At some point in life, almost everyone has heard the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover," but can the same be said for movies? Aren't movie covers and posters supposed to be sensational? The sole purpose of a movie poster is to visually attract potential spectators enough to actually watch the film. Therefore, they will often feature the lead actors and enough visual elements to make the movie seem enticing, while also giving viewers a general idea of what the film is about.
Keeping this in mind, these posters are created by humans, and humans very often make mistakes. It's in our nature. Each movie cover or poster in this list is a product of human error. These slip-ups range from the minor to the completely ridiculous. Though the severity of these errors vary, one thing is certain: once you see them, you will never be able to unsee them.
16 300 (2006)
Kicking off the list is everyone’s favorite Spartan, Gerard Butler. Upon first glance, this 300 poster is everything an action buff could ever desire. The title appears to be written in the blood of the Spartan’s enemies; there are soldiers equipped with body armor, swords, and shields engaged in epic battle, and the foreground features just the right ratio of Butler’s pectorals to abdominals to attract any moviegoer.
So then what’s the problem? Take a look at Gerard Butler’s sword hand. Do you see it? It appears that the star of the show is such an epic warrior that his sword just levitates behind his hand. Yep, that's right. There's definitely some faulty Photoshop at work here. It seems that while the cover designers managed to get the sword into the picture, they failed to actually place the hilt in Butler’s hand. Whoops?
15 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010)
As we all know, the Potterverse defies all the laws of physics: cars fly, people walk through walls, invisibility cloaks exist. Generally, there's just a lot of magical happenings, which is to be expected when the plot surrounds a school of witchcraft and wizardry. However, the magic appearing in this poster is most likely unintentional.
Let's bring it back to art class and talk a little bit about perspective. Upon first glance, you see that Harry and Hermione are in a train car and it appears that the door is closing. Now, look closer at Harry's head. He's not quite in the train car is he? Nope, in fact, if we follow the rules of perspective, he would most definitely be caught in the door of the train. In order for this poster to be in proper perspective, Harry would need to be photoshopped within the doorway...or he could just "Flipendo" the door open - this is Harry Potter after all.
14 The Dark Knight (2008)
While most would probably agree that Christopher Nolan’s 2008 effort, The Dark Knight, is flawless, the Photoshop in this poster...not so much. At first glance, everything looks fine. We have Batman looking over his city, being the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs, you already know. But wait, look at where the Caped Crusader is positioned. It seems that we have another case of faulty perspective on our hands.
Basically, Batman is photoshopped so close to the window that it appears he is standing directly in front of a relatively thick pole, which would not grant him an awesome view of Gotham, but an excellent view of that beautiful support beam. For Bats to really be able to appreciate the spectacular view, he would need to be moved further into the foreground, where he would not be inches away from a structural object and he could truly appreciate his city.
13 Highlander: Endgame (2000)
Highlander: Endgame appears to be another case of the floating sword. Can you spot it? Here’s a hint, only one of the characters is improperly holding their sword…If you noticed that Christopher Lambert, or the guy on the left, is not quite holding his sword in this photo, then you are indeed correct.
It seems that Adrian Paul, on the right side of the cover, looks to have received a properly photoshopped sword in his left hand. As you can see, his fingers are actually around the hilt of the sword (always a plus). Lambert, however, has a sword photoshopped over his closed fist, so it appears to be floating in front of his hand. Since his character is immortal, maybe this is not so out of bounds, but it probably wasn't the intention of the designers who worked on this cover.
12 16 Blocks (2006)
The thing with most of the mistakes mentioned so far is that they are relatively subtle, so until someone points them out, you wouldn't really notice them. This is another example of one of those nuanced mistakes. When you look at this poster, you see Bruce Willis and Mos Def in two very action oriented scenarios. Mos Def appears to be running down a city block, while Bruce Willis is shooting a gun. Wait a second, is Bruce Willis really shooting that gun? Check out his trigger finger. It's actually lying flat against the gun barrel instead of being in the curled position necessary to actually pull the trigger.
