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David Poland

By David Poland

Key Art Bizarre

Empire Magazine gathered some international posters for Superman Returns that are interesting…
What is wrong with his face? Bad plastic surgery victim? (He is more butch here.) Will his face be madeover in the movie too?
I think this is the best of the posters so far…
Individual character posters are pretty well expected and in this case, I think it would be a good idea… especially the flying romantic, which targets the audience that the movie is not locked into… women. As for Mr. Spacey, I wonder why Pinky was cropped out of the shot?

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34 Responses to “Key Art Bizarre”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    Better than the fey EW cover
    but not much. Warners usually does such a great job with their marketing material for tentpole releases (Harry Potter, Matrix 2, etc.) so the bland Superman and Poseidon campaigns have been a real headscratcher.

  2. Josh Massey says:

    Sometimes its immediately apparent a poster is from Warner Bros. due to the oddly drawn or contorted facial features on it (where you just know the actor’s head/face was grafted onto another body).
    The art for “You’ve Got Mail,” “Rumor Has It,” “3000 Miles to Graceland,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted” and “City By the Sea” immediately comes to mind.

  3. palmtree says:

    Mr. Poland, I agree with you.

  4. palmtree says:

    I mean, about the Chinese one being good that is.

  5. Nicol D says:

    The problem with this film from day one and including this campaign is that they are letting other heroes and movies define how Superman should be and not letting Superman’s history and past define himself.
    Hence we got at first a rather fey/metrosexual looking Superman with a too young Lois in trailers that were campy and light.
    That did not work. Now we get a dark Superman with a photoshop looking squared off jaw line and a Luthor against a cataclysmic background. The trailers now are operatic and edgy. The kid is de-emphasized.
    Neither of these visions are Superman. Superman is cheerios on a farm in middle America and all the values that that represents.
    Donner got that. Reeve got it. I do not believe Singer or Warners does.
    That does not mean that I do not think those posters are nice…they are. But are they Superman?

  6. PetalumaFilms says:

    Who’s Pinky? It looks to me like Dr. Evil was cropped out…or Mini-Me was…..

  7. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, what are the ‘other heroes and movies’ that you are thinking of in the above post?

  8. Wrecktum says:

    Well, I won’t speak for Nicol, but the Superman/Lois one-sheet image shown at the top of this post positively reeks of Spiderman. The Luthor artwork looks like it comes from a completely different movie (Matrix?)

  9. jeffmcm says:

    I was asking Nicol because I think it today’s day and age, to pull of a ‘cheerios (TM) on a farm in middle America’ etc. Superman would be very, very tricky. You can see that it only worked in the Reeve Superman films for 2 movies and already by movie #3 they had to create the bad, drunk Superman to make it a little more interesting. Twenty-five years ago, more Americans had had that kind of rural upbringing, plus the country was looking for upbeat stories in the post-Vietnam era of Star Wars. Today things are different.

  10. Wrecktum says:

    Yes. And from what I hear, Singer is not only embracing the “upbeat”, “cheerios” nature of the first two Superman movies, but he positively revels in it. It may be that Warner’s only chance to make the movie more modern in its sensibility is through the marketing campaign. Is that the reason the campaign is so mish-mash? I dunno.

  11. RoyBatty says:

    Well, at least they finally got their shit together on the trailers. My interest in the film more than doubled when I finally got a good look at what Team Singer would be bringing to the franchise (granted it didn’t start very high).
    But having a hard on for that July 4th date is going to cost Warners. They should be looking at their release of BATMAN BEGINS on June 17th last year. Obviously, if they had gone with a mid-June release months ago, Disney would have sailed PIRATES into the July 4th slot.
    But now is the time they should have realized they have a problem and a solution by growing some balls and moving RETURNS up two weeks instead of just 2 days. Disney is too cautious an organization to move their one big film of the summer out of a date they have so much marketing built around.
    Warners could still go for a second wave push on July 4th if they wanted, but at least they’d have that entire-family-outing audience to themselves for 3 weeks versus 10 days they got now.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    I have noticed, however, that even though the trailers have been pushing the scope, effects, action, and Spacey more, they’ve been very reticent about showing much of Routh himself in character. That doesn’t bode well, especially since what we have seen looks like he’s basically just doing his best dorky Reeve impersonation.

