dude the nurse one is awesome. On a serious note it seems you put a lot of critically bad movies on your bad list and critically good movies on your good list. I’d have to say your critiquing seems to be swayed by this.

    • @Hatorian – I wouldn’t say that is true. The Avengers is on this list and that was a financial and critical success.

      It’s true though that bad movies usually have bad posters. Lack of effort in making the movie almost always leads to lack of effort in promoting it.


  19. Hey! I actually liked the Die Hard poster and if I’m completely honest, the Nurse 3D poster looks pretty good too (I have very little interest in seeing the movie, but the poster is very well done IMO).

    …all the others are complete crap though ;) I can see why they made the list.

  20. It’s to my understanding that a lot of movies have their titles tweaked when they are marketed in Asian markets. A lot of times there is no direct translation so they alter the titles to make more sense or add more context. No question, some of those are just brutal marketing but I wouldn’t get all up in arms if their posters don’t include the titles that we recognize here in North America.

    • @Guy – I know that many movies have their names tweaked for foreign releases so I’m not “up in arms” but This is War doesn’t translate to Black and White in any language.

      The main reason it’s on the list is for misspelling Whitherspoon’s name but it’s pretty crappy poster all around.

      Thanks for reading.


      • The “This Means War” poster also had “CIA X CIA” instead of what would more logically be “CIA VS. CIA”. THAT, initially, is what I thought you were indicating before I noticed the misspelling of RW’s name.

  21. are you kidding me with the Japanese Avengers poster? it does not belong on this list IMO. I like the poster as it shows a different side to the Avengers. sounds like Paul does not like the Avengers and takes out his frustration here.

    • @mc7791 – Yes you nailed it. The guy (me) who sat thru The Avengers marathon for 13 hours, saw the movie 3 times in the theater, twice on Blu-ray and plans on ordering the Tesseract display didn’t like The Avengers so much that I included a poorly done Japanese poster for the movie in his Worst Of list. Stop being ridiculous.

      Did you even read my reasons for including it?

      I’m guessing no?


      • Heh-heh…

  22. You say,”This Japanese poster for the action film Lockout does none of those.”
    But this is a Chinese poster.

  23. Nurse 3d poster should be taken off this list.. its beautifully done like someone already said art n tells the viewer what to expect when seeing the movie.

  24. Perhaps they named it “Black & White” because of the old Spy vs Spy shorts. That’s about all I can think of.

    And, ironically enough, I had never heard of the movie “Nurse” – but upon seeing the poster, I am a bit intrigued. So I guess it does its job for someone who’s never seen or heard of the movie.

  25. So Undercover was so undercover I never heard about it. Ba-da-ba-ba-da-bup, Superman! On a Robot Chicken kick today. Anyway yeah those posters were pretty bad and The Babymakers? Really? I do like the G.I. Joe poster though.

  26. “However, this time around they did replaced COBRA Commander with the COBRA the logo,”

    Looks like you got a few typos in there, brainiac. Maybe you should actually proofread your “writing” before bagging on movie poster grammar.


    • Somebody has obviously had a bad day. What’s so wrong with making a few spelling mistakes? He’s only human.

  27. That Die Hard 5 poster is really good. It’s funny, slick, there’s not a horrendous amount of photoshop, and the refusal to put any further details about the movie serves to show what a powerful and iconic franchise it is.

  28. I’ve haven’t even seen the trailer for the Miley Cyrus movie, but I’ve heard people say it’s like a bad reformulation of Miss Congeniality within a different setting. If that’s the case, I feel like the poster is attempting to do the same. It’s like the whole layout of the poster is attempting to allude to the Miss Congeniality poster as well.

  29. I just have to say that the “Lockout” poster is Chinese, not Japanese. If it was Japanese, I would be able to read it, lol.

    I also agree with Joriben’s whole comment from 3 months ago. “Japanese posters are not for American viewers. If not for internet, it won’t be released worldwide…” etc, etc, although I will say that I also find “Black and White” to be a bit of a silly title for “This Means War.” I’m Japanese and I still think that that poster doesn’t depict the movie well at all.