Saturday, 8 January 2011

What is the purpose of a film poster...

The sole purpose of a film poster is to advertise an upcoming film; through letting audiences know that a new film is due for release, which raises awareness and in turn aims to generate hype. A film poster provides a range of information on an upcoming film such as; the name of the film, the release date, the stars/actors and actresses who are in the film and the BBFC certification. This information both attracts a viewer; through naming the stars who are popular and well known, aswell as a catchy film title, and at the same time informs them of vital information they may want to know about the film such as the release date and the certification- which will determine suitabity, in such cases as an adult wanting to take a child to see a film. It is not only the writen parts of the poster which provide information for the viewer. The photos and graphics of the poster can suggest a particular genre and narative that the film will follow which is an insight to what the film may be about/along the lines of and therefore helps them to decide whether this film is something they may be interested in seeing.

Film posters can target specific audiences; whether through one poster for a film aiming at a specifc audience, or a range of posters which all vary in terms of images or clips from the film which work together to target different target audiences to bring them together to see the one film. Also when films are released in different countries posters can vary, as different countries have different preferences in genre therefore a poster that displays the most desired genre of that country would differ from that of another country.

This is the film poster for Bride Wars (2009); starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. The pupose of this poster is to promote the film. Its title and image suggest that the film is a Romantic comedy, as it shows two women baring wedding dresses and cake knifes on the romance side as we presume they are to wed as the title tells us they are brides, yet they are both at war with one another as we can tell in the title of the film as well as posture and expressions of the charecters which would suggest the comedy side of the film. The poster targets a specific audience which I believe is young to middle aged females. It has the feminine appeal and as there is only one poster for the film, its pupose is to bring in the mass audience of this specific target audience.

The 1998 film Elizabeth is an example of different posters for different countries. The USA poster shows the main actor who plays Queen Elizabeth on a throne, the style and theme of the poster suggest to the viewer that the film is a romantic thriller. As the bold reds and grand dress suggest the film will entell a love story with destruction. British Heretic films are popular in the USA however to meet the audiences expectations to secure target audience they brought the genre more closey to the romantic side instead of the thriller side which is more desirable in the UK and can be seen in the choice of poster that are used in the UK to meet a different target audience.

To the left is the USA poster as we can see it is more focused on the romantic side of the film. On the right is one of the many different posters released in the UK. There were four different posters in the UK when the film was due to be released. Each had a photo of the one of the main charecters with one word written above their head. In this case we have a man with the word Lover written above his head, as people in the UK are most likely to know the film is about Queen Elizabeth it is not as nessecary to show her charecter on the front yet display another charecter and how they may relate to her. This UK poster is targeted at women as it displays romance from the word 'Lover' and the photo of the male. However the other posters have different charecters and words, such as `Traitor` and `Assasin` meeting different target audiences as they bring out the more thriller side to the film. The title of the film on both US and UK posters are displayed in the same style to suggest to all that the film is a Heretic film.

Where do posters appear...

Film posters can appear in a range of places. Such as on billboards in streets and along motorways, train stations and bus stops, on the sides of buses, inside and outside cinemas, in magazines and on websites and many more places. These places are all eye catching for example when driving down a motorway and stuck in traffic you may draw eyes with a huge billboard with the poster of a new film advertised on the front. Or when waiting for a train inside the tunnel posters can be pasted onto the tunnel walls these two are eye catching and alert the viewer. The places that posters appear are where viewers can come in contact with them without realising. This optimizies the audience liable to see the film as they have pre seen a poster which has alerted them of the film and in turn they could mention it to friends who would then look out for the poster and continue the build up of hype for the new film.

Here are some examples:

This Expendables (2010)Film poster is on a billboard high off the top of a building in an obvious eye catching place for all to see, most probably over a motorway or busy street.

This is also another billboard bearing the film poster for Watchmen (2009).

This is a film poster for the 2008 Slumdog Millionaire Film, it is pasted onto the side of a London bus as it is eye-catching for pedestrians and other road users.

This is the view of a film poster in a train station from the inside of a train, it is in an ideal place as when the train is stationery- waiting for passengers to load on and off of the train. Passengers can see the film poster and become aware of the film. In this case Derailed (2005).

As you can see from the various film posters and where they are displayed that the content varies. For example the billboard film poster has less written information than the train station poster; this is because it is at  further distance so would not be good to have loads of written information on the film which would be hardly visible to the viewer. Instead the poster has a huge title and date of release and a big picture. These are the most catchy details of a film poster people aim to remember. The name of the film and the date of release stick in mind and the picture aims to sway in the viewer; like the Watchmen poster which would presumably be high in the sky over a busy area hence why the title and date of release are huge and in a bold, easy to read font. However the train station poster Derailed is closer to the eye, therefore the extra information can be put on the poster- such as the call of action- a website address. The person viewing the poster would have enough time to remember the address or even write it down, in comparison to driving past a billboard which you may not have enough time to read and remember. The Derailed poster would have a tag line as it would be readable from the carriage or platform of the train station, however putting a tag-line on a far away poster would be inappropriate as it would not be as readable. The layout of a poster may have to be altered for some intended locations. For example on the side of a bus, the bigger the poster the more noticeable; however the side of a bus has limited area for a poster. As you can see the Slumdog Millionaire poster on the side of the bus has been altered in a way that the picture of the main two stars are in the biggest area and the rest of the poster with the written information is on the thinner part of the bus, this layout works best for the side of a bus however would be altered if on a billboard as there would be a bigger ratio to work with for both picture and written information. As the side of a bus is more visible to viewers than a billboard more written information may be in the content, such as a tag-line and star names. The designer of the poster has to consider the location and space the poster has to be placed on, and decide what content and look they want the poster to display to meet the likes of passing viewers. 

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