An enormous amount of money and effort goes into a movie’s marketing campaign. Marketing, in fact, is often as important — and in some cases, more important — than the actual quality of the film in getting it seen. This explains both the success of Kevin James and Newton’s little known 4th Law of Motion: Show a fat man falling down to the right people and a truly sh*tty film can make millions. In addition to the usual mix of marketing — trailers, web ads, billboards, bus banners and custom urinal cakes — a simple movie poster can often make or break the success of a movie. Of course, a lot of components go into a movie poster — taglines, marquee names, and critic blurbs — but made-up science has demonstrated time and time again that the most important aspect of any great movie poster is a well-placed booty.
Obviously, the gold standard of booty imagery is Megan Fox’s ass stradling a motorcycle. Who doesn’t want to see a movie where a hot chick dry humps a Harley that turns into a robot that turns into a black stereotype? Perfect, right? That’s not so easy to essentiate in a movie poster, but there has been some success over the years. Take, for example, The Unborn. There’s a terrifically awful film that boasted little star power and opened on what is the deepest release graveyard on the release schedule: The first weekend of the year. It was also a PG-13 movie. Fun Fact: There’s no such thing as a good PG-13 horror movie. And yet, despite all it had going against it, The Unborn opened to the tune of nearly $20 million. How do you explain that success? One simple reason: Movie Poster Booty.
Come. Take my hand (no, not in a gay way. In a Neil Diamond way). Let’s take a gander at history’s best and worst examples of movie-poster booty.
How did a dreadful sequel to McG’s Charlie’s Angels manage to open with nearly $40 million even though it featured Shia LaBeouf (don’t remember? Look it up) and despite the absence of the first film’s truest star, Tom Greene? The secret ingredient: Tight black leather and two fingers featured between two cheeks.
Next to The Unborn, this Sienna Miller character poster for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is perhaps the best use of movie poster booty of the decade. Result: A $54 million opening weekend, and a lot of upset G.I. Joe fans who got a lot more ass than they bargained for.
It’s not a backside view, but this kinda-but-not-really iconic movie poster for Sin City takes terrific advantage of Jessica Alba’s significant assets. There’s no actual booty, but the suggestion is there all the same. Result: $30 million opening weekend.
Frank Miller tried to pull movie poster booty stunt again with The Spirit, but his failure was in the pose. Eva Mendes looks like she’s about to do something you typically only see on fetish websites and Farrelly Brothers movies. Result: A pathetic $6 million opening weekend. Booty Fail.
The Hitman’s mixed success (a $13 million opening) can be solely attributed to the mixed success of its poster. Look, man: You don’t mix genders in movie-poster booty. It’s confusing. And when the dude is Timothy Olyphant, you’re not quite sure who your boner is for.
Side-booty is an interesting choice here but again, the pose and the hand placement almost suggest Bridget Fonda’s morning constitutional. There’s a fine line, folks, between a nice ass and watching a chick take a dump. Result: A mediocre $13 million opening coming off of Tarantino’s break-out hit, Pulp Fiction.
Has anyone seen This Film Is Not Yet Rated? No, of course you haven’t. Someone branded that poor woman’s ass. That’s not cool. Why would you do that to perfectly nice movie-poster booty? You don’t take your most valued asset and stamp it with a hot iron poker. Opening weekend: $30,000. And that came strictly from the sadists.
Here’s the problem with this poster: It’s a nice form, but she’s laughing at you. No man wants to be laughed at while he’s admiring a woman’s backside. It’s insulting. It provokes insecurity. It leaves you wondering what she’s laughing at. Only $143,000 in movie viewers had enough confidence to overlook it.
Secretary is obviously a brilliant film, one that helped to kick Maggie Gyllenhaal’s career. But most of its success came on DVD. It only mustered $4 million overall at the box office and no wonder! That’s just an ass with legs. There’s nothing sexy about an ass with legs, especially if you’re pediophobic.
Why is the Title Banner in the way? Why is the Title Banner in the way? What’s wrong with these movie poster designers! You cost Cameron Crowe the $50 million opening weekend he deserved. You dont’ cover up a perfectly good ass with a banner. Result: $6 million opening weekend.
You know who else should die? The people who made this movie. One of the worst films of the decade nevertheless managed a $14 million opening weekend thanks to that well-designed movie poster.
A $27 million opening weekend sounds decent, until you learn that the film cost $150 million to make Beowulf and it only eked out $82 million overall at the box office. The lesson here is simple: Never feature an ass with brown mist spraying out from behind it. Rookie mistake.
The terrible Roger Moore years in the Bond franchise also sported terrible movie posters, specifically this one for For Your Eyes Only, which looks like a giant woman in a bikini taking a dump on James Bond. The $6 million opening in 1981 was only good for number three at the box office. A Bond film opening at number 3?