Essentially, Bruce Willis has a self-firing gun, which could definitely be awesome in an action movie, but it probably wasn't an intentional move on the designers' part.
11 Street Kings (2008)
This poster demonstrates yet another self-firing gun, but there is a definitive difference. Where Bruce Willis' magical projectile skills were considered a "nuanced" mistake, Keanu Reeves' self-firing gun is a much more glaring error. It's not as glaring as some of the other errors that appear later on this list, of course, but definitely more noticeable than some of the previous slip-ups.
If you look closely at Reeves' hand, you can see that he actually has both hands on the base of the gun, and no finger on the trigger, yet his gun appears to be firing a bullet. In order to correct this mistake, designers would need to use a picture of Reeves with his finger actually pulling the trigger, or they would need to remove the appearance of the firing projectile off the left edge of the poster. Either one would've worked, but neither definitely doesn't.
10 Watchmen (2009)
At the arrival of this entry on our list, we have moved past the self-firing gun and upgraded to the self-firing flamethrower. When you first look at this poster, you may initially be overwhelmed by the awesomeness that is the flaming background coupled with Jeffery Dean Morgan as The Comedian lighting his cigar with the aforementioned flamethrower. However, if you look closely at his right hand, you can see that he is actually holding the handle of the flamethrower, but not the actual trigger, much like our former Photoshop victims Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis.
So, while this poster is still indeed awesome, and it very much embodies the essence of Eddie Blake, once you see this mistake, it's pretty much the only thing you can focus from there on out.
9 Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi (1983)
Before anyone gets upset, we know that the final movie was called Return of the Jedi, but did you know that George Lucas had previously landed on another title? That's right, before there was Return of the Jedi, there was Revenge of the Jedi. The film's initial designation made it far beyond the working title stages. In fact, the production company even started making posters to promote the new film - and they weren't all winners.
On this poster is a mistake that will make even the most lighthearted Star Wars fan cringe. If you look closely at the battle engaged outlines of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, you'll notice that they're each holding the wrong colored lightsabers. Luke Skywalker looks to be holding the red lightsaber of the Sith, while Darth Vader is holding a Jedi blue lightsaber. So not only did the poster feature the incorrect title (because revenge is a very "un-Jedi" thing to do), but it also implies that Luke has crossed over to the dark side. If recent rumors hold true, however, the production team behind this poster may have just jumped the gun by a few decades on the whole evil Luke thing.
8 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
This next entry is for all of our grammar police in the audience. Reservoir Dogs is one of the first films that Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed that really established his style for future filmography. The poster features a more minimalist approach than others we've covered in this list, which leads viewers to more closely inspect the typography.
Upon this particular inspection, if you're up on your grammar game, you can see that there is actually an error in the statement "Lets Go To Work." Instead of the featured "Lets Go To Work", of course, it should be "Let's Go To Work." While this may have been an intentional mistake made for the sake of aesthetics - maybe production preferred the look of "Lets" to "Let's" - it's an unforgettable error for those of who, you know, prefer our movie posters to be grammar error-free.
7 Byzantium (2012)
The mistake in this poster is less about grammar and more about a slight misprint of words. The Byzantium poster was trying to draw viewers in by not only showcasing the cast, but also showcasing that the movie was created by the filmmakers responsible for Interview with a Vampire.
Hold on, Interview with a Vampire? That's close, but not quite right. The title should actually be written as Interview with the Vampire. It seems that the poster designers misremembered and printed the incorrect title. To be fair and completely honest, we're pretty sure that most people refer to this movie as Interview with a Vampire, so the designers of this poster can be somewhat forgiven for their one word error. Somewhat.
6 Snakes on a Plane (2006)
This next poster mistake takes a bit of puzzle solving before you can really see it. When first observing this one, you can see that there are two snakes winding around a plane in the likeness of a caduceus, which is the medical symbol that coincidentally also features two snakes winding around a rod with wings.
