Creators of movie posters have a more difficult task than one might imagine. Their work has to be catchy enough to capture the attention of people who haven’t heard of the film before, and, ideally, help them decide that they want to watch it. It should also uphold a certain artistic standard, and it shouldn’t spoil what the film is about.
Unfortunately, some film posters don’t quite manage to not spoil the film. Either by revealing the ending or a major plot point, such a poster can easily rob the audience of the surprise they would otherwise feel when watching the movie. Luckily, they still don’t manage to ruin the film’s success, at least in some cases.
10 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption wasn’t such a big hit when it first came out, but it eventually became one of the most celebrated films of all time. It attracted Kingian horror fans, as well as those moved by genuine intrigue and drama, but those who saw it know that the official posters gives away a fairly crucial detail.
The film’s protagonist, Andy Dufresne, is in prison, but the poster shows him happy and free. That hints at the fact that Andy will escape the prison sooner or later, which is exactly what happened in the movie. So, in the end, both the people who read the novella by Stephen King which the film is based on, or the ones who thought about what the poster represented, knew the film’s ending before they even watched it.
9 Terminator Genisys (2015)
The attempt to revive the Terminator franchise failed with this film, and it looked like the Terminator was done for. It didn’t help the film at all that its poster spoiled one of the major plot twists; John Connor, the presumed savior of all humanity, would turn out to be a robot.
So, when the scene arrived in the film, the fans already knew something like this might expect, and they weren’t surprised in the slightest by John’s transformation, perhaps just by the fact how it didn’t seem to make much sense.
8 Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
In this case, the poster which spoiled the film only had the potential to ruin the surprise for some people—more specifically, those that speak Japanese. The poster states in Japanese something like “Avengers annihilated.”
As all fans of the MCU know, Avengers were indeed annihilated by Thanos in the film’s finale as they failed to stop him and half of all life in the universe perished. Some posters don’t spoil the film’s ending, which often turns out to be most relevant for potential sequels but this one managed it.
7 Ender’s Game (2013)
Just like with Shawshank Redemption, the viewers who read the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card knew in advance how the story would turn out. They knew that Ender would succeed in his effort to stop the hostile aliens and destroy their ships.
But, even those who didn’t read the book came to the same realization thanks to this poster that shows Ender about to destroy his enemies with weapons. It looks like this shot wouldn’t miss, so everybody can imagine what will happen next once Ender fires.
6 Planet of the Apes (1968)
Planet of the Apes has become an undeniable classic. It shocked the audience with the ending in which the main hero discovers he’s on destroyed Earth even though he believed he was on another planet populated by intelligent apes.
He found this out by discovering the collapsed Statue of Liberty. It was the film’s finale, and it was chilling. That is, it was if the audience didn’t review the poster first, the designers of which thought it would be a clever idea to spoil the final epic scene.
5 Carrie (1976)
Speaking of undeniable classics, Carrie is one of them. It’s the second time on this list that Stephen King had his book spoiled by a film poster. In this case, the poster showcases the now-iconic scene in which Carrie turns from a happy high school girl to an avenging person with special powers.
It happens after her classmates play an ugly prank on her and she ends up covered in pig blood. It’s one of the most intense scenes of the film, so it feels like a lost potential to include it on the poster.
4 Grease (1978)
The 1970s saw the rise of another iconic movie, the musical Grease where John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John shone by side. The film remains popular thanks to its catchy music, even though some people are quick to point out it has some mistakes. For example, its high school students are played by noticeably older people.
However, the important theme in the film is Sandy’s transformation from an innocent, naive girl to a confident young woman. It also reflects the change in her appearance. But because the poster showed Sandy with her new look, the audience knew this change was coming and that Sandy would become a whole new person by the film’s end.
3 The Impossible (2012)
Some of the best-accepted movies are based on real events. The Impossible told the story of a family that was vacationing in Thailand in 2004 when the fateful tsunami hit and it tore them apart. T
he whole movie is focused on their effort to find each other again. Even if the viewers suspect they will succeed, they can’t know for certain. Unless they look at this poster, that is, since it clearly hints at the fact the family will be reunited in the end.
2 Pompeii (2014)
Pompeii was one of Kit Harington’s first major film roles after he started playing Jon Snow on Game of Thrones. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t such a hit, and one of the reasons might have been that the audience knew how it would end. That’s always a danger when a story is inspired by true events.
However, the characters were fictitious, so their fates could have been a surprise. If this poster didn’t reveal that they not only would get together, but that they also wouldn’t escape the disaster, it may have received a more favorable audience turnout. That said, the film was fairly predictable even without the official poster giving crucial plot elements away.
1 Cabin In The Woods (2012)
Cabin in the Woods is one of the most original and surprising horror films of the last decade. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film takes well-known horror tropes, mixes them with dark humor, and turns them upside down. Once again, the Japanese poster reveals more than wise.
The people who saw the film will know the poster showcases what happens once the main heroes discover the truth about what they’re facing, which happens in the last third of the film and is one of its major plot twists!
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