  13. Wrecktum says:

    RoyBatty, Disney has two big movies this summer. One of them opens in a week and a half.

  14. RoyBatty says:

    CARS is more Pixar than Disney.
    Disney might be releasing it, but everything else you can bet bottom dollar is Pixar. But I do admit I erred on technical grounds if you want to get down to brass tacks.
    Left as it is, I think SUPERMAN will only be able to leap $110M opening week, $225M domestic and then fail to fly past $430M worldwide. With schools letting out, Warners is losing its last shot at creating any real must-see excitment in a key demographic.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    The point is, Disney handles the release and they need to keep their two films separated by at least a month.

  16. palmtree says:

    “CARS is more Pixar than Disney.”
    Pixar is Disney now. Lasseter, Catmull, and Jobs are deeply involved in all aspects of Disney now, not just the Pixar side. Cars release is a big test for the new company.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    But Cars was made before the merger, so it seems like Ratatouille will be the actual test of the new lineup.

  18. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The Chinese poster is for Taiwan, which will open the picture day-and-date with the US. The two posters with “Sommer 2006” are for Germany, where the Man of Steel won’t return until after the World Cup.

  19. oldman says:

    Is there a reason why Superman is a lefty in American poster and a righty in the Chinese poster?

  20. palmtree says:

    Thanks Chucky. I knew I saw a “tw” fuzzily there.
    Cars was made before the merger…but does that somehow mean Disney won’t treat it as if it were its own? With Team Pixar running all the animation units, is BV going to shortchange them?

  21. Wrecktum says:

    Cars is a Disney movie. It was made by Pixar but it is being released by Disney. And now that Disney owns Pixar, every dollar made by the film at the boxoffice and ancillaries goes right into Disney’s coffers.

  22. Aladdin Sane says:

    The Chinese image looks like it’s been mirrored, and then had the logo put on properly…The Lex poster is kinda menacing but somewhat campy…the romance poster works for me. My little sister is a Supes fan, so maybe I’ll ebay that one for her room…as for the first poster…it’s um…meh.
    I think overall, Warner’s has dropped the ball with the print campaign so far…the best poster was the one with just the “S”…
    But the newest trailer, and the international trailer, are some kinda wonderful. I hope this film is good. It can’t be possibly be worse than X-3…if it is, well, I’m gonna be mighty pissed at Singer for leaving X-Men.

  23. RoyBatty says:

    When you look at the deal and what they got, seems like Pixar is the tail wagging the dog in that “merger.” Who’s the second most powerful man at Disney? If you don’t think it’s Steve Jobs you would be at odds with the CW around town.
    But in any case, Pixar is in TOTAL control of their projects. Disney just says “Here’s your money” and “Where do you want the billboards?” Why do you think everyone made such a fucking big deal out of whether they stayed at Disney or not?
    PIRATES, on the other hand, is Disney, through and through. Their ride and their image directly rests on it. Bruckheimer did not just get to do whatever he pleased with it. Lassiter on the other hand is the final arbitrator on all things Pixar and will continue to be. Disney gets the money, but they don’t call the shots.
    Anyways, doesn’t fucking matter. If it makes you happy to call CARS a “Disney” film, knock yourself out. PIRATES will get the audience. I don’t have a dog in this fight, so I really don’t care one way or the other.

  24. palmtree says:

    I think Disney’s reputation is riding much more on Cars than Pirates since Disney is primarily known for animation and most of its rides are based on animation and its Broadway shows and merchandising, etc.

