Dear Marvel Studios’ Marketing Department,
After the recent reveal of the final one-sheet for the upcoming film Ant-Man, it’s become apparent that you have given up on creating compelling poster art for the general masses. To be honest, it seems like you gave up right when you came out of the gate with the poster for Iron Man. Content to go the floating head route in order to lure John and Jane Q. Moviegoer into a film based solely on actor recognition, your studio’s unmitigated success at the box office has made you lazy with power.
Now, I will admit that you have tried to stem such backlash from nerds (read: the people who have supported you even when your company’s comics division was pushing out dreck like the Clone Saga) by creating a plethora of specialty posters for events such as IMAX screenings, Comic-Con, or through outlets like Mondo, and those are very often fantastic. The problem is that you aren’t putting that same effort toward your marketing to the general public.
In our modern age of advertising consumption, a movie poster doesn’t really provide as much selling power as it used to. I get that. The constant presence of social media, trailers, and TV spots have become the focuses of marketing in this day. You’ve realized that it’s much easier/cheaper to slap together something in Photoshop than to hire someone who could provide something more unique and striking.
Here’s where I take issue with that approach: you are depriving the world of amazing iconography. The characters in the Marvel universe are some of the most visually dynamic in all of modern fiction. They should be considering they were born from the purely visual medium of graphic storytelling (an adult way of saying funnybooks). Confining them to overstuffed posters that no one will fondly remember ten years from now does them a disservice.
There are countless examples of movie posters transcending their simple purpose of selling a product and becoming artistic cultural touchstones. Jaws, Vertigo, Jurassic Park, Rocky, The Thing, and Batman (yes, your Distinguished Competitor has that over you) to name just a scant few. These are images that have become part of our pop culture in a way that your posters will never be.
What’s extra disheartening is that you have all the capabilities of producing equally iconic work. Your grand overlord, Mickey Mouse, has all the money in the world and then some. Would it be so difficult for him to lend you a few more dollars to help discover the next Drew Struzan or Saul Bass? If you’re so confident in your films’ abilities to sell themselves just by being Marvel films, where is the risk in creating a piece of poster art that defies normal conventions and attempts to do something memorable?
It’s a shame that a film as peculiar as Ant-Man was given another one of your generic poster treatments, especially when your teaser poster was a step in the right direction. It’s obvious that you have creativity at your disposal, so let loose and chance giving us a poster that will become as endearing as the cinematic universe so many of us enjoy.