Does the choice of colors used in movie posters really mean anything? I never paid attention before now. Recently, someone with far more knowledge than me has taken a look at movie posters, wondering if there is some correlation between color, content and box office success. Starting with the iconic poster image of Showgirlsin mind, Armin Vit at Speak Up has written a fascinating article entitled "Dark and Fleshy: The Color of Top Grossing Movies."

Vit is an experienced graphic designer, so he approached the subject from that angle: "I love black backgrounds more than anything else in the design business, and yet I was still very surprised to acknowledge how dark theatrical posters are and that, specifically, in this context, the top 25 grossing movies of all time across all ages didn't run a very wide gamut." He broke down the colors of 25 posters, representing the top five box office earners in each MPAA category: G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17. The graphic results certainly surprised me and may depress you with the bland similarities. The entire article is well worth reading, though, as are the comments.

Having read Vit's article, I find myself looking at posters in a whole new light. Even one that stands out as "badass" -- as Erik Davis aptly described the 3:10 to Yuma poster -- is predominantly composed of dark colors. As Vit acknowledged, there are always exceptions to the rule -- he cited The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Wedding Crashersis another that comes to mind -- but next time you visit the multiplex, check out the posters for the most popular films and see what colors predominate.
categories Movies, Cinematical