Having pinned down the 15 Best Movie Posters of the 1980s, we now move on to the decade of the ’90s. While the ’80s gave us some amazing traditional illustrated posters, the 1990s was a transitional decade where studios and marketing companies started to rely heavily on photography. Prints and advertising (P&A) campaigns would key focus towards TV commercials more than ever before. Artists like Drew Struzan and John Alvin were looked as luxuries, as graphic designers and photo-illustration became the norm.
Even with this industry shift, some quintessential one-sheets were produced that are on par with the best selections from any era. Talented designers, art directors and illustrators would team together to create lasting images that not only sold the movie, but brought life to popular worlds and characters. No matter the genre from action films, drama, science fiction and blockbusters, these movie posters defined ’90s entertainment while influencing many storytellers of today.
While cinephiles may be disillusioned by the poster trends and templates that started in the ’90s, we embrace the rich creations that made us fans of certain movies. We picked out the best original theatrical posters, and they comprise our take on the 15 Best Movie Posters Of The 1990s.
15. INDEPENDENCE DAY
In 1996, 20th Century Fox rolled out a massive advertising campaign for this blockbuster, which included a pricey Super Bowl commercial, cross-promotional deals, various trailers and a big one-sheet push. The film’s massive success is tied directly to this cutting edge marketing plan that would be repeated and utilized by other studios going forward. The movie also made the July 4th holiday weekend perhaps the most coveted spot on the summer release schedule, one that studios still battle for today.
The movie itself is a ’50s science fiction B-movie on steroids, as creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin pumped it with big time special effects and action. The end result was the first true global disaster blockbuster that became one of the high-grossing films ever, making Will Smith into an A-list movie star in the process.
BLT Communications, LLC created three primary movie posters for the film’s release, with all three emphasizing the size of massive spaceships in comparison to the earth. While the teaser poster (style B) had the tagline “EARTH. Take a good look. It may be your last”, the main theatrical one-sheet tagline was: “We’ve always believed we weren’t alone. Only July 4, we’ll wish we were.” In destroying cities and national landmarks, Independence Day is now looked as the Godfather of mass destruction films.
It’s a safe bet that had smooth-talker Trent Walker (played by Vince Vaughn) looked at the movie poster for 1996’s Swingers, he would have told it: “You’re so money and you don’t even know it!” This quintessential Los Angeles comedy ended up becoming a piece of Hollywood lore. On a next-to-nothing budget, the film was a box-office hit, launching the Hollywood careers of three mega talents in Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow).
Written and starring Favreau, the indie hit was able to capture the singles nightlife in Hollywood while incorporating the swing revival that was occurring in the city at the time. The wonderful one-sheet is a natural extension of that party vibe, with Vince Vaughn front and center. His character serves as the M.C. of mayhem — a sort of out of control, skirt chasing Jiminy Cricket — wearing his shades as he offers you a martini to join.
From the matchbook logo and ’50s diner font, to the tagline: “Cocktails first. Questions later”, the poster sold free-wheeling adult fun to audiences. Tod Tarhan who was the creative director at Miramax Films at the time, helped design this poster, along with the B-theatrical one-sheet that included Favreau and Heather Graham in the design.