Having a solid one-sheet to attract as many eyeballs to your movie as possible could be the difference between being incorrectly named as Best Picture and reaching that rare bottom-of-the-$5.99-barrel at Wal-Mart. But sometimes, well-intentioned marketing peeps make decisions that are… less than ideal. Here are six movie posters that were quickly pulled from theaters.
Saw is a series in which one film gleefully informed viewers that “Oh yes, there will be blood,” just in case there was ANY doubt. In fact, Saw II wanted so badly to avoid any subtlety that they featured two gruesomely severed fingers on the poster. (Because, you know, TWO. It’s the SECOND one, get it?) Queasy patrons weren’t crazy about the viscera on display, so the decomposing digits were blown up bigger in the next poster, I guess to suggest they might still be attached?
Captivity was a straight-up dumpster fire of a film, with an awful marketing campaign to boot. It was a movie about, what else, a girl in captivity, and sure, since it’s right there on the tin, it makes enough sense that the posters showed exactly that. But wouldn’t you know it, people were just a little unnerved that a kidnapping and torture victim was being displayed with the same level of sultriness as a frigging Leisure Suit Larry loading screen. Controversy ensued, and then Captivity bombed, and nobody ever saw it again.
Speaking of Hollywood’s wildly successful efforts to be more sensitive to females, hey, here’s Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse choking the bejeezus out of Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique. Again, in context, Apocalypse is a violent god-mutant who might not be as woke as we’d like, but context changes a bit when an image is plastered on a billboard where an entire city can see it and be squicked out. Luckily, Rose McGowan was among the first to say, “Hey, uh, WTF?” and to their credit, Fox apologized. The apology for the film itself being ehhhhhh, not so great? Still coming.
A little transparency here, a lot of research went into this, and there were MANY posters pulled for excessive sexiness that I will neither post here nor implore you to Google (PLEASE DON’T, THINK OF WHAT MOM WOULD SAY). That said, come on. If laughing at Col. Hanz Landa’s little bare bottom is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. This is hilarious, even if it doesn’t make me want to see this film in the slightest.
There’s subtlety, there’s the direct approach, and then there’s being bludgeoned to death with the premise of a movie in x-ray form. The idea of Teeth is that, well, a poor girl suffers from a condition that includes teeth where…well, NOBODY wants teeth. Oh, don’t get it, yet? Want a visual representation? And this will haunt your nightmares forever? You’re welcome.
The People vs. Larry Flynt
The People vs. Larry Flynn was a tour de force, examining the ethics of pornography that featured some legitimately outstanding performances (including one by Courtney Love, of all people). But yo, the founder of Hustler being crucified? On top of a hoo-ha? Surrounded by red, white and blue themes? Don’t get me wrong, Larry’s probably a cool dude, but painting him as a patriotic martyr on the level of JESUS might be laying it on a lil’ bit thick. Wait, that’s not the word I wanted to use. It might be hard to swallow. WAIT, NO– This has gotten away from me. Just give me a second, okay?!
How much would you pay for a collector’s item that features severed fingers? Let me know on Twitter!