It’s that time of the year again when we look back on all the movie posters released by studios to determine which of the worst visual offenders deserved to be shamed. Hollywood produces several thousand posters for the hundreds of movies released each year and 2015 was no different. We’ve crawled through the very bottom of the barrel to find the worst of the worst – something we do happily so you don’t have to endure the stink that rises from this garbage.
Movie posters are generally (and often times, loosely) considered to be art and, as such, opinions on what is best or worst are highly subjective. However, like the late Orson Welles once said, “I don’t know anything about art but I know what I like” and in this case, we’ve used several factors (layout, graphic design, overall aesthetic appeal, etc…) to form our opinion on whether a poster is any good or not. We’re sure you’ll think these 12 Worst Posters of 2015 are just as bad as we find them.
Let’s get this over with…
12. Fantastic Four
There hasn’t been a more controversial movie released this year than Fantastic Four (for pretty ignorant reasons). However, the fact remains the movie was a critical and financial disaster (read our Riskiest Box Office Bets of 2015 – Revisited) and the promotional material released for the film didn’t do it any favors. BLT Communications has been behind some really great posters this year for movies such as Inside Out, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and The Night Before, but they really struck out with this French poster for Fantastic Four.
There’s plenty to find fault with on this poster: from the tilted camera angle, to the cityscape street destruction (which never happened in the movie), to fiery comets raining down on the buildings (again, never happened), to the way Kate Mara is looking in a completely different direction than the other three members of her team. At least The Thing still looks decent, though, personally, we think he needs pants.
11. Terminator Genisys
Most sci-fi fans will agree that it’s past time for the Terminator franchise to take a break. We appreciate everything Arnold Schwarzenegger has done for the action genre in general, but he’s really beginning to show his age in films like these. None of that couldn’t keep the latest Terminator movie from being a huge box office success internationally, even if it’s one of the worst reviewed movies of 2015.
BLT Communications once again has produced a poster that appears to be way off in terms of quality from their other, better submissions. With the simple gradient background, the poster appears to be incomplete, as if the graphic artist working on it said “Meh, that’s good enough.” Like the trailer for the movie, the poster also gives away a major plot twist at the dead center of the image. Combine those things with Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) holding a Terminator head as a bowling ball (why does it have human teeth?) and it’s easy to see why this poster found a spot on our list this year.
Director Joe Wright has made some really enjoyable movies in the past. However, Pan won’t be remembered as one of them. He does the best he can with the weak script Jason Fuchs (Wonder Woman) has given him, but, ultimately, the movie is one of the biggest financial letdowns that Warner Bros. released this year. Garrett Hedlund and Rooney Mara try hard to make this an enjoyable family romp (Hugh Jackman tries too hard), and newcomer Levi Miller is solid as Peter, but the movie lacked soul throughout.
Like BLT Communications, Art Machine, A Trailer Park Company has produced some high quality posters this year for movies such as The Martian, Captain America: Civil War, and Mad Max: Fury Road, so this poster for Pan feels like they were “phoning it in” by comparison. If there is a poster with more Hollywood design clichés on it this year, we couldn’t find it (why must everything tilt?). Also, all of the shadows are pointing in a different direction based on the light source. Just like the movie, there isn’t much on this poster worth getting excited about – Peter Pan deserves better.
Amy Schumer’s raunchy style of stand-up comedy isn’t for everyone, and it’s generally an acquired taste, but her script for Trainwreck was downright pleasant and appealing to mainstream audiences. Bill Hader, Brie Larson, John Cena (in possibly his best performance to date) and believe it or not, Lebron James round out the cast nicely. Every character gels together in such a way that they serve a greater purpose in the overall story arc – something that doesn’t happen too often in modern films.
Trainwreck is one of our surprise favorites this year, which is why this Spanish poster for the movie is so disappointing. In the past, Ignition has designed some pleasing posters for movies such as Goosebumps, Boxtrolls and Godzilla, but this poster lacks all of the heart present in the film. While Amy doesn’t hide her promiscuity, at no time does she go running through downtown Manhattan wearing only a bed sheet and carrying her fabulous cheetah-print heels. That’s what we dislike the most about this poster, that it’s not true to the character Schumer created.
