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January 10 2006

Serenity nominated for Worst Overall Poster of 2005 by the Internet Movie Poster Awards. "The IMP really enjoyed this movie, which makes it especially upsetting that it has such a bad poster."

It goes on to add:

"It reeks of bad fan art. The characters on the poster are nothing like they are in the film. They seem bland and generic. Take a sexy babe with a gun, put in a big mysterious head behind her, add some floating words in an attempt to convey some aspect of the plot, and finally throw in a spaceship so we know it is sci-fi. Very disappointing indeed."

Surprising they chose this one over those horrid international designs...

Well, that just echoes what I and many others here said when we first saw the poster. I think I added that it looks like one of those generic psycho-thrillers that I never see.

That said, UnpluggedCrazy is right: it's actually not as bad as the other ones. Bizarre.
Yes, I agree that this one is bland...I doubt I would've been very interested in the movie based solely on the poster (though, yes, it is hanging on my wall).
I've always liked this poster. However, I must admit that if I didn't have a clue about 'Firefly', this poster would leave me scratching my head in question. I would most likely move on to other showings.
The sad thing is, the DVD artwork makes me long for the poster art... Can you say bad to worse?
Disagree with UnpluggedCrazy and Chris inVirgina - I think from a sales point of view, the international (UK and Oz) poster works.

I still stand by my view the posters and art should have focused on an evocative image such as River's hand holding a bloodied axe. The horror audience is huge ("Hostel", with a budget of $4m, opened this weekend with $20m - twice the amount Serenity took, with a no-name cast). Pitch at that horror audience with a snapshop of one of the best scenes in the movie. That's my view.

But, hey, it's all too late now anyway. I don't think the US poster is particularly bad, but it's just not different. Nothing about the US poster onesheet or DVD artwork sticks out as. And with a film like this, you need to stand out to be noticed.
Actually, I like the international poster, I have it as my wallpaper (although I'm looking to change it soon, I like to change things up now and then). But it works for me because I'm familiar with the 'verse... when you consider movie posters, they need to appeal outside of the fanbase and grab the attention of the casual moviegoer. It's hard to say how effective either the US or International posters would be in that respect. (Although I bet that Summer looking down on you in the Underground would be pretty effective. ;) I want that poster for my ceiling!)
I agree with gossi, I think the international posters have a much more striking, recognisable and exciting image. I also think they represent the film better, looking rough and stark and right-there-with-you. The US poster and the US DVD art are trying to market the film as "aloof exciting derivitive sci-fi action adventure", which I'm really not sure it is - it's much more about the people, and it's much more real/down-to-earth.
Although I bet that Summer looking down on you in the Underground would be pretty effective.


Agreed, I think that was the most effective poster in the whole campaign.
On the blue poster, Nathan looks exactly like Charlie Sheen.
It's very confusing, because Charlie Sheen was never in "Firefly".
I don't mind the poster, I prefer the international one, but I definitely don't dislike the US one, and I'm proud to have it on my wall (its gotten a few people asking about it and on the borrowing list once the R2 version comes out).
I kind of liked the international posters. Especially the German one. Though I do wish they had the whole crew on them. Granted neither version tells you anything about the story or why you should see the movie, aside from "Look hot girl with guns and knives... oooohhh mysterious!"

I do find his commentary about the Doom poster ironic considering that is in fact a real gun, the FN P90. Stargate fans should recognize it. The only difference from the real deal is it's red magazine.

I too want a poster of River from the London Underground. Those were fantastic and I can only imagine how much they've helped.

[ edited by war_machine on 2006-01-10 15:57 ]
The fact is, none of the posters are good. Not the U.S. theatrical. Not the various international ones with karate-pose River. Certainly not the U.S. DVD cover. I kind of stuck up for Universal when it came to the "Serenity" TV commercials, which weren't too shabby at all. But how can one marketing department drop the ball on static poster art so many freakin' times?! Honestly, if they would have just hired Drew Struzan to paint a "Star Wars"-ian character collage while incorporating some of the sci-fi/western elements, it would have worked just fine.
In all honesty this poster is a masterpiece next to the US DVD cover. I always thought Universal should have taken a leaf out of Quentin Tarantino's (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) or Robert Rodriguez's (Desperado, Sin City) book when it came to marketing Serenity. I thought that the International marketing was a step in the right direction, though perhaps not a big enough step, the images of the crew needed to be more dynamic and bigger.
I think "Worst Poster" is somewhat of an overstatement but yeah, not the best one I've seen.
I don't think it's an overstatement at all. Loved the movie, but this poster's got a very good chance of winning this competition.

