The focus of this essay is a comparison of the codes and conventions used to signify genres and how films are marketed to their target audiences in two contemporary film posters. The starting point for my analysis is the definition of genre. Genre is defined as a style or category of art, literature or film. We usually recognise genre by signifier, conventions mise-en scene and characters. However, signifier can be shared: for instance the colour red could signify romance or could also signify horror or crime (connotations of blood). When a film uses a combination of genres, this is known as a hybrid genre film.
Media producers are particular interested in hybrid genres because they attract a larger audiences. For instance, films like ‘Troy’ or ‘Star Wars’ may typically only appeal to male audiences; sci-fi and epic- historical genres are typically watched by men. However, by including a romantic sub-plot (usually signified by featuring a female character on the poster), studios can attract women as female audiences usually enjoy romance films. Studios are able to grab the attention of those who wouldn’t necessarily go to see the films: This means larger box-office profit.
Additionally, genres are used by audiences to identify what type of film the poster is trying to promote e. g. the use of lasers in the poster will tell the audience that this film is a science-fiction. In this essay, I will analyse genre and the marketing techniques used by different films posters. Clearly, film posters are a vital aspect of film promotion as they are highly visible and can be displayed in a large range of media outlets (such as magazines or newspapers or billboards) since a film has to earn four times the cost of production to make a profit, studios heavily invest in film promotion; such as premieres, web-sites and tie-ins.
Film promotion has several intended effects importantly; it aims to attract large audiences to see the film; additionally to create interest in the film so potential audiences could tell their friends. The most successful posters manage to stand out and provide information about the stars, genre and U. S. P (unique selling point). A memorable poster recently published is the Ocean’s twelve . I found this memorable as everything related back to the number twelve.
The use colours really stood out and made up remember it as they contrast however mixed together well. As they pictured in black and white which adds the elegance and sophistication to the poster making it more memorable. They also enhanced the use of A-list stars, use of such a larger cast which highly irregular also adds to it being memorable as this is unusually in Hollywood. Film production involves several specialist companies and therefore can be costly. Vertical integration. For example, Universal Studios own a chain of cinemas in the US and UK.
So whenever potential blockbuster is released, Universal can use its cinema to further promote the film showing their films in the best screen, developing tie-ins that are available in the cinema this ensures that their films receive a high profile release. My genre analysis focuses on action adventure with a romantic sub-plot both my posters have high production values and star A-list stars which indicates the films targeted to mainstream audience. Typically, we would expect to see the main star in character and an image from the film also we would be able to tell what genres the film includes.
The conventional signifiers of action adventure would be the hero protecting the distressed female character and them under some sort of threat. We see the female leaning on the main male character in “The Mummy Returns”. In the “Troy” poster, Brad Pitt’s character seem to be injured and the army in the background of the poster poses a threat. Arguably, the target audience would be men however with the romantic sub-plot, this could attract female audiences. Films which contain the same hybrid genres have enjoyed success at the box-office such as Alexander(2004) and the Scorpion king (2002).
The first poster, I shall analyse was used to market the film “Troy”. It was released in the UK in May 2005. The date of release is important because this was released in the summer which tells us that this could have been an intended summer blockbuster. This film was released in America before it was released in England which significant because the producers get an idea of how the movie might do globally. The film was promoted by the stars in several different countries Many of the reviews praised the film such as 6 out of ten from the Guardian which features on the poster and successful promotes the film to the target audience.
The film clearly had high production values: this enables the film to be marketed mainly by its big budget qualities. For example A – list stars like Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom. The use of SFX, a large cast in the poster and both films alike confirm this. Ultimately, this financial investment meant that this film was able to have a fantastic costume design which was nominated for an Oscar. The key image in the ‘Troy’ poster depicts two A-lists actors in character (Brad Pitt and Eric Bana) they are positioned at the top of the poster and are the biggest images visible. This suggests these are the main characters.
Brad Pitt is positioned slightly in front of Eric Bana perhaps because he is more famous and takes up a larger role in the film. Again, this is an effective marketing device and ensures that fans of Brad Pitt are attracted to the film. The prominent position of the stars’ names perhaps signifiers that the stars are the USP. The reviews include persuasive adjectives such as, “magnificent”; “handsome” and “intelligent” and this is an effective marketing strategy which may persuade audiences to see the film. These reviews are both from national newspapers and therefore are read by many people or at least familiar to the mainstream population.
The studio is hoping that these reviews from established newspaper will persuade audiences to see the film. The body language of the two characters seems to connote aggression and hostility as they are not face, also their facial expression also connotes aggression. In the background, behind the actors is a selected image from the film of an army which could signify the epic and war genres. Additionally, the character’s costumes could also signify the war and historical genres: they all wear armour. Finally, the way the main characters are positioned, suggest that they lead different armies.
In the background, the image of the Trojan horse is important for marketing the film and signifying the use of pre-existing characters Pre-existing characters are often used in Hollywood films, especially high concept films: 50% of Hollywood films are adaptations These adaptations are popular because if audiences have enjoyed the story, Computer game or television programme they may want to see the film. The Trojan horse is perhaps the most famous pre- existing character from Greek mythology , so it is important to in include the image on the poster to appeal to diverse audiences .
