Amazing Posters Give Classic Movies a New Face
Marty McFly stepping out of the DeLorean. Darth Vader’s mask looming beside the Death Star. The cartoony chaos of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. These images are iconic—and among the best movie posters ever made.
But by the mid-1990s, the aesthetic of gorgeous poster art had largely ceded to a more antiseptic form of movie marketing—think of the ubiquitous celebrity headshots that crown the box office today, or how many times you’ve walked by a theater and seen Tom Cruise wielding a firearm.
But as big studios lost interest in super stylish posters, the artists who would be making them took it upon themselves to create alternative designs—and since they aren’t creating their works for a particular movie release, they’re free to delight in re-creating posters for the classics.
In Alternative Movie Posters II, available this month, author Matt Chojnacki highlights 200 beautiful reimagined homages to beloved movies. “It’s more or less fan art, but this stuff is more in demand than the official art,” says Chojnacki. “The scene pushes back at the industry—you’re not making cool posters anymore, so we’ll make them ourselves.” And the book draws attention to those people behind the beautiful creations: Each featured artist chose their two favorite works to highlight, and provided commentary about personal influences and processes alongside their selections.
As Chojnacki sees it, the rise of social media may have caused a decline in art posters—but it also may lead to their renaissance. “As soon as social media started taking off, the poster wasn’t as important [to movie marketing] anymore, and the studios got more lazy,” he says. But now, little-known artists can harness nostalgia for old movies on social media to gain a following, and a broader appreciation for their work.
Since the publication of his first volume, Alternative Movie Posters, in 2013, Chojnacki has seen a rise in art poster production—something he would like to see get noticed by Hollywood. “Studios are slowly but surely warming up to alternative posters,” he says. “My hope is that the studios will pick it up and call these artists.”
While you wait for the day you can once again see brilliance on the walls of the multiplex, check out some of the best reimagined posters from Chojnacki’s latest collection above.