Tinker Tailor Solider Spy Poster

The first movie poster for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy arrived online via Empire today, and it looks great! We’ve very excited for the upcoming adaptation of John Le Carre’s best-selling cold war spy novel…and the cast is simply incredible: Gary Oldman, Ciaran Hinds, Jared Harris, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong!

Synopsis: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley (Oldman) is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6′s echelons.

The film arrives September 16 in the UK and November 18 in the US.

“FAN”tastic – New “SUPER 8” Movie Poster –Real Deal or Elaborate Ruse?

This morning movie and entertainment websites were ablaze with kudos and praise for the release online of the latest (and last?) movie poster for the new film “Super 8”. No amounts of adjectives were spared, “Fantastic!”, “Best Poster Art of the Year”, “Incredibly Awesome!”, “Brilliant”, “Stunning!” You get my drift.

The blogosphere was gushing in their praise. There was early speculation the poster had been designed by Drew Struzan, poster artist extraordinaire. Struzan hasn’t been actively involved in movie poster design for years. That fact aside, a quick look at the movie poster would have dispelled that theory. Drew Struzan signs all his work. There is no Struzan signature on this movie poster.

Later today, some of the websites posted the movie poster was not designed by Struzan. Surprise! Surprise! Now the story was the movie poster was fan made. Where did that come from? Check out this post from www.movies.com. So now some of the bloggers who had earlier suggested the movie poster was designed by Drew Struzan were trying to you know….Cover their ass. Some sites took down their posts entirely. Maybe they know something we don’t.

Fan made? As this is written there is no official word that we can see out of Paramount denying any involvement. Why not? Their silence is deafening. Maybe Paramount decided to tear a page from Sony’s marketing handbook. Until it is official, no one knows for sure.

A closer look suggests something different. Fan made? Hold on? The first question is why would a “fan” go to so much trouble? This is an awesome movie poster. The design has all the right elements. The billing block is there. What would their motives be?

If it was fan made, why are there now three different versions for this movie poster? There is the US version, the UK one and a version in Spanish. Both the last two movie posters have the correct release dates for the film in their respective countries. Now why would a “fan” go that far?


We think it is something else. We think the design firm; BLT & Associates is involved in some way. This is pure speculation. BLT is a major design firm whose main source of revenues and work comes from Hollywood. BLT has worked with J.J. Abrams before. The firm has been credited for the designs of the movie posters which have been released so far from Paramount for “Super 8”.

It was actually the collaboration between Abrams, Paramount and BLT on “Star Trek” movie posters which suggests BLT could be responsible for this design. Check out both movie posters side by side. You tell me; don’t these two designs share a lot of similarities? The comparisons are downright scary.

So, for now the jury is out on the veracity and the source of this new design for the “Super 8” movie posters. Until there is evidence to the contrary we are presently of the opinion that these movie posters are the “Reel Deal”. If we are right, we tip our hat to Paramount et al for building some nice buzz and controversy for their new film.

Behind the Design – A Closer Look at the New “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Movie Poster

A lot has been made about the design of the new movie poster for David Fincher’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. The web is abuzz with discussion and blog posts about the movie poster. They range from how cool it is to how could they do this? How could they portray Rooney Mara (Salander) as a “sex object”? Especially given the books clearly expound a completely contrary message. Whatever your point of view, one need look no further than David Fincher himself for initiating all the controversy. We say, “Good for him!”

Fincher is considered by many as anti-authoritarian and a rebel when viewed through the lens of the conventional, sometimes conservative business that Hollywood has become. His body of work speaks for itself. He is a take charge guy, infamous for his attention to the details of all aspects of the project he is immersed in. This includes the details of his new movie, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.

To gauge how involved he is, we step back to a feature article that was written about Fincher by Stephen Galloway, in the “Hollywood Reporter” on February 2nd. In that article, Galloway reports what he saw on Fincher’s iPad.

Warming up — as much as he ever allows himself — he takes out an iPad and clicks on a photo he’s planning to use for the Dragon poster. It shows actor Daniel Craig half-hidden behind co-star Rooney Mara, who’s looking directly into the camera. Her hair is spiky, her face pierced with rings, her body covered in tattoos. It’s black and white and beautiful, but there’s no way in hell any studio will ever let Fincher use it, as he knows. Because, Mara is naked from the waist up.”

So…the first design had Rooney Mara naked from the waist up. What is different from the design described here to what ended up being released?