  25. martin says:

    Superman’s hand has more personality than his face.
    And anyone really think Superman is not gonna hit, big? If X3 opens to $130, why can’t Superman do that, if not more? If it sucks it may not get great word of mouth, but I find it hard to believe that X-men is now the bigger draw than the Phantom Menace-like return of Superman.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    X-Men opened big because people liked the previous two installments and were primed for more of the same. This version of Superman, like Batman Begins, is an unknown quantity going in. BB opened on a non-holiday weekend to about $50m. Superman will do better than that, but who knows how much.

  27. Wrecktum says:

    “When you look at the deal and what they got, seems like Pixar is the tail wagging the dog in that “merger.” Who’s the second most powerful man at Disney? If you don’t think it’s Steve Jobs you would be at odds with the CW around town.”
    Jobs has the POTENTIAL to be the second most powerful man at Disney, or even the most powerful man, but so far has displayed nothing publicly or privately to indicate that he has any plans on remaking the company.
    “But in any case, Pixar is in TOTAL control of their projects. Disney just says “Here’s your money” and “Where do you want the billboards?” Why do you think everyone made such a fucking big deal out of whether they stayed at Disney or not?”
    But this is what you don’t understand. Pixar is in control not only of their projects but of ALL animated projects at the Studio. Unlike Jobs, Lasseter and Catmull have definitely already put their stamp on the studio by shutting down Circle 7 and (rumor has it) shutting down DisneyToon Studios. So to say that Pixar is a separate entity from the studio and Feature Animation is erroneous…they’re increasingly one and the same.
    “PIRATES, on the other hand, is Disney, through and through. Their ride and their image directly rests on it. Bruckheimer did not just get to do whatever he pleased with it. Lassiter on the other hand is the final arbitrator on all things Pixar and will continue to be. Disney gets the money, but they don’t call the shots.”
    The first Pirates film was a happy accident. Though expecting to be a hit, no one thought it would be as big as it became. But I think you’re wrong that Disney was concerned about their image with the release of the first film. If you check out the teaser one-sheet released at the end of 2002:
    you’ll see that Jerry Bruckheimer’s name is above the title, yet the Disney is nowhere to be seen. In truth, the studio wanted to sell the film as a Bruckheimer action extravaganza and not a Disney family movie and deliberately toned down references to the ride and the Disney name in the campaign leading up to the release.
    Sorry to sidetrack this discussion. Back on subject: Superman still looks fey.

  28. THX5334 says:

    “Back on subject: Superman still looks fey.”
    Totally. But I thought his voice sounded good in the latest trailer, and that masculined him up a lot.
    He seemed to hit the right notes in the few lines..
    But I am with jeffmcm, the lack of Routh in any of the campaign is the most worrisome to me.
    Can they even make a profit on this film if it is big?

  29. jeffmcm says:

    They probably are hoping to break even with this movie and make their profit on the sequels.

  30. oldman says:

    um, back to the posters; Superman is soaring thru the sky and not one hair on his head moved. that is some gel! please tell me that there is no product placement. 2) In the Chinese poster, Why does the highway go into the ocean? And what is up with the Tidal wave on the left?

  31. palmtree says:

    I think that’s a pier.
    The tidal wave is probably story related and hinted at in the trailers if you study them.
    Routh gets one line in the X3 trailer…and it was okay. Better than a noncommital “hello” to The Kid.

  32. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    One thing that Superman (and X-Men 3 briefly) is demonstrating is that flying looks ridiculous.
    I liked the bit in the trailer where they’re all “It’s a bird” “It’s a plane” and then Routh enters. I dunno why… I just did.
    Does anyone else thing Routh looks like Tom Cruise in the very top poster.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Flying can look fine. Stupid wire-work looks ridiculous.

  34. Blackcloud says:

    The whole “is Superman gay?” angle may be hitting the MSM, if this story in the LA Times is a harbinger.

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