Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in March of 2012.
Major movie studios and their ad departments scrutinize any and all film-related marketing materials to make sure the correct information goes out. However, from time to time—and despite their best efforts—things do fall through the cracks. What follows are prime examples of those errors. These are 10 of my favorite movie poster mistakes.
16 Blocks (2006)
Two things wrong here. First, we have a common movie poster mishap called the “self-firing gun.” It is a Photoshop gaffe which involves a gun going off even though the person’s index finger is not actually on the trigger. Check it out. The second—and biggest problem—is star Bruce Willis. As you can see by the accompanying still, he sports a mustache in the film. So why is he is clean shaven on the poster?
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
It’s in the title. It’s in the tag line. It’s even depicted in the artwork. Precinct 13. Problem is, the police station that is attacked in the movie is Precinct 9, not 13. Really.
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
How do I loathe the Photoshopping? Let me count the ways. 1. Cage’s hair (yeah, an easy target, but why always the bad hair?); 2. Bullet holes. Is he sealed in a glass booth?; 3. Why is there a wavy building in the background?; 4. The phantom gun—it sure looks like he’s holding one…where is it?; 6. I think he’s supposed to be reaching for a holstered pistol (maybe the phantom gun?) but his hand is all the way down his other sleeve; 6. And lastly, what’s with that lava swirling around him?
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Apparently the original poster (see inset) was not sultry enough for South Korea, so they decided to swap out Sharon Stone’s head with another with wet hair. Fair enough, but if you’re gonna do that you might also want to fix the hair reflected in the mirrors.
Krakatoa, East of Java (1969)
Probably the most renowned mistake in film history, geographically Krakatoa is west of Java, not east.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Movie posters are infamous for placing the heads of stars on body doubles with much better physiques. And that is the case here. However, that’s not why this poster made the list. No, it’s the hair. The dark-haired Gere in the poster is quite different than the salt-and-peppered domed character in the movie—see the inset photo.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
No doubt it is a cool poster. But upon closer inspection there’s something not quite right about those snakes. Take your fingers and trace the snakes from head to tail. You’ll see that they don’t match up.
The concept is well done. The execution is just a bit off. It’s the Statue of Liberty that’s the problem. See it yet? It is backwards. That is to say, the real Lady Liberty holds the torch in her right hand and the book in her left.
You won’t find the mistake here looking at the artwork. In this instance it is in the tag line. It reads in part “1 million tons of steel.” Now, I realize that most folks wouldn’t give much thought to that assertion, that a train that’s billed as a half-mile long would weigh that much. I don’t think I’m being picky here…that’s not even close. A train that weighed 1 million tons would be almost 200 miles long!
It takes real effort to screw up an image of Brad Pitt’s lovely wife, so congratulations (?) are in order to the people who designed this poster. I could be wrong but—tattoos aside—I don’t think that Angelina Jolie has a weird, elongated Gumby arm that’s depicted here.
Know of any other movie poster mistakes? Set the record straight in the comment section below!