1.) Rooney Mara is naked but Daniel Craig’s arm is positioned over her breasts. At least over the parts that would raise the blood pressure of the MPAA execs. If you look closely you can see the nipple on her right breast is pierced by what looks like a safety pin.

2.) Rooney Mara’s hair is described as “spiky”. Certainly, that would not be how one would describe her hair in this image.

3.) “Her body is covered in tattoos”. Clearly that is not the case in this image.

4.) There is no mention of any graphics or text on the image.

So we know what the first design looked like in February. What happened from there was probably left up to designer, Neil Kellerhouse. Kellerhouse has collaborated with Fincher in the past. It was Kellerhouse’s firm that designed the one sheet movie poster for “The Social Network”.

In the Hollywood Reporter article, Fincher further reveals a bit of his anarchic side when he comments on how the one sheet he wanted to see for “The Social Network “did not happen.

The studio’s marketing executives were more resistant. “We had the one-sheet and we had to get that through,” Fincher notes. “[Key art designer] Neil Kellerhouse came to us with one that had the tagline, ‘Punk prophet genius billionaire thief.’ It was fantastic, but for about four months it was, ‘You can’t do that! We’re not going to get involved in a lawsuit!‘ “

Fincher smiles. “I wanted ‘Punk, Prophet, Genius, Billionaire, Judas.’

Insert Neil Kellerhouse and the latest one sheet has the following;

1.) No tattoos. The article mentioned “her body was covered in tattoos”. We believe Daniel Craig’s arm is not only hiding parts of Rooney Mara’s breasts, but, is hiding the tattoo on her chest which was shown in the cover shot for “W Magazine” a few months back. That tattoo spelled out “Salander” in an arching, gothic styled font. Craig’s arm is positioned perfectly to hide that tattoo. Where are the other tattoos?

2.) Kellerhouse incorporated the release date 12-21-11 as a means to hide some more of Rooney Mara’s chest. This choice undoubtedly was made deliberately; as a result the title of the movie didn’t make it on this design.

3.) The expression or tagline, “Evil Shall with Evil Be Expelled” with some funky looking fonts. This is a cool yet surprising addition. Why confuse your audience with two taglines? Especially, given there is no argument the tagline on the trailer, “The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” has to be the best tagline in years. It is almost as if they had two great taglines and couldn’t decide which one they liked best so they released them both.

Well, the plot thickens. One cannot help but root for Fincher and the folks working with him as they push the envelope with “bleeding edge” marketing materials and tactics. There is hope for Hollywood yet when it allows for the inclusion of new creative and exciting ways for getting the message across.

Time will tell how much the establishment will tolerate in the months ahead. For now, Fincher and his team appear to be hitting on all eight cylinders. For that, those of us true Lisbeth Salander and movie fans will be eternally grateful.

“Kinky” new Movie Poster for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Last week Sony released the first advance one sheet movie poster for the upcoming movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. At first glance, the movie poster looks fairly tame. Not so fast.

The image has Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist) standing behind Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander). His arm is strategically wrapped around the front of her body. Mara is nude from what appears to be the waist up. But…hang on… As you gaze down the movie poster, it looks like she doesn’t even have pants on! If she does they might be the lowest slung hipster jeans I have ever seen. What is that Christmas tree ornament looking thing in her crotch? Is it a belt buckle?

If you look very closely at the bottom right of Mara’s thigh you can see what appears to be the outline of the beltline on a pair of jeans. So technically one could argue she isn’t nude. However, the image does stretch the limits of what is consider by the MPAA as acceptable for key art design used to promote movies.

It is likely that most folks outside Hollywood are not aware that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) police more than just the rating a film gets before it is released. The MPAA regulates all advertising content which includes TV ads, radio ads, trailers and yes, even movie posters.

Recent examples of movie posters that ran afoul of the MPAA were the advance one sheet movie poster for Kevin Smith’s, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. This movie poster looks absolutely tame when compared with new “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. The actors are fully clothed. At the time, Kevin Smith was locked in a battle with the MPAA over an NC-17 rating that was first assigned to the film. After a few edits the rating was changed. What the MPAA did not let them do was release this movie poster in the US. It did appear in Canada to promote the film at the Toronto Film Festival.

To their credit, Smith and the producers for the film fired back at the MPAA by releasing a second movie poster. The second design takes a blatant shot at their critics at the MPAA. The controversy didn’t help the movie at the box office, it died a quick death.

Another poster that the MPAA banned was the advance one sheet for “Saw 2”. The image of the two severed fingers was too much for the MPAA. In a press release, they announced, “The poster’s content, which featured two severed fingers, was not approved and was “unacceptable.” The “Saw 2” movie poster never did make it to print in the US. The MPAA acted after Lionsgate released the movie poster image online.

