Look: A Gallery of Classic Rejected Movie Posters

Look: A Gallery of Classic Rejected Movie Posters

Nov 16, 2011

A recent article pointed out how most movie posters these days all tend to look the same – but that wasn’t always the case. In the past, movie posters were a unique mixture of advertising and artistic expression – sort of like a visual representation of how the film business wrestles with the concepts of art and commerce.

There are no shortage of sites out there featuring classic film poster art, but a new gallery up at the San Diego Reader website takes a different approach – highlighting film posters that were rejected. It’s a rare glimpse at some very cool posters that most people never knew existed. In some instances, it’s easy to see why the images were rejected, but in others, the artwork is very cool. You can check out the full gallery at the San Diego Reader website (it’s broken up into two entries), but we’re highlighting a few of the best (and worst) below.

Rejected Fright Night Poster Art

This generic image could have been used for about a million different horror movies, but it was actually intended for the original Fright Night. The weird lighting and creepy hand sticking out the door doesn’t make us think of Charlie Brewster, Peter Vincent, or vampires (in fact, it mostly makes us think of Evil Dead), so it’s easy to see why it wasn’t used. It’s not a bad piece of horror art, but it’s just not detailed enough to do the movie it’s supposed to represent justice.

Howard the Duck Concept poster art

Howard the Duck poster concept art

Howard the Duck will live forever in infamy as one of cinema’s greatest flops. The reasons for that failing are too numerous to recount here, but things could have been worse – as these concept posters demonstrate. We’re not sure which one is weirder, but the duckbill chomping a cigar while breaking out of a planet Earth egg is certainly strange. That one at least makes some sense to comic fans, since the book’s tagline was “trapped in a world he never made,” but the second one, featuring Howard flying through space in an easy chair with Earth and the Moon in the background is just totally bizarre. Although, if we owned a van, we might consider getting airbrushed on the side just for the strange looks it would get.

The Fly poster concept art

The poster art used for David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly pretty much perfect – the teleporter device, the smoke, the half-human, half-fly thing climbing out of it…you get a real sense of what you’re in for with that image. However, an earlier concept drawing paid homage to the original film, featuring a housefly with the head of Jeff Goldblum. While this was probably far too silly for Cronenberg’s gruesome film (which we love), we still like the fact that someone thought it would be cool to pay homage to Vincent Price and the original with this piece.

Batman poster concept art

Tim Burton’s Batman inspired a lot of different posters – and they run the gamut from bad (the dual faces in front of the Gotham cityscape) to really bad (the Joker head seemingly popping out of Batman’s chest one) to endearingly bizarre (the sort of abstract modern art one). We see why Burton and company went with the simple but effective Bat-logo based on these other options. 

Categories: Movie Posters, Geek
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