Last year I shared one of my biggest pet peeves with all of you: when a movie trailer contains major spoilers. That happened with The Lazarus Effect, as well as several other films I mentioned. As it turns out, it’s not just trailers that spoil movies (shocker, I know)! All too often a film’s poster will give away key scenes from a movie. Sometimes they even give away the film’s ending. It could be argued that it’s not really a spoiler if you don’t know the film’s ending, but the viewing experience is tainted if you’re sitting there watching a movie and suddenly realize you’ve already seen the film’s ending.
I was recently enduring (yes, that is the right choice of words) the 2012 Todd Lincoln bomb The Apparition because I’m working on a post that ranks all of the Dark Castle Entertainment horror films (What can I say? They’re guilty pleasures of mine.). While doing a bit of research on the turd, I happened across the film’s poster, which looks like this:
Based on the domestic box office gross of $9.6 million, it would seem that most of you reading this opted not to see the film. If that is the case, good on you! You dodged a bullet. The Apparition consists primarily of watching Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan walk around their house…doing nothing. At a scant 82 minutes, the film is still far too long. It feels like a short film that was stretched out to feature length. The mostly talented cast of Greene, Stan, Tom Felton and Julliana Guill are completely wasted, but I digress. I did not come here to criticize a film that doesn’t need anymore criticism (its 3% Rotten Tomatoes score is harsh enough). I came here to bring up a marketing trend that just doesn’t make any sense. Look at the poster above, and then watch the clip below. I should warn you that this video showcases the final minutes of The Apparition, but you weren’t going to watch the whole movie anyway, right?
You can’t even get mad at me for posting spoilers here, because the film’s poster is one big giant spoiler! Admittedly, the ending is the best part of The Apparition, so the studio didn’t have much else to work with. It’s almost as if Lincoln had this ending in his head and wrote 75 pages of a screenplay just so he could get to film this one scene. The quality of the scene aside, why would any studio choose to spoil a movie’s ending with its poster? It does not make any sense.
It’s not like this is the first time this has happened either. Does anyone remember the poster for Quarantine, the 2009 remake of [REC]?
Maybe this one shouldn’t be qualified as a spoiler since Quarantine is almost a shot-for-shot remake if [REC], but how many regular Americans (and by “regular” I mean people who don’t live and breathe horror like us) do you think knew that going into the movie? This is a mean-spirited joke that isn’t particularly funny.
As you may know, The Apparition and Quarantine are not the only movies to pull this little stunt with their marketing. Here are a slew of other films over the past few decades that have deemed it necessary to feature the film’s ending in the poster:
Why do studios do this? Clearly it’s not that they think the movie is a stinker because the four posters above are all for great movies (unless you’re not a Prometheus fan, anyway). It does seem to be a lack of confidence on their part though.
What other posters have you seen that feature major spoilers? Why do you think studios deem it necessary to do something like this? Let us know in the comments below!