8. Dragon Warriors
It’s not often that a movie completely funded via a Kickstarter campaign turns out to be good, but Dragon Warriors surprised a lot of people when it eventually played at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. The sword and sorcery action/comedy was written and directed by Maclain Nelson (Vamp U) and Stephen Shimek (The Adventures of RoboRex) and starred James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210). There are no reviews for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes but IMDb users give it a 7.3/10 – so this movie should be on your viewing radar.
However, as successful as the funding campaign for Dragon Warriors was, this poster for the movie is equally unsuccessful. It’s not a complete failure, as the layout isn’t awful, and it shows all the important characters plus a dragon for good measure. Yet, something about the entire poster fells too “clean” for a movie set in a hypothetical medieval era where the majority of people didn’t bathe. There needs to be some grit added to the image to “dirty” it up slightly. The clichéd “Conan pose” doesn’t help either.
7. Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
Paul Blart: Mall Cop managed to endear itself to audiences in the early-2009 by showcasing Kevin James as a lovably goofy father who takes his job a tad too seriously – everything Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 failed to do. The movie took a character the general public found enjoyable to watch and turned him into a live action Peter Griffin, minus the humor and raunchiness. The movie was a still a financial success because Sony didn’t invest a whole lot into it, but it was critically panned by almost everyone unfortunate enough to watch it.
This German poster for the film, produced by BLT Communications, is a series of clichéd mistakes that embodies everything wrong with the movie poster industry. The scaling is way off with the buildings and the dolphins. The sky looks as if the graphic designer copy and pasted multiple times in order to cover up a previous logo. Finally, every single edge of the individual images looks like the person designing the poster rubbed them heavily with Photoshop’s blur tool. Someone should be ashamed to put their name on this poster.
6. Heist (a.k.a.Bus 657)
Director Scott Mann made his feature debut in 2009 with The Tournament. A movie that looked great in trailers but ultimately seemed to whiff once it released. It didn’t stink, but it was closer to the middle than it was to the top. He returns to the director chair nearly six years later with an all-star cast: Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kate Bosworth, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Morris Chestnut, D.B. Sweeney and Gina Carano. Unfortunately, even with all that talent in front of the camera, he’s just not able to massage enough interesting material from Stephen Sepher’s script to make this film enjoyable.
This Spanish poster for Heist, using its original (and better) title Bus 657, is a cornucopia of implausible images mashed together to produce one of the more laughable entries on our list. The bus appears to have recently been shot out of a cannon directly at the leading actors, while a RC-sized helicopter flies beside it. We’re not sure what Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character is aiming at but he might want to duck that bus. The tagline says “The Escape of the Century,” and we’re guessing that’s referring to the people lucky enough to not have laid eyes on this poster.
5. Daddy’s Home
Even going against the box office titan that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens this Christmas holiday, Daddy’s Home managed to make a modest return on its opening weekend. While critics across the board seemingly disliked the movie (for good reason), audiences gave it reasonably high marks. Director Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2) teamed up with writer Sean Anders (We’re the Millers) to tell the story about a step-dad (Will Ferrell) trying to earn the love of his new step-kids when their estranged (and much cooler) father (Mark Wahlberg) unexpectedly shows back up. With all that hubris, the movie should have been a laugh-a-minute – it was not.
We understand this poster for Daddy’s Home is attempting to display the differences between the Ferrell’s “clean-cut and buttoned-up” step-father persona and Wahlberg’s “bad boy” persona – that’s not our problem with it. The poster has been so touched up by the graphic artist that everything on it feels fake. Is it really so hard to take a photo of Wahlberg leaning against a motorcycle and place it side-by-side with Ferrell holding groceries next to a car that the only way to pull it off is in Photoshop? Hollywood needs to stop over-producing everything they touch and this poster is a perfect example of that.
