The 15 Best Movie Posters Of 2016

2016 is coming to a close, and even though This Week In Posters is one of our most popular features (please don’t @ me), I’ve never done a best of list. That seemed wrong. I thought heckfire, let’s make one! People on the internet love lists! And so without further ado, here are my picks for best posters of the year. And yes, there will be a separate post for worst posters. John Travolta has his own category in that one.

Honorable Mentions

I feel like a movie about a girl hunting with eagles could’ve gone less “inspirational” and more “flying domesticated dinosaur with razor sharp talons,” but hey, it’s still got a girl hunting with an eagle on it. I’ll take what I can get.

I don’t know if this Equals poster counts as best or worst, but it’s so bizarre that it warrants mention. What was the concept here and how was it explained? GRR, FACE NECKS.

I’m sure the movie wasn’t very good, but this poster was cool as hell.

Everyone knows how much I hate the diagonal horizon line at this point, but I think this one is less a diagonal horizon line than attempt to create the idea of a container being rocked from side to side. Which totally fits the theme, and in a non-literal way. Also it’s a striking pose, like he’s headbanging with a machete.

RIP, Anton Yelchin.

I almost put this poster in the worst pile, but I have to admit it’s a certain kind of brilliant. Every time it pops up while I’m browsing Netflix I stop and laugh. He’s a bad boy violinist! She’s a holier-than-thou ballerina! They have sex!

Yep. Lots of good posters from Lego Batman.

I reeeally didn’t like this movie, but this Dali-inspired poster does a great job selling the movie I wish it had been. This was on Denmark’s short list for foreign language Oscar, believe it or not.

They’re Puerto Ricans! In Paris! Look, I’m not saying that putting the Eiffel Tower in a poster about Paris is any kind of creative, but come on, that’s an awesome tagline.

I enjoyed the subtlety of an upside down Christmas tree poster for a December movie.

I still don’t really know or care what 10 Cloverfield Lane is about, but this was a cool poster. Also, I like to think that’s the same house from Heaven Is For Real.

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15. Purge: Election Year

The Purge 3 had a lot of stupid posters and is almost certainly a stupid movie, but credit where credit’s due, this poster is pretty great. As Ghostbusters proves, it’s hard to beat a strong logo. This one isn’t quite that (that’s why it’s 15th), but as far as graphic parodies that elegantly communicate a theme, it’d be hard to do much better than this.

14. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Can you believe Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out this year? I had to look that up to make sure. This might be the coolest poster for a bad movie ever made. The monochromatic design was a strong concept. I also like that they made the silhouette’s boobs real big. It’s the little things.

13. Doctor Strange

As one of the visually coolest movies of the year, it was only fitting that Doctor Strange should have a poster that was equally cool. That cape should be up for best supporting actor.

12. Jack Goes Home

So many posters depict internal conflict or psychological turmoil or multiple personalities, but few do it well. I never saw this, but that’s a damn fine poster. Also it kind of looks like Tommy Wiseau.

11. The Handmaiden

Get it? She’s the hand maiden. Who knew a poster could be simultaneously this strange and this painfully literal? Does “handmaiden” even lend itself to that pun in Korean? If not, this was as beautiful an accident as penicillin.

10. The Deadpool Venn Diagram

Deadpool was rightly ridiculed for essentially building an entire movie out of pandering to Reddit memes, but that was a smart strategy, considering the target audience. And lots of the time, it worked. Like in this poster, featuring Deadpool exploding out of a Douchebag/Hero Venn Diagram overlap that looks like a vagina. Also, the the circles look like boobs. This is so smart and so dumb at the same time, I love it.

9. Dunkirk

They made the Dunkirk evacuation look like the giant wave planet from Interstellar. That’s wonderful.

8. De Palma

De Palma is a movie for movie lovers, and fittingly, the posters are dense with homage. These are just beautifully executed. The way path of the bullet follows the debris from the car, (*Italian chef kissing fingers*).

7. Karate Kill

It’s hard to make a poster better than the title of “Karate Kill,” yet this one accomplishes it. I like that his fist made everything explode. It really helps drive home the destructive power of his fist. And then there’s the bare breast being artfully obscured by fist explosion flame, and then the kicker, “From the Director of GUN WOMAN.”

This is just wonderful all the way around.

6. King Cobra

A lot of posters are subtle with their phallic symbols. Others, not so much. Any poster with a knife dick automatically makes the list.

5. The Nice Guys

Look, posters don’t have to be complicated. This one has Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, and ’70s clothes. And that’s all it needed. I’m sold as hell. Extra points for Gosling’s arm cast, the font, and for actually lining the names up with the faces. Weirdly I don’t think I noticed Baby Goose’s dick bulge until now. Nice bulge, bro.

4. The Neon Demon

In terms of sheer volume of awesome posters, Neon Demon was a close second to High-Rise. I’d expect nothing less from a director who self-financed the most expensive book of movie poster art.

It also inspired me to make this:

3. Alien: Covenant

It’s rare that leaving the title off the poster entirely is a good idea, but I think this Alien: Covenant poster is actually stronger without it. More important that you know there’s an Alien movie than you knowing the (dumb) title.

2. John Wick: Chapter 2

I’m still a little miffed that John Wick: Chapter 2 didn’t use John Wick’s awesome pit bull partner in a poster. As I first wrote when I introduced this film’s first poster, I thought I had a pretty good idea how to run this marketing campaign.

For the next poster, I’d like to see a furious Keanu standing over a dog-shaped coffin. Or even just the dog coffin alone, so you just have to imagine how pissed John Wick is going to be. Or, since it’s a sequel, maybe there should be two dead dogs. There’s always more in sequels. “Vengeance? They double-dog dared him!”

So, a little disappointing. Still, I couldn’t deny the awesomeness of these posters.

That second one is a reference to Two-Gun Gussie, which I’m sure we all caught.

1. High Rise

Not even a specific poster, just the entire poster campaign for High Rise. These are all beautiful. Just when you think it can’t get any better than Luke Evans filming you in the bathroom, BOOM, there’s Jeremy Irons and a dog. Well done, High Rise, you are our poster(s) of the year.