When I first saw the two new posters released by Twentieth Century Fox for their upcoming X-Men: First Class, I dismissed them on first glance as nothing more than something put together by an overly-enthusiastic, if under-talented, fanboy. You see a lot of these online all the time.
But when I realized that they were actual posters released by Fox, I was flabbergasted. These are undoubtedly the ugliest and most incompetently designed posters I have seen from a major studio since the poorly executed “Julia Roberts’ head on some other woman’s body” poster for Pretty Woman.
I understand what the advertising is trying to do here, teasing potential ticket buyers with the promise of the backstory of Professor Xavier and the villain Magneto from the original X-Men trilogy. And if they were just the black silhouettes on the white background, they would look really great. It’s a very visually arresting look. But how could the ham-fisted addition of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s faces in the middle of their respective silhouette have been approved by a variety of marketing and design professionals?
I can only surmise that the order came down from some studio head without a design background and who has the rest of the studio in such fear of them that no one was able to point out how crappy these looked.
That studio executive should be fired immediately.
And if it wasn’t some rule-by-fear suit who pushed these ugly posters through Fox’s marketing department and out into the world but the actual work of the marketing department itself, then they should be the ones looking for new employment.
Now I’ll admit that I am no design expert, but my ex-wife worked in the field and I managed to pick up a few things along the way. But even without any formalized or informal training, one can see that these posters are about as aesthetically unappealing as it can get. They’re just two images dumped willy-nilly on top of each other with no thought as to composition or how the eye would track across them. Rather than excite someone for the film, this sloppy, unprofessional work gives the impression that Fox doesn’t really care about the film. And if they can’t be bothered to put some effort into promoting the film, why should I be bothered to see it?
It’s no secret that Twentieth Century Fox has long been mishandling the X-Men franchise. Their rush to get X-Men 3 into theaters was fueled more by hurt egos over director Bryan Singer moving on to do Superman Returns than it had to do with anything else. X-Men Origins: Wolverine did not try to tell a solid, compelling story so much as it pandered to the fan boy audience. It may have been a success at the box office, despite the studio crying that a workprint of the film leaked online was going to financially hurt them, but Wolverine was a failure as a film. Most recently, many people, me included, were disappointed and puzzled that the studio didn’t spring to advertise X-Men: First Class during the Super Bowl.
Up until now I have been cautiously optimistic about X-Men: First Class, mostly due to director Matthew Vaughn being on the project and the decision to set the film in the early 1960s. I’m also excited at the idea of someone like Black Swan‘s Darren Aronofsky directing a new Wolverine film for Fox. These are some interesting and bold choices that could lead to some pretty good to even great films. We just have to hope that Fox management doesn’t screw things up. Further.