4. The Rumperbutts
The Rumperbutts is the second movie on this list to have started out as a Kickstarter campaign. The movie reached its full funding rather quickly in early-2013 and enjoyed a limited release in May 2015. It’s the writing and directing debut for Marc Brener and stars Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, who star as Jack and Bonnie, a married indie band couple who is forced to take a job on a children’s television show after falling on hard times. The comedy found a quirky place in the hearts of viewers, and the soundtrack by Mates of State isn’t to be missed.
All of the magical quirkiness about The Rumperbutts is lost in this misguided poster for the film. There has to be a better way to show the five main characters for the movie than to just shove them all on the poster in a ridiculous way. They could’ve lost the keyboard and the drum set, then had more room for Vanessa Ray and Arian Moayed. Also, Jack and Bonnie are in those silly costumes for much of the film, so why did the graphic designer feel the need to cut and paste their faces into the poster? It looks fake and is largely unneeded. For such a low-budget movie, this poster sure is over-produced.
3. The Human Centipede 3
Shock writer/director Tom Six’s morbid trilogy mercifully came to an end this year with the final “sequence,” The Human Centipede 3. While the first film had a genuinely unique spin on horror, the second film took a “Saw” approach to the story by wallowing in everything the viewers found disgusting about the idea, rather than focus on the story. The third film doubled-down on that concept by becoming a narcissistic parody of itself. The story follows a prison warden (Dieter Laser) who decides, after watching The Human Centipede, that a good way to keep the prisoners “in line” would be to sew them all mouth to anus. He even brings in director Tom Six to find out if it can truly be done. Adult movie star Bree Olson also joins the macabre conga line.
We’re not even sure if we need to point out why this distasteful poster for The Human Centipede 3 is sitting at the number three spot on our Worst List but we’ll discuss the reason anyway. Art Machine, A Trailer Park Company gets credit for using a, shall we say, unique point-of-view, but we just can’t look passed the awfulness of the imagery. We could do without this image seared into our brains.
2. The Last Rescue
The Last Rescue was a middle-of-the-road war movie set during World War II that pleasant enough to watch. A sophomore outing for director Eric Colley (G.P.S), the story follows three American soldiers and two Army Corps nurses as they attempt to escape Germany after finding themselves behind enemy lines. The movie didn’t receive awful reviews from critics or audiences, but it definitely has a low budget, indie feel to it, which often works in its favor during some key action moments – they clearly put some thought behind the effort.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for this poster promoting the movie. Instead of giving viewers one to two key elements to focus on, the creator seems intent of throwing as much information at us about the story as possible. The result is a series of haphazard images displayed without proper scale, context or fluidity. None of the images scene on this poster ever happen at the same time during the movie – they’re just snapshots from at least five different scenes. It’s too bad the same effort put into the movie wasn’t used for the poster.
1. Hot Pursuit
While Hot Pursuit wasn’t the worst reviewed film in 2015, currently sitting with a 7% critic review and a 36% audience review on Rotten Tomatoes, it certainly tried its best to get there. Director Anne Fletcher (Step Up) doesn’t do an awful job directing here, but she can only coax so much out of the script TV show writers David Feeney and John Quaintance have given her. Reese Witherspoon is typically a solid actress and has been known to turn in above-average performances, but she tries too hard to be the “straight man” in this film and ends up floundering awkwardly.
We’re not sure who designed this wretched poster for Hot Pursuit but we don’t blame them for not taking credit – we wouldn’t either. When you have two beautiful actress like Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon headlining your movie, why would you want to completely leave them off the poster? There’s so much we find wrong with this poster: the font is terrible, the shadowing for the font is worse and to top it all off, the color makes us think of puréed squash. There’s nothing on this poster that tells a viewer what the movie is about or makes them want to see it – and that’s why it’s the worst poster we’ve seen this year.
We think this list is pretty exhaustive but there’s a few posters we definitely left out that were on the bubble. What do you think should be included? Let us know in the comments!