I have an amateur interest in design, something I’ve held since the ancient days of senior high school. While I never pursued an actual career in the field, art and design has always fascinated me. When blended with my love of cinema, however, it emerges as a passionate interest in good movie poster art – a love for the best ones, and a hard dislike of the worst (or the laziest).
Here, a little belatedly, are my top 10 picks for movie poster design from 2022.
I have not seen Katie Holmes’ Alone Together, but the poster immediately grabbed my eye due to its old-fashioned design values – its very 1960s – and its monochromatic presentation. You can afford to be this drawn-back and stylised in independent film because your target audience is looking for something different. For a big studio tentpole, it would be commercial suicide.
Red seems to have been a popular colour in American movie posters in 2022. I love this one for horror flick Barbarian because it sells the premise of the movie – albeit no more than the trailer does – and does it in an eye-catching way with a lot of open space. It manages to create a sense of claustrophobia. I know a lot of people dislike sideways text on promotional images, but I really like it here.
As I mentioned, red really seems to have been 2022’s colour. What else do you do when you’re releasing yet another in a seemingly endless chain of Batman sequels and reboots? The stark use of the one colour here does at least manage to stand out compared to not only previous Batman films but other superhero fare. The sketchy look of the text elements also brings to mind the David Fincher-esque aesthetic of the film itself.
Apart from the playful, comedic look, something I really love about horror prequel Pearl‘s poster is that it’s dominated by a giant X: X being the title of the original movie, of course. It also makes the spatters of blood a little more subtle than they might otherwise be.
There is no confusing what Disney/Pixar’s Turning Red is about from its poster. I love that both title a tagline are effectively subsumed by one of the film’s strongest assets: the boldly designed, anime-inspired red panda panicking front and centre. It is a deep shame that Disney went with Lightyear and Strange World for theatrical, and relegated Turning Red to Disney+. It isn’t simply a much better film, it’s promoted by a much better poster.
This is really bold and striking piece. There is so much motion implied in Cat Blanchett’s pose on the poster, enhanced by the bottom-left to top-right flow of her arms. If you miss the conductor’s baton in her hand you might never know what the film was about. The bold text adds yet more power: the three-letter title, just the name “Blanchett” above it – this is all about catching the eye and making a hammer-like impact.
Of course this is almost its visual opposite: so much brightness, so much space, and a remarkable stillness in the two leads. The subject matter – two women working to expose a powerful sexual abuser – is very well reflected in the imagery and the use of space. The film may have failed, but I suspect that was an issue of the subject matter in a contemporary American market and not the poster design.
I love the confidence of a poster that does not need a title on the poster. Everything it needs to say is right there is the picture. Of course, by releasing Halloween Ends on 31 October, it can have its cake and eat it too: the title is right there is a different context.
Something in the Dirt is absolutely superb, but it is a found footage science fiction thriller shot on a shoestring budget during the COVID-19 lockdown. The poster suggests something so much more elaborate and larger in scale. The ideas and execution Benson and Moorhead bring to their film are brilliant, but there is a hilarious manner in which the poster is kinda sorta lying to their prospective audience. I love it to bits.
Honestly my favourite movie poster of 2022: here’s why.
For one thing it has a classical composition to the photograph, guiding the eye and boasting a superb sense of movement. The large amount of sky pictured really opens it up, and feels genuinely inviting. Star Johnny Knoxville, flying up in the top corner, has a largely classical look as Icarus – yet the bright red sneakers puncture that mythic vibe and add a strong sense of absurdity. The tag line – “some people never learn” – is perfection. If you are a fan of Jackass then the poster immediately speaks to you. Frankly it doesn’t even need the title.
If you are keen to see another 10 great movie posters, check out my list from 2021.