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Top 5 Movie Posters of 2023

Most people haven’t seen the 2023 movie Kids vs Aliens. It’s a low-budget film, it never came to movie theaters (though you can currently find it on Hulu), and it didn’t garner any buzz on social. But once you get a peak at its movie poster—with its eye-catching neon coloration and fantastic, almost-not-ready-for-prime-time tagline—you just might be queuing it up.

Such is the power of a great movie poster… and 2023 had a lot of them. From M3GAN to Barbie and John Wick: Chapter 4 and Oppenheimer, 2023 delivered arguably as many top-notch posters as it did movies with names in the title. So, in a year swimming with high-quality movie posters, which ones were the best?

Here are five posters that engage the eye, tell a story, and function beautifully as standalone works of art…

1. Cocaine Bear

A standout poster from one of the best movie marketing campaigns of the year.

What’s great about it:

The bright white against black plays up the cocaine concept. The vicious but also cartoonish bear reflects the film’s lightweight tone. The pop of blood red with the word “bear” in an active font adds an element of horror. The “based on a true story” at the top disorients and intrigues. And the additional pun tagline “get in line” offers a final chuckle, a reminder that it’s all for laughs.

2. In the Land of Saints and Sinners

The poster for this underseen Liam Neeson thriller uses contrast, type, and space to great effect.

What’s great about it:

The top half reverses the bottom (light background and black text vs. black background and light text) reflecting the “saints” and “sinners” theme of the movie. Old san serif typography in all caps floods two thirds of the poster doing the heavy lifting. The subtle visuals give the viewer a taste of what the movie is about (this guy has done some bad things and there’s going to be some bodies). Very small underneath the title is the tagline: “Can you bury your past?”

3. They Cloned Tyrone

Damn…

What’s great about it:

The scratched-up orange background, not a color you see often, draws attention while giving off a grindhouse feel. The simple tagline “Damn…” is both funny and effective (that ellipsis is critical, changing the reading significantly versus “Damn.”). The shape and positioning of the faces, so you start on the left before discovering the head-turned clone, is a cool piece of design that invites repeat inspection.

4. Godzilla Minus One

Much more subtle than you would expect from a movie about a giant lizard stomping a city.

What’s great about it:

Different than what we typically get from a monster movie: It’s a primarily white background whereas most are flooded with color. The image inside the swoosh catches the monster from the side; its scales prominent. The “Minus One” typography masks the rest of the image, which looks like an coastline. The swishing movement of the mark, the mask, and the type itself is all very painterly. The mark even drips like it’s been painted with a calligraphy brush.

5. The Killer

Echoing the plot of the film, not even the poster is safe from getting whacked.

What’s great about it:

Along with its oil painting style and muted color palette (fitting for the film), what makes this one really stand out is the treatment of the title. It takes a minute to register, but when it does it immediately brings a smile to your face. The “i” is laying down flat and in its place there’s a bullet hole. Blood drips from the hole and spatter covers the “l”. Despite the novelty, one has no trouble reading the title—often without even noticing the dead letter. Brilliant.

Want more thoughts on the best movie poster marketing?

Check out this recent podcast episode where we talk through our picks for favorite movie posters of 2023 (and somehow end up discussing the 1989 Fred Savage-Nintendo flick The Wizard). You can also take a gander at this post spotlighting the 20 best movie posters of all time.

Photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

AUTHOR: Shad Connelly
ORIGIN: Communications Director @ MONSTERS Unlimited

Follow Shad on Speaking Human  /  Human Content from Shad

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