[ edited by Dym on 2006-01-10 17:22 ]
I think the fact that Hostel did well is because of its affiliation with Tarantino. There are still quite a few people who don't know who Joss Whedon is, and I do think there are more who follow Tarantino at this point. Plus, he's also associated with movies (not TV) and with COOL.

That, and the commercials I saw that said ambulances were called during screenings of Hostel (or something like that).
Hostel had all manner of things going for it - mainly, a fantastic marketing campaign. Tarantino wasn't even that involved with Hostel - he didn't write, direct or star in it - he produced it. Serenity's producer credits include "From the producer of The Sixth Sense" and "From the Oscar nominated writer". With "Critics are hailing...". Yada.

Or, smash bang smash with boobies, as it's also known as.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-01-10 17:54 ]
You beat me to the punch, VeryVeryCrowded. Having Tarantino's imprimatur undoubtedly helped Hostel tremendously.
Firstly, the general public isn't exactly brilliant, and when they see Tarantino's name at the end of a TV ad for "Hostel," they assume he was involved in some creative capacity.

Secondly, I hear "Hostel" is pretty good. So maybe this is just a case of a film earning the bucks it deserved. Although, since I haven't seen it, I certainly can't say for sure. Anyone here check it out?
Damn, Charlie Sheen isnt in this movie? Forget it, then!
Charlie Sheen played one of the Reavers in Serenity. Joss let him as he missed out on playing Niska in Firefly.
I hear he and Emilio went toe to toe over the Llama part. They both ended up getting it, just neither wanted to be the back end.
Charlie Sheen played one of the Reavers in Serenity. Joss let him as he missed out on playing Niska in Firefly.


Sometimes it's hard to tell when you are being serious.
When it involves mentioning Charlie Sheen, how could anyone be serious?
I know what you're talking about, bobtaylor...I asked someone what they thought of Tarantino once, and they said, "Well, he's okay, but I don't think he did a very good job on Hero."

Ay carumba.

(And, by the by, I've heard nothing but bad in regards to Hostel.)

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-01-10 19:54 ]
The reviews have been slightly above average for Hostel; OTOH, I thought the trailer was one of the most appalling things I've ever seen, in terms of gratuitous unpleasantness. But I guess that's the point. Or something.
A friend went to see Hostel (that's more his kind of movie than mine) and he told me that as he was leaving the movie someone said "Classic Tarantino. He's a great director." Which must have been frusterating to no end.
If there must be unpleasantness, gratuitous unpleasantness is the only kind worth having.

I heard it tagged a spiritual successor to "Last House on the Left," which perked my ears up. (However, not enough to go see it, to this point.)

[ edited by bobtaylor on 2006-01-10 23:25 ]
Add the TV adds to the gratuitous unpleasantness remarks. My son covers his ears and turns his head away whenever they come on. I try to change the channel until it is likely to be over.

...and I agree with the writer about the poster with the addition that to me the foreign ones were more eye catching but worse for the impression of the movie they gave. (She says again in case no one remembers. ;-) )
I had thought about seeing Hostel, but a friend who loves violent horror films had to leave during a torture scene to throw-up. I don't think I could handle it. Slither will be more of my kind of horror flick.
That's interesting, bobt. Last House on the Left has its otherwordly feral post-hippy charms (if charms is a word that can be used in this context), but I'm not sure I would pay money to see its spiritual successor. One such experience was enough for this lifetime, methinks.
You see, regardless of the name attached to Hostel... the advertising worked. I mean, it's a $4m budget movie, which is 10 times lower than the average production budget. But it made more than King Kong and Narnia this weekend.

What happened with Serenity was a real shame. I stand by my stance that Universal gave it their best shot. I was one of the people supporting the view point of 'Appeal with the boobies! Add guns! Throw lots up, see what sticks!'. Do I support that view now? No.

Somebody fetch the Delorean...
Aw, I don't think it was the Worst Poster of the year. I've always kind of liked it. I like the bluishness of it because it contrasted so nicely with the warm gold colors of Firefly. Plus it had the big focus of what the movie was about, Mal, River, and the ship.

But now if they would have gone with the first poster, before the fix up, THAT, IMO would have been the worst poster of the year...
I never cared much for this poster but somehow it seemed to work on the cover of the Serenity book, IMO. I showed the book to my extended family when it came in the mail around the holidays, and many thought it was beautiful and asked what the book was about! There was actually collective oohhing and ahhing among many non-sci-fi fans (from 8 to 90-years old!)...AND they didn't hate the DVD cover art as much as I did. So, the poster, on the cover of the book, actually ended up turning people onto the movie! Weirdness.

Agree that it's not a great poster but by no means the worst of the year.

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