Magic in the Moonlight
It’s hard to even know where to start with this one: Emma Stone’s bizarrely oversize hands, the indiscriminate source of light (the sun apparently shines on Firth’s face, but not Stone’s), the blurry background that makes the whole thing look like it was shot in a Sears photo studio. But for me, the kicker is Firth’s hat, which seriously looks like it was cut out of a catalog with scissors and pasted on with an Elmer’s stick. This is the filmmaker behind some of the most iconic movie posters of our time; this looks like it was put together ten minutes before it was due in a junior high art class, where it got an F.
Still, Magic is positively professional compared to this little gem, which may just beat The Heat for the worst Photoshop job in movie poster history. And look, I get it: maybe they just couldn’t get all of these gentlemen to the same photo shoot at once, what with Mr. Christensen’s busy schedule of ruining movie franchises, and Mr. Brown’s full domestic violence dance card. But this is some kind of a miracle: every single head looks absolutely wrong for the body it’s attached to, aside from Michael Ealy (who was clearly just dropped in from an unrelated still, possibly from another movie) and Idris Elba, who, let’s face it, is incapable of looking awkward.
The Accidental Husband
“Awkward” only begins to describe this little gem from 2008. Uma looks flawless (as always), but why isn’t Colin Firth actually looking at her? Is he trying to make eye contact with Jeffrey Dean Morgan? Better yet, is he trying to figure out how and why Morgan is using a 15-year-old boy’s arm and hand to tap Uma on the shoulder? Or why his other arm appears to be a stub? Oh, and there are also flowers and the Chrysler Building, so you know it’s a New York romantic comedy. And we’ve never had a tougher choice than deciding if this poster or its alternate was worse:
The King’s Speech
OK, seriously, what did Colin Firth do to deserve all of this? Does his family own some kind of upstart Photoshop competitor?
X-Men: First Class
I don’t know about you, but if I were tasked with the job of signaling to moviegoers that a popular superhero series was rebooting, the imagery I’d go with would definitely be the faces of our hot young stars, superimposed over the crotches of the beloved characters they were taking over.
The Whole Ten Yards
Sometimes, an ugly movie poster manages to perfectly convey the half-ass, no-shits-to-give spirit of the picture it’s advertising. Take, for example, the campaign for this stunningly unfunny 2004 sequel to the amusing-enough 2000 Bruce Willis/Matthew Perry comedy. Perry’s head looks literally drawn on, Kevin Pollack’s “Kilroy Was Here” appearance is nearly as distracting and gratuitous as his work in the film itself, and there’s a whole sad short story to be told in whatever the hell is happening in Bruce Willis’ neck/head area.
All About Steve
This one, for the critically drubbed 2009 Sandra Bullock vehicle, is (like the movie) mostly just inexplicable. Ken Jeong looks like a paper doll. Bradley Cooper seems to be staring at something far out of frame (a paycheck, perhaps?). Sandra Bullock is… I dunno, screaming about her umbrella? Only Thomas Haden Church seems to fit, since he’s wearing the expression of anyone who sees this poster.
Yeah, some questions are best left unanswered.
Don’t forget: there was a time before Photoshop, when images had to be manipulated in a less sophisticated manner — or, even better (or worse, in cases like this one), you’d hire an artist to draw the breakdancers and popped collars of your ‘80s dance epic/Beat Street rip-off.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
I had to go to IMP Awards (basically the IMDb of movie posters) to confirm this was a real poster that Paramount actually put out, and not, say, one of those weird international bootleg covers. But nope, this is the real deal: cartoon Kirk and Spock, confused by the punk rockers and boom boxes of the 1980s, a plot you can almost read on the white text in front of the lightly colored rainbow. And speaking of that rainbow: did I mention it takes place in San Francisco? Subtle!