Here's a timely one: 2008 Oscar-nominee Revanche.
If you're in New York, Seattle, or Boston, you can catch this really excellent film in it's premiere American theatrical run starting tomorrow, and from there it moves on to more cities across the country; check here for more details.
Janus Films hasn't released a first-run film in 30 years (well, depending on how you classify the never-screened-in-the-U.S.-but-nonetheless-40-year-old Army of Shadows), so we wanted to be sure to do right by Revanche. There was an existing poster from the original European release:
It's definitely graphically compelling but, to our eyes, didn't present a complete enough picture of the film to an American audience that wouldn't immediately get the resonance of the title ("revanche" being a word that means simultaneously "revenge" and "second chance"). Plus, we wanted the opportunity to put our own stamp on it, to differentiate our release from the European run. But, not too much, which mean we wanted to keep the (excellent) title treatment intact. So, it was basically a question of finding the right image to match with the type.
I was immediately drawn to this image, which asks all the right questions (Who is that guy? Why does he want to kill that other guy? Will he or won't he?), and gives a great sense of the kind of serene landscape that defines the second half of the film. But in these first attempts I was having trouble fitting it into the correct size for the poster in an interesting way. (The white bars on the side of the second version are a misguided attempt to create a smaller artificial "canvas" for the image, but really they just end up looking like big white bars for no reason.)
This next one I actually quite like--it's got a lot of resonance for those who've already seen the film. But, since this is, after all, a first-run release, no one has seen the film yet! Someone described this at some point as "the Criterion edition of this film, if it was a well-known classic that had been released 20 years ago," which I think is dead on. It's not doing enough to introduce the film to a brand new audience.
This one gets at more wood-chopping action ("axplay"?), but puts much too much focus on her rather than him--it really is his film.
And this one doesn't have a whole lot going for it, honestly. Again, too much emphasis on her.
Popular opinion leaned pretty strongly toward the first image, I just had to find a new crop for it. So, a little photoshop work to extend the trees and lake over to the right a bit, and I came up with this crop, which I think works pretty well! This became the final poster, which you can hopefully see hanging at an art house movie theater near you very soon!