The Snowman, Yogi Bear and Hollywood’s unintentionally funny movie posters

The campaign for serial killer thriller The Snowman has gone viral for all the wrong reasons, and its not the first time a designer has caused accidental lols

Although Im obviously no expert, it wouldnt surprise me if The Snowman turned out to be a historic flop. That isnt a slight against Jo Nesbo or Michael Fassbender or Rebecca Ferguson or Tomas Alfredson, who are all talented people. But it is a slight against whoevers in charge of The Snowmans marketing campaign, because it is absolutely preposterous.

The trailer, as we already know, attempted to wring a nonexistent sense of dread out of some actual snowmen, even though snowmen sit slightly below Porgs in their ability to terrify the populace. And now we have the posters which, although they ostensibly take the form of ransom notes from a serial killer, look as if they were drawn by a slightly distracted toddler.

Its hard to think of a movie poster as unintentionally hilarious as The Snowmans. However, Im sure we can come pretty close.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

If only we could forget. Photograph: PR

If youve made a middling romcom and you want to draw attention to it, why not create a series of guerrilla-style posters that go out of their way to disparage the female lead character by name, while barely referencing the film at all? Well, perhaps because youve picked a relatively common name for your character, and people who share that name are likely to feel victimised and terrified by it. This was the case with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which announced itself with handwritten posters reading You suck, Sarah Marshall, You do look fat in those jeans, Sarah Marshall and My mom always hated you Sarah Marshall, that only succeeded in annoying real-life Sarah Marshalls or, worse, the family of a Sarah Marshall whod just died.

Yogi Bear

Two bears one innuendo? Photograph: PR

One of two things happened here. One possibility is that the Yogi Bear marketing team simply wanted to play up the partnership between Yogi Bear and BooBoo, making them both look as happy and approachable as they could while utilising their famous height difference, and decided to adapt the phrase Great things come in pairs to reflect their Ursidae nature. The other possibility is that they knew. They knew both meanings of come and both meanings of bear. One of these possibilities definitely happened, and Im not sure which is worse.


Fake truth. Photograph: PR

The poster for Colin Farrell drama Ondine has only retroactively become excruciating, and thats all down to its tagline. Back in 2009, The truth is not what you know, its what you believe seemed like nothing more than a meaningless jumble of words that appeared to have more emotional resonance than it actually did. Fast forward eight years and its become the primary slogan for everything bad in the world. The truth is not what you know, its what you believe is what caused Trump and Brexit and countless other global catastrophes. It is post-truth incarnate.

Tomb Raider

Is that uncomfortable, Alicia? Photograph: PR

A poster more notable for its witless use of Photoshop than anything else. At this stage, nobody has seen the new Tomb Raider movie but, judging by Alicia Vikanders appearance here, its likely to be the story of a woman tragically born with a foam pool noodle for a neck, who realises her potential for raiding tombs after spinning her head around like a concussed owl for three and a half hours.

The Accidental Husband

And his accidental cardboard wife. Photograph: PR

You havent seen The Accidental Husband. Of course you havent. Nobody has. However, from its poster we can safely assume that Colin Firth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan both play men in love with the same cardboard Uma Thurman cinema standee. However, their love is compounded by the fact that theyre both suing a local surgeon for botched arm transplant operations. How will I ever get Cardboard Uma to love me if my hand looks absolutely nothing like the rest of my body? Firth whines at one point.

Bangkok Dangerous

Thumb and thumber. Photograph: PR

I asked a few friends if they knew of any unintentionally awful movie posters, and the response was universally: What about that film where Nicolas Cages thumb looks like a penis? So, behold, here is the Bangkok Dangerous poster, in which Nicolas Cages thumb looks like a penis.

Street Kings

Street Kings and the magic gun. Photograph: PR

Again, this is a film I havent seen because life is finite and my time here is precious. However, it seems to be about Keanu Reeves magic gun, a sassy little thing that apparently fires even when Keanus hand is nowhere near the trigger. Can these two lovably mismatched rogues a cop who only wants to kill some people and a gun who wants to mow people down indiscriminately find commonality by the third act? Fingers crossed!

12 Years a Slave

Christopher Ervin (@cpervin)

Also, look at this Italian poster for 12 Years A Slave

March 3, 2014

You remember 12 Years a Slave, right? It won Oscars for its unflinching portrayal of Brad Pitts face, right up nice and close, beaming against a glorious sky, at the exclusion of everything else, for two and a half hours. Actually, now I come to think of it, there might have also been a black man in the film. I cant remember who he was, though, because he was barely in it and you could never see his face properly. Still, Brad Pitt.

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