Given what has happened lately with the mysterious release of a “bootleg” version of the movie trailer, (see our previous blogs) it is possible the MPAA may act on this movie poster for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Interestingly, that possibility doesn’t appear to be lost on Sony either. When a user visits Sony’s new placemat website for the film, www.dragontattoo.com there is a tab to view the movie poster. The site does not allow a user to view the movie poster until a form verifying you are over 18 is filled in.

We have never seen that before. Why would Sony restrict access to the movie poster image unless it had concerns over its content? Are they simply hedging their bets in light of what happened with the trailer or is this just another marketing ploy? Maybe they want the MPAA to act which will lead to another round of buzz about the film.

One clue might be the image you see on what appears to be Sony’s International version of the movie’s website. At www.dragontattoo.net you see an image that is far less risqué. There is a movie poster image that is floating around the web which might be a UK version. Why two different designs? Why not have the same images on both sites?

Time will tell if the MPAA will act on banning the movie poster. Based on what they have done in the past it could be likely. We don’t think this design will ever see the inside of movie theater’s light boxes.

Regardless, the horses have left this barn; once again Sony will benefit whatever the outcome. Stay tuned as we look “Behind the Design” of this poster and reveal what role David Fincher likely played in its conception and design.

Behind Sony’s Digital Marketing Coup – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Trailer

It depends on what camp you are in as to which story you are willing to swallow about what happened this past weekend surrounding the “release” of the first “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trailer.

In fact, there appears to be only one camp that suggests this weekend’s release of an alleged “bootleg” of the trailer was…well…a “bootleg”. The Hollywood Reporter cited a spokesperson from Sony who claimed the trailer had been pirated from somewhere in the US. Apparently, the trailer was shown before “The Hangover II” in some US theaters.

Now, the majority, if not everyone else is in the “Sony did this” camp. Why is that? Let’s explore some of the facts and what we know happened.

1.) The first leak about the trailer was from Deadline.com on Wednesday, May 25th, who claimed the “red band” trailer was going to be played in select theaters in the US on the upcoming weekend. They expressly say the trailer was not going to be online.F

2.) More news surfaced next on an IMDB discussion board. The individual responsible for the post claims to have seen the trailer. This was before it was released in the US. They then point out what a shame it was the trailer could not be seen online and adding a little disinformation by saying the trailer was not showing in US theaters. Where did they see the trailer?

3.) The trailer was allegedly posted by a user registered on You Tube from the Netherlands on Saturday morning, May 28th. By Monday morning May 30th, the trailer had been viewed over 750,000 times. Some time that day YouTube staff put a content restriction on the video. This restricted viewing by anyone under 18 years old.

4.) On Tuesday morning the trailer had been viewed close to 1.5 million times. It is safe to say at the rate the views were climbing the views would have reach over 2 million by late Tuesday afternoon.

5.) At about 6:00 PM (PST) Tuesday evening, Hollywood Reporter published a post that quoted a Sony spokesman denying any involvement in the trailers release. The Sony spokesperson claimed that the trailer must have been copied during a showing the newly released movie “Hangover II”.

6.) At almost the same time Monday evening, YouTube took the trailer down saying “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim “Sony Pictures Movies & Shows.”

What happened suggests Sony had a hand in this. Was this orchestrated from the beginning?

1.) The timing was impeccable. The video went up Saturday AM on the Memorial Day long weekend in the US. This heightened the likelihood it was less likely that any action would be taken until the following week. Maximum exposure and plausible deniability.

2.) The video was uploaded by someone alleging to be from the Netherlands. The early reports suggested that the “bootleg” trailer video was taken in a European theater. The account on YouTube had never been used to upload anything before this trailer. It was the first time. Anyone can create an account in the US on YouTube and input that they are from the Netherlands. This suggests the account was set up for the singular purpose of releasing this “bootleg”.

3.) The “bootleg” trailer had a few seconds of what appears as a jittery hand movement at the beginning. That settles down and we see the rest in hi-resolution and hear great quality stereo. When you watched it at 720P in a full screen it looked like it was produced professionally. Absent from the video where the tell-tale signs typically associated with a bootleg shot in a crowded theater. There were no voices in the background, no excuse me, no people walking in front of the camera and no backs of any patron’s heads. Any bootleg I have seen almost always reveals some kind of evidence like this.

