The Most Beautiful Movie Poster (You Haven't Seen)...
In an earlier blog post we talked about Drew Struzan's phenomenal movie poster for 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' and the travesty that prevented him completing posters for the entire movie series.
Speaking to a few movie poster artists, we get the impression that it has happened more than you may think. Here is another example...
Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy "El Laberinto del Fauno" (literally translated as "The Labyrinth of the Faun", but released in the English language world as "Pan's Labyrinth") blends the horrors of war and a troubled childhood with dark fantasy in an astonishing parable brought to the big screen with great artistry and astonishing love.
At its 2006 Cannes Film Festival premiere it received a 22 minute standing ovation. At the 79th Academy Awards it won 3 Oscars. Fourteen years later it remains one of the highest rated films of the twenty-first Century.
It is a film that deserves an astonishing movie poster. It almost got it.
In his 2010 book "The Art of Drew Struzan", Drew tells the story of the movie poster that should have been. How he and del Toro watched an early version of the film, in Spanish, with no subtitles...
"I don't speak a word of Spanish... it's not needed. The movie is so perfectly visualized that it's almost totally comprehensible without words at all."
A day later Drew showed del Toro his first sketch for the film's poster...
Credit: Drew Struzan - "The Art of Drew Struzan" (2010)
... and del Toro showed his approval by drawing a picture of himself, bottom left.
The resultant poster is astonishing. Painted with all the love and artistry of the movie, it is a tour de force Drew Struzan movie poster.
But, it isn't the poster you remember seeing at your local cinema / movie theatre. Why not?
The studio didn't use it. During a press conference the powers that be were asked ‘why not?’
"We didn't use it because it looks too much like art."
However somebody smart within the publicity machine thought otherwise and it was used once, at a special screening in London. A very small number of the posters have surfaced and they are gorgeous.
There is a growing number of artists now being commissioned to produce illustrated key-art for new movie releases (see Paul Shipper, Akiko Stehrenberger, James Goodridge, Richard Davies and Rory Kurtz for great examples). So much love and talent is poured in to each and every poster. We hope that they never come across the same problems.
If you'd like to learn more about the creation of illustrated movie posters, we whole-heartedly recommend Drew's book (you can find it here UK / US). You can also find many of his movie posters on our own site.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team