The Best & Worst Movie Posters of 2011

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2012 at 9:40 pm, This is a list post.

The Best & Worst Movie Posters of 2011

The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2011 Every year, literally hundreds of films are released around the world, and movie posters are one way studios promote these films. Some posters are fantastic - showing the creativity of the artist and/or studio promoting the film. Others are just lazy and unoriginal, showing nothing more than images of the main characters staring intently into space. Others still are just laughably and ridiculously bad, showing that almost no thought or effort went into making them. There were over 1,000 movie posters released this year, but since there isn't a central database containing every poster, there is a chance we might have left out your favorite. Still, we managed to sort through the dreck and mundane offerings to bring you what we think are the top 12 best and 12 worst movie posters that were released 2011. [NOTE: The movies depicted in the posters didn't have to be released in 2011 to make our list - only the posters did.]

The Worst Movie Posters (2011)

The Three Musketeers Movie Poster

12. The Three Musketeers

This Japanese poster for The Three Musketeers, Paul W. S. Anderson's 3D "re-imagining" of Alexandre Dumas' classic tale, has a plethora of problems - not the least of which was having all the actors "mug" for the camera. We have a hard time telling if this is a poster for a major motion picture or the cover of a Harlequin romance novel - the only person missing is Fabio. This isn't the worst poster produced this year, but there is enough wrong with it to place it among our bottom twelve.

11. Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill Movie Poster Where do we start with this ridiculous Spanish poster for Adam Sandler's latest "comedic" effort, Jack and Jill? It's bad enough audiences have to endure images of Sandler in drag, but to put him/her front and center is uncalled for - and for Pete's sake cover up those knees! Poor Photoshopping skills aside, it’s also hard to overlook Sony’s obvious pandering to Spanish audiences by including Eugenio Derbez (arguably Mexico's most popular actor) when neither his name nor image have been seen in any other promotional materials. That afro he is sporting isn't scoring any points, either.

10. Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher Movie Poster The creators of this Bad Teacher poster were trying to be witty and tongue-in-cheek but instead the humor - as it did in the movie - comes off as juvenile and crass. A drunken Cameron Diaz sleeping off a bender at her desk and telling the audience to eat her really does show she doesn't give an "F" - and neither do we, which is why this bad poster is number ten in our list.

9. Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World Movie Poster The awfulness of this Dutch poster for Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World is baffling - as is trying to explain the continued success of the Spy Kids franchise in general. We assume the poster is supposed to catch the eye and entice the film's target audience of children under twelve but all it does is give us a headache. From Joel McHale's smirk to Mason Cook's poorly and over-photoshopped head, to Rowan Blanchard's impression of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s raised eyebrow to the creepy glowing eye dog - everything about this poster begs for it to be in our worst poster list...so it is.

8. The Chaperone

The Chaperone Movie Poster Even though online posters are free, it feels like the creators of this laughably bad poster for The Chaperone owe the people who look at it some money - perhaps they could give us that poorly photoshopped group of bills from Paul Levesque's front shirt pocket? Nothing in this poster makes any aesthetic sense, but the worse offense has to be the two undersized bad guys clinging to the top of the disproportioned bus (even though it isn't moving). As far as we can tell, the only thing not digitally manipulated in this poster are Triple H's muscles. He should use them to body slam this bad poster.

7. Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Buck Larson: Born to be a Star Movie Poster This poster for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star isn't offensive because it shows a man with his pants around his ankles. No, it's offensive because it resorts to tasteless and unoriginal sight gags to achieve humor. No audience wants to be "tantalized" by the thought of Nick Swardson's twig and berries...EVER!

6. The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

Human Centipede (Final Sequence) Movie Poster This poster for Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) isn't on our worst list for bad graphics - the graphics work on the poster is actually quite good. What puts this poster on our list is the classless and tasteless image used to promote the movie. Strangely enough, if this poster were a work of art hanging in a fancy art gallery it would be hailed as an imaginative piece whose subject matter pushes the boundaries of the viewer to make them both uncomfortable and intrigued. Instead, it just what its tagline says - sick.

5. The Zookeeper

The Zookeeper Movie Poster Apparently studios think that foreign audiences don't care very much about the quality of movie posters - at least that's what Sony would have us think by looking at this poster for The Zookeeper. Every single thing in the poster has been manipulated to the point of hilarity - Kevin James' arms, the gorilla's arms - the size of the bear and the lion all look ridiculous, as does that smile on James' face. If that monkey in back had any sense of self-worth, he would let the lion eat him just to get off this poster.

4. Madea's Big Happy Family

Madea's Big Happy Family Movie Poster Tyler Perry does not a Black Swan make, but the popular black male comedian in drag put together a series of parody posters for Madea's Big Happy Family based on some recent critically-acclaimed films. He also did ones based off The King's Speech, True Grit and The Godfather, but this was the worst of the bunch and  truth be told, none of them are funny. At least he had the good sense not to show his knees.

3. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son

Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Movie Poster Some pictures can't be unseen and Martin Lawrence dressed in drag as Big Momma, in costume as Lady Gaga, in this French poster for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, is one those pictures that will forever be burned into our brains. At what point in the process of creating this horrendous poster did someone look at it and say, "Yup! This is fine quality work here. My job is done."? And why, oh why, did the graphic artist choose to give her/him/she/whatever a mini-skirt? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little...

2. X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class Movie Poster X-Men: First Class is a fine addition to the X-Men movie franchise and is arguably the best of the series - however, the movie had some of the worst posters associated with it that we have seen in a number of years. In fact, they were so bad that they secured the number one and number two spots in our Worst List. We appreciate what the creators were trying to say with this image - Eric Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) will soon become the villain Magento. Surely there had to be a better way to communicate that message? Movie fans everywhere took one look at this poster and immediately thought it was a poor attempt by an overzealous fan - but alas, this one was approved by the studio.

1. X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class Movie Poster Edging out the Magento poster above by the smallest of margins is this terrible poster of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) for X-Men: First Class. It has all the same bad qualities as the Magneto poster, but loses greater points for removing part of McAvoy's face. These "Crotch Silhouette" posters are cringe-worthy bad and couldn’t have taken the creators more than five minutes to finish both. We don't know of anyone that would want either of these posters hanging on the wall in their room. Ever. Now, on to our list of the 12 Best Posters of 2011...

The Best Movie Posters (2011)

The Muppets Movie Poster

12. The Muppets

Disney's promotional trailers for The Muppets parodied major films that released this year - The Hangover II, Green Lantern, The Girl with the Dragon TattooBreaking Dawn Part 1 - and were nothing short of brilliant. There were several parody posters released as well, but none stood out to us more than Sam the Eagle as Captain America. Disney took two classic American icons and combined them into one fantastic poster.

11. The Hangover II

The Hangover II Movie Poster As in the first Hangover, the "Wolfpack" once again finds themselves waking up in a strange location with no recollection of the past night's events. Even though The Hangover Part II was like experiencing deja vu, except not as much fun, this poster is oddly entertaining. Anytime someone puts a monkey on a poster dressed in a jean jacket and passed out drunk on a bathroom floor wihle still clinging tightly to his bottle of whiskey, it will always make our top twelve list.

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Movie Poster This poster for David Fincher's remake of the Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is exactly what a tantalizing and titulating poster is supposed to be - almost inapproptiate without being trashy, vulgar or disgusting. Daniel Craig looks intense, but who wouldn't be holding a topless Rooney Mara? The proper use of shadows, lighting and stragetically placed numbers that encourage the viewer to use their imagination are the reasons why this poster holds the number ten spot in our top twelve.

9. Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun Movie Poster This poster for Hobo with a Shotgun is the work of the talented Tom Hodge from The Dude Designs. The goal in creating his posters is to "bring back explosions, exploitation and helicopters!" and he succeeds here on all fronts. This poster reminds viewers what movie posters are supposed to do - attract, entertain, intrigue and encourage them to see the film. Of course, posters from '70s and early '80s exploitaion films were for movies that typically weren't very good, and such is the case with Hobo with a Shotgun. Still, on artwork alone this poster deserves to be in our top twelve.

8. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Poster This modest, yet effective, poster for The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is remincescent of posters for the Marxist Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, which is appropriate, since both are about guerillas/gorillas rising up and overturning authority. By adding a simple green "R" to the poster, the entire meaning is changed and the plot of the movie can be determined by the viewer. This is how a movie poster is supposed to market a film - clean, creative and simple.

7. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Movie Poster This poster for Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is darkly beautiful and includes a number of things that typically enstill fear in people - twisted knotty limbs, a black rose, a pair of long and dangerous looking shears, bent and sickly twisted barbed wire, a sharp straight razor and haunting shadows reaching out to snatch up an innocent child. The title artwork is masterfully done and the creator should be proud.

6. Conan the Barbarian

Static version of Conan the Barbarian motion poster

Liongate released this motion poster for their Conan the Barbarian remake in the early stages of promoting the film and it is stunning. From the rolling clouds, to the Conan's clothes blowing in the wind, to the ominious and haunting music playing in the background - everything in this poster just works. It's too bad the film turned out to be a mediochre offering and wasn't near as interesting as this poster. (We have the static version of the poster here until we work out some technical issues.)

5. The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life Movie Poster This poster for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is as beautiful and thoughtfully made as his film was. Incorporating scenes from the movie - and basically telling its story without the viewer knowing it - this poster designed by Mark Carroll is an example of how something can appear busy and revealing without confusing the viewer or distracting them.

4. Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh Movie Poster There aren't many movies that can get away with not incorporating the title of the film somewhere on its poster, yet this one for Disney's Winnie the Pooh pulls it off quite nicely. Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre woods are on an adventure and this poster beckons the child in all of us to join them. This is a fine example of how less is more and simple is better.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie Poster Normally a poster which only shows the profile of the main character wouldn't be considered for a top twelve list, but in the case of this poster for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 we made an exception. For the past ten years audiences have watch Harry grow up at Hogwarts knowing that all the experiences he was going through would lead up to this one final showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort, and this poster expresses just that. Indeed it does all end, and the final battle, like this poster, is glorious.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Poster This is the only poster in our top twelve list that doesn't release in theaters until 2012 but since it came out in 2011 we decided to count it. The Dark Knight Rises is arguably next year's most anticipated film and this first poster for the movie manages to tell a story with no words or characters on it - chaos is going to reign in Gotham, things as we know it are going to crumble and be destroyed, but from that destruction an iconic hero is going to rise. Complex in its artwork but simple its message, we feel this poster deserves to be number two.

1. Captain America

Captain America Movie Poster The were a lot of anxious feelings regarding how director Joe Johnston would handle the iconic superhero Captain America. Would Cap be watered down to appeal to a worldwide audience? Would he be turned into a tormented soul questioning his moral values and country? Or maybe, like so many other action heroes, would he become a basterized version of a generic action hero using his brawn instead of his heart to fight evil? Well, with this first poster for Captain America: The First Avenger all those anxious feelings were quelled. In this poster fans know that no matter what type of chaos is circling Captain America,  he is going to be steadfast and unwavering - remaining an American hero we can all be proud of.

Conclusion

The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2011 That's it: The 12 worst and 12 best posters of 2011. There are plenty of movies coming out in 2012 - some good, some bad - which means there will be ample opportunity for studios to give us something fantastic or extremely awful. Follow me on Twitter (@Walwus) and tell me which posters you thought were the worst of the year.
TAGS: bad teacher, captain america, harry potter, spy kids 4, the dark knight rises, the three musketeers

102 Comments

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  1. Tree of life was horrible. Probably the only movie I couldn’t bare to watch anymore. The poster is just as horrible as the movie.

  2. I just can’t seem to escape The Human Centipede and I hate that! References and images of it keep popping up everywhere and at every mention of it I just feel sick, physically neauseous and thoughts about it bother me like a particularly bad nightmare.

    The subject matter of that movie is absolutely disgusting and not just the plot, but several other aspects of it are truly disturbing; the fact that someone had this idea, the fact that God knows how many people approved the idea, the fact that actors were willing to play the parts, the fact that people were willing to see it and, finally, the fact that is has a sequel.

    I understand and support the importance of freedom of speech, but this sickening movie is a constant reminder that people are abusing that freedom and taking it way too far. Obviously you can’t prevent movies like that from being made (because where will the line be drawn?) but I wish that, at the very least, the surrounding entertainment media would have the decency to keep it out of the faces of people who wish to have nothing to do with it.

    Recently my TV guide/entertainment magazine did a review on the movie, complete with sickening screenshot and detailed plot summary. You flip a page, reading through the reviews, enjoying the most sharp opinions of the writers, and all of a sudden you are confronted with something like that and we are all just to think that that is normal and acceptable?

    I truly resent that we have become so desensitized to horrible imagery that we pay money to go see it, and explore it in a supposedly family friendly TV guide and no one ever stops to think: Have we gone too far? They just want to make disgusting and shocking things for the sake of shocking people (and evoking that emotion takes a lot in our violence-overwhelmed society).

    I actually agree with the other commenters that the poster of The Human Centipede (sick as it is) isn’t all that bad, because, like the writer said, in any other context, it looks like an admirable piece of art, it seems to say something meaningful (and something different to every beholder). But the movie itself does not share this depth. I did not see it, but my sister did and she assured me there is nothing redeeming about it. It’s just gross, solely because it can be. If you are going to make a provocative movie, at least do so because it says something. Don’t say anything, if you don’t have anything to say.

    I apologize for this lengthy rant, but this movie just deeply affects me and, to me, it has come to represent one of the major flaws in our society: that nothing is too disturbing. One can only wonder where that kind of thought process (Freedom of speech?) will take us.

    • As a life-long lover of cinema, I’m inclined to agree with you. I’m starting to get sick of movies that sacrifice creativity for shock value, whether through tasteless, “edgy” jokes or pointless gore. The worst part is that people eat it up, and they have to keep raising the stakes to keep shocking people.

      I didn’t really care that much until I heard about (and kept hearing about) A Serbian Film. I never watched it, but I read a detailed synopsis, and believe me, it makes Human Cenipede look like a Disney movie. I felt sick just _reading_ some of the scene descriptions. Like you said, the truly disturbing thing is that someone thought them up, and whole group of people got together and decided it was a good idea to simulate it on film.