4.) Where did the video come from? Sony made no reference to the “bootleg” coming from Europe as had been earlier suggested. Sony claims the “bootleg” must have been shot prior to a showing of the “Hangover II” stateside. That film premiered at midnight showings on Thursday night, Friday morning. We know most of those showings were sold out. The theaters would have been packed. Given the quality of the “bootleg”, if this was recorded in the US, it would have had to come from an employee of a cinema exhibitor. They would have had to run the beginning of the film in an empty theater and recorded it. Notwithstanding those unlikely circumstances, it strikes me as quite a risky decision on behalf of that employee. Given they would risk losing their job (and more) if they were to be discovered, why would they do it? What would their motive be? They could never claim any responsibility.

5.) If the “bootleg” did come from a theater in the US as Sony claims and they knew it, why didn’t Sony ask YouTube to take it down earlier? Why did they wait until Tuesday night a whole four days and 2 million views later, after it went up? They did not make any moves to because everything that happened benefited Sony.

Why the release of the “bootleg” was a “win win” situation for Sony?

1.) The “bootleg” was a “Red Band” version designed to be seen by audiences 18 years and older. This release enabled a “work around” of the MPAA’s strict rules for what individuals could see the trailer because of the rating. Sony could not release this version on any of their website properties nor could any other websites if they followed the rules. For most of the time it was up on YouTube any one of any age could see the trailer.

2.) Despite denying responsibility, Sony was able to build huge momentum leading up to the release of their official “Green Band” trailer on Thursday June 2nd for the film. In the process they have pissed a few people off. The best argument was made by S.T. Vanairsdale at the Hollywood Reporter;

But from a media perspective, it’s dealing in bad faith. As noted above, Web sites and studios have an implicit agreement to work on the latter’s schedules; we withhold obviously pirated or leaked material from our readers until an authorized, theoretically superior version is available. It basically reduces us to another Hollywood marketing arm, but at least we have the prerogative to tell you if the campaign is stinky or ineffective. (Or great, which, at face value anyway, this Dragon Tattoo trailer kind of is.) And by observing that unwritten rule, we retain a friendly relationship with studios and their publicists eager to control how, when and where their message is received and shaped.” ( Read more)

Up to now there doesn’t appear to be any “smoking gun” related to the events surrounding the release of the “bootleg” trailer. It is likely there never will be. Someone once described the difference (for us legal neophytes) between hard evidence and circumstantial evidence this way;

When you go to your front porch on the morning after a heavy snowfall looking for your mail, the mail is there. You didn’t see the mailman deliver it. That would be hard or eyewitness evidence if you saw the mailman. What you do see is, footprints in the snow from the sidewalk down your walkway. Those footprints then cross the front of your yard going over to your neighbor’s front porch and you can see mail sticking out of their mailbox. The footprints then lead back to the street. Now, at no point did you actually see the mailman, but there is very strong circumstantial evidence that it was the mailman because of everything you saw. Who else could it be?

As it relates to the release of “bootleg” trailer, Sony is the “mailman”. There is no hard evidence but their “footprints” are all over this and why not? They stood to gain so much, touché.

It is likely we will see this stunt repeated again with some other film. It is unlikely that it will enjoy the success this one did. At the end of the day, the individual who would be most proud of what happened would be WASP a.k.a. Lisbeth Salander. This cyber “sleight of hand” was right up her alley. Who knows? Maybe it was Lisbeth and not Sony. You decide.

Poster Giveaway Contest With MPS & TheMoviePool!

We’re running a very exciting promotion with our friends over at TheMoviePool.com – right now you can enter to win a framed movie poster of your choice! Second place will receive a rolled poster, and everyone will get an exclusive discount offer available for posters, available only on TheMoviePool.

To get started, just head over to The Movie Pool site and tell them what your most anticipated summer movie is.

To earn the exclusive discount code for MPS, just get social! Facebook fans and Twitter followers will be the first to access the awesome offer!

“The Girl with Dragon Tattoo” Trailer – Sony’s Cyber Marketing “Sleight of Hand” – Get the Whole Story!

In a master stroke of marketing genius, Sony Studios released a Red-Band trailer for the upcoming David Fincher film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. What made this so brilliant was how it was done. Take my word for it; don’t believe for a second that Sony wasn’t behind this stunt, regardless of what the bloggers, pundits and eventually what Sony will say. They owned this from Alpha to Zulu!

We have the whole story, blow by blow, including screen shots from YouTube. These screen shots reveal when this Scud launched and how huge the response was. In less than 72 hours the amount of views of the trailer on YouTube went from nothing to close to 1.5 million. Logic suggests seeing that huge an increase in views on YouTube (in such a short period of time) might not be a record but it must be close.