Now, here's where your puzzle solving skills come in. Look closer at the snakes. If you follow the winding body of the reptiles around the plane, you can actually see that there's a missing segment, or piece of the puzzle, from the snakes body on the right. The snake on the left fully winds around the plane, while the snake on the right is seemingly hanging on for dear life. This again may have been intentional on the designers part to make the snakes appear less bulky, but it's a clear visual error nonetheless.
5 Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
The poster for Basic Instinct 2 is yet another test in the art of subtlety. You see Sharon Stone, sitting in a regal looking chair, a cracked mirror behind her with the reflection of a man in it. (Not just any man, mind you, but David Morrissey, aka the Governor from The Walking Dead.)
Anyway...her hair is wet, and she looks slightly dejected with a cigarette. The thing is though, her hair may be wet from an onlookers perspective, but if you look in the mirror again, her hair is looking significantly more dry. Who knows, maybe she decided to only blow dry the back of her head? Perhaps it dried quicker due to natural causes, like a draft of some sort? But more than likely, there was probably another version of the poster floating around with a completely dry Stone who was later replaced with the damp version.
4 Spider-Man 2 (2004)
This poster is what one would expect from a Spider-Man movie. There's Spidey, there's Mary Jane, and there's an angled view of New York City implying that the pair are traveling via the "web." One thing that is slightly unexpected though is the position of Mary Jane's arm.
At first, it looks like her arm is placed in a position that could be natural and probable in real life, if you were hanging on to a web-slinging man-spider, anyway. But then, if you give the picture a good, long look, you begin to realize that maybe her arm doesn't look so natural? In fact, it appears that her arm would have to be an absolutely ridiculous length, about ten feet long or so, to be able to hold on to Spider-Man like that.
3 Ong Bak 2 (2008)
With its impressive display of Muay Thai martial artistry, Ong Bak inspired just about everyone who watched it to take some sort of self defense or martial arts class to try and become an elite fighter. Emphasis on try.
The poster featured above is for the sequel to the original hit movie. While this slice of advertising definitely contained the key elements necessary to attract their target audience to check the next film out, there is a fairly noticeable mistake that could definitely detract from the poster.
If you look at the character on the right side, you'll notice that from head to knee, everything appears to be in order. His sword appears to actually be in his grip, his limbs seem a correct length, and he doesn't look particularly out of place riding on his elephant. But from the knee down, the whole thing goes off the rails a bit. If you look at his feet, you'll see...well, he actually has no feet. The more you look at it, the more ridiculous it seems.
2 Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
For our final entry, we have the ridiculous perfection that is the Bangkok Dangerous movie poster. Not only does the poster feature everyone's favorite actor Nicolas Cage, but there's just so many glaring errors that it makes you question how nobody noticed how awkward the poster looked.
First, let's address Nic's left arm. It's awkwardly reaching into his jacket, making it appear as if he is reaching into the depths of his soul to procure a weapon. Now, let's look at his right hand. This is not just a case of a self firing gun. There is no gun. Clearly, Cage was supposed to have a firearm in his right hand, as demonstrated by the positioning of his fingers, but the designers failed to Photoshop the gun in. At first glance, maybe these errors aren't all that obvious, but after you see them, there's simply no going back.
1 Honorable Mention: High School Musical 2 CD Cover
While this sneaky last entry may not be an actual movie poster, the cover picture was simply too hilarious for us to pass up. We never would have pegged the High School Musical franchise as a source for a realistic depiction of anything, really, but even for a Disney Channel Original Movie, this CD art is really pushing it.
Basically, half of the characters have an unnatural number of appendages. Monique Coleman (far right) has 6 fingers, Lucas Grabeel (second from right) has 3 hands, and Vanessa Hudgens (third from right) has a 3rd hand coming out of her arm. If we're creating a list of different cover mistakes, it seems plain wrong to leave this gem out. Hey, at least the three folks on the left seem to have been spared the unwanted additions.
That concludes our list of the 15 most unforgettable movie poster mistakes you can't unsee. Did we miss any movie posters with glaring errors? Let us know in the comments!