      The maker of the movie said it was supposed to be social commentary about censorship or something, but given some of the scenes in the movie, I say b*******. His goal is clearly just to outdo the other torture porn directors. When you resort to pointless, repeated scenes of extremely violent rape, pedophilia, and forced incest, all on-screen, you’re just proving the censors right and giving them enough dirt to bury you with. I’m no prude, and I’ve seen plenty of horror flicks that I enjoyed, but Jesus, it’s starting to get ridiculous.

      • You too? “I never watched it, but I read a detailed synopsis”. And of course you thought it was a great idea to talk about a movie you haven’t watched. What’s next? A law against this kind of movies? Would that make you feel better? Just don’t watch them!

        • That, my friends, is the excuse of movies like The Human Centipede for showing pointless gore and violence. Not watching it is not enough to never hear about it at all.

    • Great, you didn’t see it. Thanks for sharing your opinions about a movie you haven’t watched yet. I haven’t seen “Scary Movie” but I can tell you it’s up there with “Citizen Kane”, “Casablanca” and “Gone With The Wind”

  3. Dude, the poster “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is not as great. It took me a whiiiile to read what the name of the movie was, lol. It’s a bit redundant and has too much going on. How can you place a great poster like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” next to this one? You said that market films should be clean and simple. But this poster didn’t live up to that. I disagree that this is one of the “best” posters. It’s not bad, though.

  4. No. It’s vulgar and trashy and you just have bad taste.

  5. The poster of Jack and Jill is not Spanish, it is Mexican. MEXICO AND SPAIN IS NOT THE SAME

    • *ARE NOT

      (English is still the same.)

  6. Captain America made number one for best poster! Awwww! That movie poster is one of my favorites it’s beautiful and stunning in it’s art and design.

  7. That is so true! This poster is by far really bad. They should of at least tried to enlarge his face and make the silhouette a bit smaller in the background. That would have made for a better image.

  8. Mr. Young, congratulations! What a list! The worst list I agreed with almost entirely, some more than others (but I’ll keep that to myself so people don’t start a crazy ranting conversation about my opinions). However, the best list sealed it for me. You have excellent taste!

    While I would have preferred to see a different Guillermo del Torro project poster than Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (Pan’s Labyrinth and El Orfanato were far superior posters, in my opinion), your choice of Rise of the Planet of the Apes made up for that. The simplicity of that particular poster caught my eye with one small detail. The “R” was not red, to grab attention with a bold, shocking color. It was green. To me, that choice took it a step further in awesomeness.

    The best part about your top 12 list was making it to the top two. Both The Dark Knight Rises and Captain America are in my top ten favorite movies, but the posters themselves were spectacular. Aesthetically pleasing and rich in symbolism and detail, they truly deserved to be the top two. I don’t come across many people who can analyze posters that way. Pleasant surprise! Thanks for the list (:

  9. The only good thing about that harry potter poster is that its going to be the last one (thank god). I mean it only took him 20 years to graduate from whatever it is he does.

    And as far as the rest I think numbers 1 and 2 of the good list should have just both been tied for first. Both posters are visually stimulating and very artsy on several levels.

  10. This was a joke.

  11. Captain America the best poster? Is a piece of crap.

  12. It took me a while to realize what was wrong with the Human Centipede poster. I thought it was an image of a centipede coming out from a small crack in the corner of a room. Then I looked down and was trying to figure out what the hell the belly button was. Then I zoomed out and saw it. Lol, I really need to get a better screen (colors are flushed out and so are subtle textures).

  13. Im sorry but who wrote this list has no idea

  14. To the jack and Jill poster having Eugenio Derbez as 1 of Mexicos most famous actors is a wrong fact.
    he is just a comedian and a mediocre one at that.
    its like saying that Tom Arnold is one of USA best comedians.

  15. The poster for Black Swan is so offensive. Where does Tyler Perry get off thinking that “white face” is funny? It’s totally racist. Just like a white person wearing “Black face”. You CAN be racist towards Caucasian people.

    • Tyler Perry isn’t wearing ‘white face’. In the original Black Swan poster, Natalie Portman’s face was covered in white make up. They are both dressed as swans. Tyler Perry isn’t wearing ‘white face’ any more than Natalie Portman was.

      You might was well say that Alan Cummings is wearing ‘black face’ as Nightcrawler in X-Men 2.

    • Still, it really is a sh*tty poster.

      • From what I can see on the Black Swan poster, she’s only wearing white makeup up to about her apples of her cheeks, from there on it’s gradation back to her skin.

        Those eyes… they look like he’s on a really bad crack trip.

    • That was an idiotic comment. I’m not making a personal attack, just telling the truth. You’re trying to troll up some kind of race war on a blog about movie posters. Pathetic.