Face it, Hollywood

I was wasting time on IMDb today, and it looked unusually repetitive. And then I noticed a weird phenomenon:

… in case it’s not vibratingly obvious, all the posters are straddled by two big faces. At least with After Earth, the Smiths have the goddamn courtesy to look at slack-jawed M Night fans and demand that they hand over their cold hard cash. Zach, Ken, Amy and Alexis are all too busy about to make out and/or fight to even bother looking at us.

This may be a good thing – it would be disturbing if Will Smith and his son looked at each other like they were about to make out and fight.

It seems like this is another trend in movie posters that is getting tired. Just like the ol’ orange-and-blue colour scheme seems to be the go-to solution for uninventive designers (and, more often than not, bad movies), the face-to-face technique gives some automatic tension and/or sexy vibe to any poster. At least it would, if it weren’t so ridiculously over-used.

Seriously, the Hangover III poster is a deliberate spoof of this Harry Potter 7.2 poster, which tells you a little bit about how repetitive this thing is getting. When the Hangover guys are identifying a cultural trend, that should be an emergency alarm to tired poster artists and designers to get another bag of tricks.

The technique isn’t exactly new. But with certain other movies, it worked. The very titles of Face to Face and Face/Off practically begged for this kind of composition.

Face to Face poster

Classy stuff. Kind of like The Master poster, but less ugly.

Face/Off poster

The different eye shapes have always annoyed me though.

So there are your two basic options: Human 1 and Human 2 (or in Bergman’s case, Human 1a and 1b) look at each other intensely, strongly suggesting that they will fight and/or have sex, or; Human 1 and Human 2 look together at the audience with almost mirrored faces, with a slightly less strong suggestion that they will fight and/or have sex.

Anyway, the more you look for these kinds of posters, the more you see it EVERYWHERE. The basic message this design sends is ‘FIGHTING AND/OR SEX WILL HAPPEN BETWEEN THESE PEOPLE.’ And yes, this includes Seth Rogan and Barbra Streisand, Pi and the Tiger, and Jeremy Irvine and his horse.

(Aaron Eckhart: Repeat Offender)

I've never heard of this film either, but it combines BOTH techniques, so must have twice as much fighting/sexing.

So yes. That’s a thing I’ve noticed. Not that it’s new.

So this is a technique that’s stretched from The Big Hangover to The Hangover Part III. And I wouldn’t take any lessons from The Big Hangover, personally. After all, that starred Van Johnson, and he was also in this:

Just… wow. ‘When is a Miss “Too Young to Kiss”‘?

SO. Conclusion: two big faces on a poster is massively over-used, frequently looks terrible, and often promotes an even worse film. Hollywood, STOP IT.

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