Film Posters

Purpose of Film Posters

A Film Poster’s main purpose  is  marketing because a production company has gone to the efforts of producing this film, and want the audience to watch it but if the audience are not aware of the film and where it will be shown, there’s no point of showing it in the cinemas because no one will be able to see it. This happens within the Post Production stage and is within the Marketing and Distribution sector of Post Production and a Film Poster is a medium which a film studio uses to raise awareness of this brilliant and epic film to be released in cinemas soon.

Last year during AS Levels, we studied the Film Industry in huge depth as you are aware because it is included within Section B of Unit 1. Anyways, as I was studying the difference between Hollywood Studios and the British Film Industry is that, we as the audience are more exposed to the marketing and distribution of Hollywood Films greater than British Films made by British companies. For example: Pirates of the Caribbean IV which we studied closely in depth as a Walt Disney Production.

The main reason for this is due to the budget which Hollywood Studios have is much greater than British Film Studios which were mainly funded by UK Film Council which was replaced by the British Film Institute (BFI.

Who produces a poster?

A Film Poster is usually produced by a separate distribution company who is responsible for the marketing and arranging contracts with cinema managers to screen the film within their specific cinema. However, film posters can also be produced by the Production Studio which made the film itself. This is more common in Hollywood as they are Vertically integrated because of the size of their company so a separate department will take responsibility for the marketing of a film.

The Marketing department is responsible for producing the poster/promotional materials and also of photos taken in the studio.


What I found out which was interesting was that the new film Hobbit was produced by New Lion Cinema which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros Studio, and also Produced by MGM. Something interesting what I learnt was MGM was making a loss of $64million since 1990s, however it wasn’t closed down because it made the industry believe that it was making a profit.

The reason this film took ages to be released to the public was because there was huge problems between the three companies of who should get more money. New Lion Cinema perceived it to be the main production company while MGM was in debt to Warner Bros and Sony for borrowing money which it needed to pay back. To date the problem with MGM still has not been resolved.

wild at heart

Wild at Heart is a film which was produced in 1990 and it is a love story between a man and a woman who go through all sorts of problems just to be with each other.

This poster has many conventions which are linked to why specific decisions were made such as Representation, technical codes etc…

  • The couple in the poster are both between 25-30, as this is shown how they are portrayed in the poster.
  • Male and Female
  • White
  • They both are shown to be middle class as it is shown in the picture of an expensive thunderbolt of which the central character is a mechanic so he could have got the car cheaply.
  • The central character is wearing black sunglasses which is symbolic to show he is cool, and also the snake skin jacket is a code for the title as a snake is a wild animal. This is a simile for the name of the film and connotation of the central character also being wild.
  • His facial expression is confused while the woman is shown to know everything, and she is showing a leadership role. Here this breaks the stereotype as females are known to be weaker than males.
  • The woman’s posture which is broad chest showing confidence in herself, as this is shown in the clothes that she wears
  • The relationship between the two people shows they are a couple, however both characters have a gap between themselves, this proximity between them is the distance in the film. This relationship is important because it is the basis of the film as they are trying to get close to each other, while problems are present to separate them.
  • The people who are chasing them and the mother of the female character are not included, thy are left without purpose because the producers of this poster decided to make the audience question of who else could be included in the story of the two of these characters.

Technical Codes:

  • The text and pictures are in color, the reason for this is because the audience will be curious about the story and will feel that they need to watch this film.
  • The images of the actors has been taken in a studio and saved onto the computer and later being attaching it in Photoshop. The blue thunderbolt was also taken in the studio, however the photographer went onto an empty Highway and took a image while the fire was created through graphics.


  • Wild at Heart – name of film helps explain the reason why the central character is standing in the posture, and explains his costume.
  • Times New Roman and Large Font has been used to attract the audience in order to get their attention, however the small font which has the names of the production crew such as Producer, Editor, Camera operators and whomsoever was involved in the production of this film. This is included as it recognizes their hard work.

Function of Poster

  • This is a poster which is used to promote the film before it is released in the cinema to raise awareness of the film.
  • The narrative is portrayed through different elements of the poster, for example: This couple who are madly in love and want to be together, but can’t persistently fight for each other’s love and to be together, however the fire which represents danger around them everywhere they go, as they are trying to escape which is symbolized with the car door open. Also throughout the film, the central character is seen as cool and wonderful as that is why the girl is in love with him, but he is confused in this mission of living in peace with the love of his life.

The heart with the dagger going through it is a unique logo which shows paramount importance to the genre, and narrative of the film. It shows how it is a Romance, but there is danger within this romance and the Heart is in danger of Wildness. “Wild At Heard”

We are meant to identify with the two central characters because they have many dangers within their path which they will have to cross.


  • The poster is aimed at adults over the age of 18 because next to the title, there is a no. 18 circled which indicates this is an adult film. The production company has thought of their audience produced before the current BBFC regulation of placing a triangle or circle to rate the ‘terror’ or ‘sexual content’ etc…
  • No knowledge is needed because the purpose for this Poster is to within 10 seconds of a person looking at it must feel engaged and interested in watching this film.
  • This poster will appear outside a cinema been put up for a week of the film’s release, this would be the only place outside the cinema you would see it in the 1990s, however now we would see this poster everywhere, such as:

Bill Boards


Bus Stops

Newspaper articles

tube/train services


This is so the production company markets the film to a variety of audiences to gain maximum profit.



