15 Grossly Misleading Movie Posters
Movies are both an art form and a business, so while it's the artist's vision that dictates the direction, it is sadly entirely up to clean shaven men with business degrees to decide how to sell it. And while we understand it's their job to twist the truth to maximize a movie's appeal, sometimes they go completely insane and just start making shit up. Occasionally, they hit on a better idea than the movie ever did...
...but mostly it's just this kind of crap:
District 9 - Thailand
District 9 was a mockumentary about aliens living in a shanty-town in South Africa, all but stripped of their precious technology. It was a parable for racism, and yes, a single 10- to 12-foot robot suit figures in the plot.
So why is that giant robot smashing an entire city beneath his boot-heel and swatting the tiny helicopters out of the air? Hell, if you have to make blatantly false giant robot claims to sell tickets in Thailand, why not just fill the poster with a whole army of...
Lord of the Rings - Spain
Europe loves depressing, hopelessly bleak tragedies about people dying slowly, or perhaps in a concentration camp. So when the movie promoted is roughly 270 minutes of dragons and elves screaming while running with swords, you're pretty well screwed.
Your only option is to promise the audience a black and white movie about a grandfather who hugs little boys and hope the Spanish don't have a word for "refund." This isn't an action movie, guys; it's an Oscar winning flick about hugs, sad goodbyes and eccentric old men with funny hats. Who probably dies of cancer in a concentration camp.
Cujo - Ghana
In this poster, we see Cujo the Luck Dragon crying red tears of sadness, because his best friend is a little boy who's had his genitals replaced with a bag of hot dog buns and is fucking furious about it. Also, his mother is Christopher Walken's mentally challenged twin sister.
Of course, Cujo isn't a baffling prequel to The Neverending Story, but the story of a rabid dog who viciously kills half a dozen people. Of all the cynical deception taking place on this list, this one has to be the most mean-spirited. Yes, let's give African children something else to cry about.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - U.S.
If you're having trouble remembering the part in the final Harry Potter book when Voldemort turns London into a giant rave, that's because it didn't happen. What did happen is that the kids who grew up reading about Harry have moved on to Twilight, so the studio apparently decided they could cash in by portraying a confused or possibly constipated teenage girl wandering helplessly without the guidance of her big, strong, man with supernatural powers.
Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone- Poland
Polish movie posters are famous for making absolutely no goddamned sense, so it should come as no surprise that in Poland the adventures of Dr. Jones are represented as a millipede-whip literally skull-fucking Cthulhu's cranium. After all, what better way to market a lighthearted, action-adventure movie than showing some grotesque Metalhead tattoo, surrounded by walls of melting bone?
Now you might be tempted to think that this was an honest mistake. Raiders has some slightly creepy moments. Maybe they were taking two of the world's longest pees during everything except the snake scene. You'd realize your mistake when you saw the Polish poster for cheesy, romantic adventure Romancing the Stone ...
... at which point you'd realize that there was only one graphic designer in all of Poland during the 80s, and he was raped by ghosts as a child.
Saw VI - Hong Kong
While the hot nurse that never appears in Saw VI is pretty deceptive, what really shows a dedication to misdirection is the change in tagline: This one reads "struggle in a world filled with crazy, demonic love," and "Enter the door that will save you," respectively.
So you head in to the movie expecting to see some sort of hell-based romantic comedy, which we're just going to go ahead and assume is a booming genre in China, and instead you get two straight hours of good ol' fashioned American Torture Porn. The Chinese can be forgiven for nurturing a deep mistrust and fear of Americans now, believing that we think makin' a dude chop his dong off is just "crazy love."
Ice Age 3 - South Korea
South Koreans love tiny mechanical things. Sometimes too much. It's like they have a disease that causes them to see robots where there are none. This was a cartoon about mammals in the Ice Age, wasn't it? Did they do another cut for the Korean market where the cast of lovable lil' animals were replaced with mech warriors out to save the Life-Nut from Shira: The 12th Planet-Mistress?
Sex and the City - Poland
If you've never seen nor heard of Sex and the City before, then A) tell us where you live, and how flexible the Visa laws are there, and B) you could be forgiven for thinking it sounds pretty awesome. The title makes it sound like it's a non-stop Festival of Ass and the poster only reinforces that notion, depicting both the lead and supporting actresses as giant disembodied tits.
How many Polish males went to see this thing only to find out that it's mostly "sex" as a topic of conversation for middle-aged women to make terrible puns about?
Aliens - Poland
Aliens, as we all know, was the brave story of a woman trying to retain her beauty and confidence despite her crippling case of acid reflux disease.
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor - Ghana
If you never saw the made-for-TV Ewoks: Battle for Endor, let us just assure you that it doesn't feature a deformed Han Solo blowing away sword-wielding ape-demons. Something that awesome never even comes close to happening in this movie. Things that awesome don't even sit at the same table in the cafeteria as this movie. Things that awesome are actually required to stay 100 feet away from this movie at all times.
The Aviator - U.S.
This is a prime example of taking one scene entirely out of context and basing all of your marketing around that. In this case, Aviator appears to be an action movie about World War II era stunt pilots trying to kill the desert with kamikaze missions. In fact most of the movie was about Leonardo DiCaprio pissing in jars. But hell, we're not going to argue with a movie that won so many awards it had to dedicate half of its poster space to praise. Just look at all those prizes; someone should give them a prize for winning so much.
Nightmare on Elm Street - Japan
If you can't throw a robot on an Asian movie poster, at the very least you can imply it all takes place in the Matrix.
The Day the Earth Stood Still - U.S.
The Day the Earth Stood Still was a harsh critique of humanity's tendency to resort to violence before asking questions. A friendly alien of the non-anal probing kind arrives with a message for mankind, so we immediately try to kill it. But along the way, we learn the alien is a pacifist who eventually puts us back in touch with nature and kindness.
Well, fuck that!
If you want to have a blockbuster you need action, war, eye-lasers, giant robots, a damsel in distress and the implication of a Galactus-scale giant monkey who wants to slam dunk the Earth into slavery.
Mad Max: Road Warrior - Ghana
"Quick we need a poster for a movie called Road Warrior!"
"Well, I have this half finished Rambo drawing..."
"Ha ha, shit! That is terrible, what do you have, spinal meningitis?"
"Shut up! I had a hard time to start with: Somebody had already drawn a sassy Latino woman on my canvas. Frankly I'm astounded I got it as close to Rambo as I did."
"Well, hell, might as well go whole hog. Throw in Hugo Weaving having a stroke in a thunderstorm and let's just hope the confusion attracts the stoner crowd."
Crocodile Dundee - Poland
Crocodile Dundee was a light-hearted movie, sure, but at no point was it anything resembling an installment of Curious George where The Man in the Yellow Hat takes LSD, hallucinates multi-colored reptiles and abducts a black woman.
This article is over; we have a screenplay to write!
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For more confusing posters, check out Lost In Translation: 20 Baffling Foreign Movie Posters. Or check out some questionable record names, in The 20 Worst Album Titles of All Time.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 05.26.10) to see our rendition of The Phantom Menace's movie poster (it features a Rancor eating Jar Jar).