Movie Poster Codes and Conventions


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codes and conventions of different genres of movie posters - a2 media studies

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Movie Poster Codes and Conventions

  1. 1. • A film poster is a poster used to advertise a film. The most common conventiosn used for posters for films of all genres, featuring the mast head, a main image – usually of the main actor(s), a tagline, the name of the director/actors and a billing block at the bottom of the poster highlighting the key companies and crew members in smaller writing, also the release date and the name of the film in the largest writing on the page. • Whilst some people see them as a work of art for people to look at, they are more of an advertisement for the film and act as an eye catcher and draw interest to the film more. • Movie posters should let the consumers grasp the genre of the movie through looking at the poster, through the colour scheme, main image, camera angles and the choice of fonts. • Movie posters are a key element in the marketing campaign and can be seen outside cinemas, on billboards, on transport and also in the newspaper to increase the potential audience and make the audience a lot more aware of when it is being released. • There are various types of movie posters, including official cinema release posters, DVD release posters and also teaser trailer posters.
  2. 2. The title makes an impact again using a simple text which catches your eye against the background. There is a tagline on the poster, ‘twenty years, two people, which enhances the vintage theme of the film’s image. Underneath the title of the film, the two main characters names are clear, simple and allows the viewer to quickly know that they are in the film and correspond them with other films making them want to go see the film more. From the main characters, it is clear that the genre is romantic due to the pose the characters are portraying. The posters use of vintage filter over the image allows the reader to again identify that it is a romantic genre film. The image again is very intimate which is a perfect type of image relating to the romantic genre. The billing block at the bottom of the poster is a typical convention of a film poster
  3. 3. A catchy tag line is placed at the top of the poster and is the first thing the audience member sees. It is a direct question to the audience making them feel like the poster is directly targeting them. The colour scheme follows the traditional horror poster conventions, using the contrasts between black and white and parts of red. The black, simple background suggests that the film will be a dark, scary film. The black can also suggest the ‘unknown’ which creates a type of mystery within the film for the audience. The main image is at the centre of the poster meaning it is the main focus point for the audience when they first see the poster. At first glance the image looks distorted following the codes and conventions of a traditional horror film. This image can be initially scare for an audience member but it can also suggest a lot about the films narrative. The eyes of the face are made up of screaming mouths alone with a smile. This could suggest that the film could consist of frightening sequences and also characters that inflict this terror. This face created does not look like a human but an alien/ghost suggesting this film is also about spirits and the underworld. The title of the film is in the lower third of the poster and stands out to the audience. A passing audience can identify the film’s title and genre. The position of the film title follows a traditional poster layout with the billing block at the bottom.
  4. 4. The slogan attracts attention and suggests where the film is set, Vegas. The slogan also adds to the humour of the poster as the actors don’t look like they did handle Vegas well at all. Important information is included about the director, producers and music composers which may draw in a wider audience to see the film in the billing block which is a traditional code and convention. The Film title is in bright white text underneath the main image in upper casing. This provides the audience with an answer as to why the actors look so worn. The text looks like a Las Vegas show sign which would collate with the theme of the film. The inclusion of “from the directors of” attracts the audience’s attention as they may be fans of the other film and will therefore want to go and enjoy this film. The main colours are yellow, red and brown which are very male orientated colours with blue incorporated in the babies’ clothes suggesting how this is a “boy’s film” and also corresponds with the theme of comedy and laughter. The main image of the actors suggests this is a comedy film through the expressions on the actor’s faces, the missing teeth, scrapes and the baby strapped to one of the men which will make the audience want to go see how they ended up this way and what will happen next. The background of the image of the lights is in-keeping with the Vegas theme but is also a glamorous appearance which contradicts the image of the worn out actors which adds to the humour of the poster.
  5. 5. The background image is white so that it is simple, not distracting the audience’s attention away from the main characters. The main image is in the middle third of the poster which makes it stand out to the audience and it is very eye catching. The main image concentrates on the main characters who are universally known. The colourful characters are more well known due to it being more eye-catching for children. The use of the ‘from the creators of…’ allows the audience to know if the film will be at a standard that they will want to see due to previous films created by the producers and production company. The elements of fantasy are obvious to attract the younger and also older audience, yet foreknowledge lets the audience know that this film is also for adults. In the billing block, which is much smaller than usual due to the fact that a child will not want to know who the producers are.
  6. 6. The main image of this poster takes up most of it this shown in the top third, of two of the main characters faces in a mid-shot/ close up were both characters are looking to their right. This image appears to be amongst the clouds and sky staying in the colour theme of the poster creating a “sun setting” image. Below this the poster also shows another image this of a screen shot from the movie of the same two characters walking on a beach with their arms around each other, this showing that it is a romantic and dramatic movie. Again this blends in with the colour theme keeping them all quiet dull this perhaps suggesting that the film does not only consist of “romance” but maybe “drama”. We can see in the top third the unique selling point which this has been connected with being “The notebook” and “A walk to remember”. The title of this film “The Last Song” is in the middle third of this poster, this is written in white font allowing it to stand out from the rest of the poster. The characters names are then written above this so that those that are fans of these actors / actresses can easily see that they are in this film. Above the title there also is a blurb on what the film is about letting the audience know that this is a romantic drama. The use of the lighting between the two main characters highlights to the audience the two images merged into one but also draws attention to the poster and two main characters.
  7. 7. • After researching several different film posters from different genres, I found that most, if not all of the posters included a ‘billing block’ which allows the reader to find out more about the producers, directors and other people involved in the making which may intrigue the audience to research them and entice them in more. The colours used in most were specific to the genre, for my chosen genre of horror/mystery I found that red black white and duller colours were used to entice the audience in and allow them to quickly recognise what genre it is. All of the posters, no mater what genre included the title of the film, which was placed either in the middle third, top third or bottom third of the poster which attracts the audience straight away. A tagline was also used to create a memorable phrase that sums up the film easily making the audience connect the two together. Lastly, the main image, which usually covers the full of the poster and usually centre of the page is of the main character (s).