  • The central character looks to be about in his late 20s who is in the coffin.
  • Male
  • White
  • He could be perceived to be middle class as he is in Iraq on a business trip.
  • the central character is wearing a cloth around his neck to stop the dust touching his face, and also he has his sleeves rolled up because he is in a disgusting place with dirt.
  • His posture is lying taking up the whole coffin, as this shows how small the space is which will get the audience to feel claustrophobic and put themselves in that situation.  He also has his hand on the top of the
  • The culprits involved in burying this man underground, there is a specific reason why they have been left out because it grabs the attention of the audience more effectively as they are wondering how has this man ended up in a coffin. It is also a thriller and thrillers are suspenseful and create an enigma for the audience of being curious. You can’t reveal too much to the audience as throughout the whole film, you do not know who has buried him because he tries to call for help, however we never get a hint to who could be the culprit.

Technical codes:

  • Text and illustration is in color because color makes the scene of the man realistic, and makes us feel sympathy for him. Also this film poster relates to every human being’s fate as we will all die and we will be in this tight small space. It makes us realise how much of the luxury we might have, we will all be equal to everyone because we all go in the same place. It also makes us scared for the character because he is on his own.
  • The image of the central character was taken in a studio while he laid himself in a box which was laid on the ground open to the side of which we can see him. The soil around the title and coffin was put later in with graphics. This poster is a good example where it has mainly been used by graphics.
  • The production crew and where it will be released are always in small letters below the poster because the main purpose is to engage the audience in the film and want to watch it, and then once there interested they can look closely to check out where it is being shown.

Film Posters work in a systematic way, for example:

Engage the audience > Make them interested in what the film is about and want to see it > Next they look closely to find where it is being shown. This pattern of a film poster is used to grab attention to the film and raise its awareness. It is a way in which the production and distribution company are hypnotizing us.

Texts included in poster

  • At the top of the poster, there is a quote which sums up the whole film. “Claustrophobic, Suspenseful and Just Plain Awesome” – these words work along with the picture because it is shouting out what the audience are feeling when they saw the man in the coffin. It is a unique technique to grab engage the audience when the poster tells you what your feeling, its something which is very clever to be done.
  • The coffin has been lit with a lighter which the central character is holding, and there is nothing else. This is to give an impression to the audience that this man has limited time and also he lacks the basic life necessity and just has a mobile phone with a lighter.


The scene is set underground because throughout the whole film, he is underground in this coffin trying to get out.

The background colour is brown while the text is yellow, this is symbolic as it represents being lonely and it stands out on the brown soil and works well together with the theme of the film. The color codes are of yellow and brown, as even inside the colour is bright yellow.

The narrative is that this one man who came to this foreign country and he was attacked and buried alive in the coffin, he wakes up to find himself gagged and isn’t able to move. He has a lighter and phone which are the only two items he has and is in desperate needs. He tries to contact for some help and is impatient to when help will arrive and we are left on the edge of or seats to find out if this man will ever find help. This is shown through his hand on the top of the coffin while he is holding a mobile phone and a lighter in his other hand to show his desperate need to get out.

We are meant to identify with the main character because if we were in that situation, what would we do? It makes us feel scared because we will end up there when we die and it plays with our psychological understanding of death. Very cruel and very cleverly portrayed.

The power comes from the people who have put this man in the coffin as we know he couldn’t have been in there unless someone put him there, and it makes us wonder who is this man as he might be someone important who has power which people are scared of.

Bride and Prejudice


  • They are between the ages of 27-31
  • Male and Female
  • The male comes from a white background from the United States, while the female is mixed race of half white(American) and half Indian.
  • Both Middle class as the woman’s costume represents her as from a respectable background, and also the male is wearing a smart suit to indicate to the audience he is also very highly respectable with a decent job which has a good income.
  • Clothing code represents the genre of the film which is a Romantic-Comedy, as this is shown in the woman’s dress which is red symbolic of love. The man’s cream colored suit indicates he has fashion sense to impress the ladies 😉
  • The man’s facial expression is because of more than one reason which the producer purposefully told the actor to smile and laugh, this shows quite clearly that he is in love with this woman which he is standing back to back and looking up into the sky. Also another reason is to emphasise the genre of Romantic-COMEDY! hence the caps on comedy as the Poster is telling the audience this is a bloody funny film which you sure will be laughing just like this man. The woman is also smiling while glancing back at him which shows her love for the guy as well.
  • The man is standing straight with his head high and arms folded, while the woman is slightly leaning on his back with her arms behind her. This reinforces the steryotype of a woman being gentle because her posture is shown to be less inferior to the male, however it also indicates her character as someone being in love.
  • The relationship between the two characters would be described as complete love, and the best couple you would see.

Technical Codes

The Poster in totally in colour because its purpose is to attract the audience with brightness as they are driving past a bill board or waiting at the bus stop to catch their attention. Bright colours will effectively grab our attention as we are waiting bored at a bus stop.

The images of the two central characters have been photographed in the studio in the position they are standing, and took it into photoshop to edit the brightness of colour of the woman’s dress and added the background images such as the Taj Mahal & Hollywood Hill.

Not all the elements are in focus because the production/distribution company want the audience to firstly attracted by the central characters, and the images in the background which show the cultural divide, as it shows both different film industries in different countries who are both successful globally. However, there is a purpose which all posters contain. They all to persuade us of watching the film work in a systamatic way. For example:

Grab the attention of audience to central characters > Engage them in other important details supporting the pictures of the characters > Interested? > See the release date to when it is coming out and then next, booking a ticket for a cinema nearest you screening it.

The family of the two characters has been left out, this is because the title of the film gives an indication of the cultural divide between both of these characters which shows us that they


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