This intriguing tale of a 21st century digital “publicity stunt” started quite innocently. On Wednesday morning, May 25th, the ever prescient folks at Deadline.com posted that Sony had released a “red band” trailer for the movie in Sweden and France. They went on to say, “Unfortunately, it’s not online yet, only in theaters.” They closed the post by saying that “the green band version will launch next Thursday (June 2nd ) online and widely in theaters next week.”

Was Deadline.com shilling for a studio marketing department? No way? Right? Never? So it began, all it takes is one match.

That afternoon, a post appeared on the IMDB message boards about the new trailer. In this post the writer claimed to have seen the new trailer. The writer described what they saw using poor grammar and failing to put caps where they should belong. The writer throws out a new bone.

They identify the trailer was, “set to Led Zeppelin’s, “Immigrant Song” this was bound to ignite music fans interest. Twice, the writer makes reference to the fact that the trailer, “can not be shown in theaters” and “Sad that they didn’t release a trailer that would be shown in theaters this weekend though”. At a glance the post, errors and all appears to be legitimate. Where did they see the trailer?

The brush fire had started. From there, an abundance of sites started posting about the trailer. Pitchfork.com posted on May 26th reported that the song was in fact a Trent Reznor re-mix of the Led Zeppelin song sung by the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs” lead singer Karen O. From there the Internet “Bush Telegraph” took over and anticipation online over the seeing and hearing the new trailer was palpable. (Note: Reznor is, in fact, providing the score for the film.)

We were first alerted the trailer had found its way online in “bootleg” form on YouTube at about 1:00PM (PST) on Saturday, May 28th. The trailer was posted by someone claiming to be from Holland. The individual had never posted anything on YouTube before. As you can see by the screen shot, at that time there had only been 342 views. 24 hours later the screen shot shows the views had jumped up close to 250,000. We were well on our way to a full blown forest fire.

On Monday morning, YouTube “got wise” to the game. The screen shot shows that anyone wanting to view the video now had to be 18 years old. The overtly ambiguous notice on YouTube reads, “This content may contain material flagged by YouTube’s user community that may be inappropriate for some users.”

Well, “That Happened”! It could not have gone any better for Sony. The Big Brothers at YouTube have spoken, they declared that the, “This content may contain material… that may be inappropriate for some users”. Talk about putting out the fire with gasoline! This prompted the thing to go to a whole new level. By Monday afternoon the number of views jumped to close to 1 million. Yeah, like that “you have to be 18 years old thing” to view the trailer really made a dent in how many folks saw it. As of this morning the trailer had been viewed close to 1.5 million times.

What we are sure of, is, that when the marketing brain trust who staged this stunt look back at it they will be ecstatic. Kudos to them, they have hit the digital marketing mother lode. It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds over the next week or so.

Stay tuned, we will examine what it is about how this whole remarkable exercise that points to Sony or a Sony surrogate.

True Blood Season 4 Poster and Trailer

For vampire fans that prefer their blood-suckers a little more hardcore than the sparkly Cullens, True Blood on HBO has been a superb addition to the genre. Season four of True Blood arrives on June 26, and in anticipation, HBO has released a new poster for the show, plus a new trailer.

The show has already won a Golden Globe and an Emmy; with stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer returning in season four, True Blood may well add some more hardware this year.

True Blood Season 4 poster

Newest Deathly Hallows Part 2 Character Poster: Hermione

The posters for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 have been piling in over the past couple of months. Today we get a pretty awesome character poster for Hermione (Emma Watson).

I’m sure you all know this already, but just in case… :) The movie opens in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D theaters on July 15. It’s directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis, Julie Walters, Bonnie Wright and Kelly Macdonald.

The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort’s final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.

‘Anonymous’ Movie Poster – Was Shakespeare a Fraud?

The poster for Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous has arrived online today – posing a question historians, academics and many conspiracy theorists have asked: Was Shakespeare a fraud?

I personally like to believe William Shakespeare wrote (at least) the vast majority of the works he is credited with. We may never know the full truth, but Emmerich tackles the intrigue in a big way: using the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex Rebellion as the backdrop.

Although the film lacks any high-profile stars, there is a great pedigree amongst the cast. Vanessa Redgrave has an Oscar to her name, and Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis and Derek Jacobi are all exceptional actors. The trailer leaves a little something to be desired, but we’ll see how everything turns out when the film hits on September 30.