The foreground image depicts a medium shot of two characters that seem to be romantically involved; this is connoted by their close body language and signifies the romantic sub-plot. Again , this is an important marketing device: informing female audiences of the appeal of the film to them(aside from Brad Pitt) . The Tagline “For honour, for victory, for love, for destiny, for passion, for troy” is clearly linked to the iconography depicted in the poster telling the audience of the hybrid genres used.
These reviews are both from national newspapers and therefore are read by many people or at least familiar to the mainstream population. The studio is hoping that these reviews from established newspaper will persuade audiences to see the film. In many ways ,the the iconography in this poster is typical of many High concept films. Firstly, it can be linked to a range of genres including epic, historical, war, action and romance; signifying the use of hybrid genres.
The key image depicts A-list stars, and the background image introduces the spectacle audiences can expect to see (huge armies, impressive costumes etc… . These are all typical features of high concept films The font and colours work together to suggest the film’s epic story-line: is which gold has connotations of power and importance, which could be linked to the armies. Also the films high production values. Arguably, the central enigma posed in the poster is created by Brad Pitt’s character. The audience may wonder is he angry? How did he end up with blood on his armour? Does he end up being killed? Also the image of the Trojan horse may create an enigma -audiences might have heard of the horse but not know why it so important.
The second poster I shall analyse is for the film “The Mummy Returns”. The film was released in England on 18th may. The film was produced by Alphaville films and Imhotep productions. As this was a high production values films, it is likely to have been expected to do well at the box-office. Ultimately, the financial investment meant that this film might not be too controversial due to high expectation they would follow the guaranteed success plan. The key image portrayed in the poster is the pyramid of stars in character.
The largest image of Brendan Frasier appears at the top, which indicates he is the main character or the ‘hero’ in the film. As he is a well-established action adventure actor (George of the Jungle ) in Hollywood his image also introduces the film’s genre. He is joined in this hierarchy by his on screen wife played by Rachel Weisz the fact that she is closely positioned to Brendan Frasier’s character ( her head is resting on his cheek) signifies a romantic relationship between the two and informs the audience of the romantic subplot like the “Troy” poster.
This is an important marketing device: as mentioned previously , romance typically appeals to female audiences by including romance signifiers the more distributors/studio ensure the film is marketed to as wide an audiences as possible. “Adventure is reborn”. Appears next to his image . The tagline also reinforces this impression. Positioned opposite to the female character is The Rock : his positioning may suggest that he is on the opposite to the main male and female characters. Their facial expressions seem fixed as of they are on the look out for danger again which is also reinforced by the title “The Mummy Returns”.
His role in the film is also an effective marketing device- fans of WWF may see the film because go his connection with wrestling. The foreground image depicts a selected image from the film in which one of the main characters is an army into battle this is signified by the mise-en-scene which includes weapons and informs the audience of the use of war and action genres. The image below the title shows two women fighting with could also signify the war genre this is connoted by them fighting.
The background image depicts two ancient -looking pillars which have hieroglyphs and pictures of Egyptian gods are visible which signifies the historical and action genres ; this connotes the Egyptian theme introduced by the film’s title and iconography in the poster. Which tells us that there is an historical background to this film. The font and colours work together to suggest a dark and mysterious story line in the film this is signified by the worried expressions on the characters’ faces also signified by the black which surrounds them, which can be interpreted to suggest they are surround by evil.
Importantly, the inclusion of signifiers such as the hieroglyphs and the pyramids may also suggest that this is the film ‘s USP. Not many films have been made about Ancient Egypt recently. Arguably, the central threat/enigma posed by the film is posed by the title “The Mummy Returns” the audience may ask them what is returning. Is that why they look worried? Clearly, as the poster depicts the same genre, there are key similarities such as the use of gold typography in the posters the both play a key part in marketing the films as important and big budget blockbusters.
Also the selected images show both the armies charging which signifiers war and action-adventure genres. By examining the imagery in both posters, it is possible to recognise some important similarities between the poster’s use of signifiers: the iconography . In both of the posters signify the war, romantic and action adventure genres. both use a female character (to signify romantic sub-plot) relying the main characters (or one of the main characters) . Both also signify the action adventure war genres by using a selected image from the film of an army in the poster charging.
The most obvious explanation for the similarities between the posters is that they are both hybrid genres films with high production values. Importantly, there are several key differences in the poster’s presentation “”The Mummy Returns” they seem to emphasise the storyline the “Troy” poster seem to draw its attention to the rivalry between Brad Pitt’s character and Eric Bana’s. “The Mummy Returns” was the better film between them these two films. I think this because I believe that the poster used the colours and stars in a better way , more eye -catching and was more likely to be remembered.
Which could persuade them to come and see the films which means its doing a better job. However, in Hollywood a successful film is a film which does successfully in the box-office even though Troy only made $147,865,412 on their opening weekend compared to The Mummy Returns weekend gross of $168,139,035. Overall Troy made a bigger impact on the film world but given its bigger budget and involvement of A-list this is not surprising. In both cases, the influence of a major studio is reflected through the budget (“The Mummy Returns” -$98 million, Troy-$185 million) and this has influenced the way in which the films are marketed.
They both use high concept features for example A-list stars and hybrid genres . However they aren’t both produced by big Hollywood studios, even though they have high production values. The typography in both posters connected with the storyline for example, In the Troy poster, the blades in the title connotes the action and war element in the film. They both also use C. G. I in both poster which also connotes high production values. Unlike “The Mummy Returns” poster the poster for the movie “Troy” has a slightly higher production values as its promotion includes website and reviews.