Dare I say that this year gave me hope, that both studio and indie movie posters are getting better. Of course there were a few duds and a couple of underwhelming examples, but we may be on an upward trend when it comes to rediscovering the artistry of movie marketing. Here are the seven best movie posters of 2016

7. The Woods/Blair Witch (Lionsgate)

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

Whatever your thoughts on the movie might be, this was an incredibly clever piece of marketing. The Woods wasn’t just revealed to be the Blair Witch through a title unveiling but through a carefully crafted poster transition at SDCC that revealed the original poster art had the signature shape of Blair Witch’s wooden figure in the space between the tree branches all along. The poster further evolved for its theatrical release, hiding human figures within the familiar totem. This was a chill-worthy marketing move that created a sharp increase in excitement that, sadly, didn’t translate at the box office.

6. Green Room (A24)

A24

This is such a simple and effective image entirely capture the punk rock spirit of the film but also the brutal violence. It’s a reminder that sometimes movie posters don’t need the faces of their leads to sell you on the movie, just a striking image. Naturally, the North American Blu-Ray release went with an alternate cover that’s far less effective.

5. The Lobster (A24)

A24

A24

The posters for The Lobster are funny and sad representations of singledom, just like the movie itself. While the posters give little context for what the film is about, or why it’s titled The Lobster, they capture the spirit of the film and the utter weirdness viewers are in-store for. Going monochromatic was a strong choice, and it gives the poster a book cover-quality that fits within the film’s intentions as a parable.

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Unless something goes horribly wrong in the marketing department, you should get used to seeing a Star Wars poster make these lists. While it’s not a Drew Struzan poster, the final one-sheet for Rogue One is clearly meant to evoke his work with its careful balance of featured players and blend of characters, and set pieces. Also, the light blue color of the beach, offset by the darkness of the Death Star and Darth Vader is a nice color contrast that’s a refreshing step away from the orange and blue color coordination so many blockbusters are marketed with.

3. La La Land (Summit Entertainment)

Both Posters for La La Land display a class and elegance reminiscent of older films. This is an interesting move, and a subtle hint at the deeper workings of the film. While the first La La Land poster plays with many aspects familiar to the Old Hollywood films of the ’50s, the second looks more like the posters of the ’60s and ’70s, and point to the New Hollywood era and the thematic risks of Chazelle’s latest feature.

2. Moonlight (A24)

A24

Like the film itself, the poster for Moonlight has a poetic quality as it showcases protagonist Chiron at three different stages of his life. These stages ultimately form a whole person who is represented by three different shades of blue, which works in the film’s thematic notion that “in moonlight, black boys look blue.” The color, the division of the face by age and shape make this a striking and eye-catching poster that’s hard to miss in a theater lobby.

1. The Neon Demon (Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/ Scanbox Entertainment/The Jokers)

Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/ Scanbox Entertainment/The Jokers

Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/ Scanbox Entertainment/The Jokers

Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/ Scanbox Entertainment/The Jokers

Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/ Scanbox Entertainment/The Jokers

The release of The Neon Demon essentially gave us an entire art show of wonderful, blood-soaked, pop art prints. While Refn may be accused of delivering style over substance, the style is so impressive, so artful, and so bountiful that we can’t help but be impressed. Any one of these posters is worthy of a gallery or a centerpiece in the home of a massive Refn or horror fan.

The Nic Cage Award for “the hell is going on with this poster?”

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage (Saban Films)

Saban Films

To say nothing of the movie itself, it’s a bold move to market your film that has the subtitle “Men of Courage” with the face of Nicholas Cage looking both pants-shitting levels of terrified and like someone who’s lost but pretending he knows where he’s going for the sake of this family vacation.

Featured Image: A24