Stab me in the eye

Posted by · 7:48 pm · March 1st, 2010

I’m over the moon that “Minority Report” and “Collateral” are finally making their way to Blu-ray, and I look forward to owning “Up in the Air,” but I don’t understand why home video departments feel a need to rape and pillage well-considered and often times singular marketing materials in favor of such generic nonsense as this, the kind of artwork you’d expect to find at the bottom of the $5 bin at Wall Mart.

Alright, no, I get it. Let’s make sure the star’s face is as apparent as humanly possible. But how many more dollars are they really making by sacrificing the visual identity of these films, anyway?

CollateralMinority ReportUp in the Air

→ 38 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

38 responses so far

  • 1 3-01-2010 at 7:50 pm

    Brian said...

    Minority Report and Collateral look AWFUL.

    Up in the Air looks like a FYC ad.

  • 2 3-01-2010 at 7:55 pm

    Glenn said...

    Tom Cruise looks so photoshopped on both of those covers, but the “Up in the Air” one is just awful in ever way possible. So bloody lazy!

  • 3 3-01-2010 at 7:56 pm

    Carson Dyle said...

    What’s annoying is that these films all have perfectly good posters, that are instantly recognisable…

  • 4 3-01-2010 at 7:57 pm

    cineJAB said...

    Kris i was literally just about to ask how you felt about the Up In the Air dvd cover. They picked a good blurb for the cover, but wasn’t that the first still released for the film? tacky much?

  • 5 3-01-2010 at 8:00 pm

    Sally said...

    Just be glad its out. So many of us are still waiting for BACK TO THE FUTURE TO MAKE ITS WAY TO BLU RAY

  • 6 3-01-2010 at 8:06 pm

    Sound Designer Dan said...

    That Collateral Blu-ray cover is ASS awful.

    I don’t understand why they used that particular cover for UITA though. The poster was already pretty great.

  • 7 3-01-2010 at 8:08 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I like the Collateral poster with Tom just sitting there holding the gun. They should have just used that.

  • 8 3-01-2010 at 8:28 pm

    Mike said...

    For Up in the Air, it’s like someone did a clip art search for ‘generic laughing businesspeople’ and pasted it on the cover. I get that they want to sell the fact that Clooney’s in it, but it’s so sanitary and doesn’t speak to anything the film is about.

  • 9 3-01-2010 at 8:28 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    It’s simple: take the Up in the Air example, compare two designs: the blu-ray cover with George and Vera, and the original poster with the small silhouttes against the backdrop of the huge plane in the airport window. Now imagine the blu-ray on the shelves at K-mart. Now consider two potential buyers: a movie fan and a casual K-mart shopper looking to pick up something to watch saturday night.

    option 1: the movie poster. Movie buff will appreciate the design and buy it because he knows and likes the film. K-Mart shopper flips past it, thinks for about 0,3 seconds “Oh, something about planes. Looks boring”, and goes for the next one.

    option 2: the cover pictured above. Movie buff will hate the design, but buy it nonetheless, because he knows and likes the film. K-Mart shopper flips past it, think “Oh look, George Clooney and some pretty lady, and it looks like they’re having fun. I like that!”, and buys it.

    Option 2 wins. That having been said, what in god’s name happened to Tom’s face in the Minority Report cover?? Did he play a burn victim or something? Was the entire film overlit and out of focus? I don’t remember him looking anything like that, but hey, maybe that’s just me…

  • 10 3-01-2010 at 8:32 pm

    Mike said...

    Erik – very true, and LOL

  • 11 3-01-2010 at 8:42 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Eh, screw Blu-ray. Just another overpriced thing I don’t need.

  • 12 3-01-2010 at 9:02 pm

    James D. said...

    Oh my, Speaking English, that is heresy among cinephiles. I agree with you, though. I don’t know how a Blu-Ray player improves acting or a script any.

  • 13 3-01-2010 at 9:08 pm

    Kevin said...

    The artwork is awful, but that’s become increasingly common on home video box art. I learned long ago not to sweat the box art as it has kept me from buying some truly great films simply because the covers rape the poster artwork. I think part of the reason they end up with different artwork on the home video releases is because the poster art is legally only useable for the theatrical posters themselves, and only by the theatrical distributor and poster artist. Many times the home video releases are distributed by a totally different company or parent company than the theatrical distribution studio so they are not legally allowed to use the artwork that the theatrical distribution company actually owns. At the end of the day, it’s all about who owns what image, and way too much complicated legal mumbo-jumbo to really worry yourself with.

    I agree that the artwork for home video releases is often terrible, but it’s the film itself I’m more interested in. Don’t be like me and hold off buying great films on blu-ray just because the cover art stinks and you want to wait for a possibly different cover art on a super-deluxe prestige edition. 99.99999% of the time, it won’t happen. :)

  • 14 3-01-2010 at 9:09 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Erik: Like I said, I get it. But I’m not sold that it makes all that much of a difference monetarily.

    English: Thanks, as always, for contributing something of worth to the conversation.

  • 15 3-01-2010 at 9:19 pm

    Speaking English said...


    Okay, I’ll bring up something that falls right in line with this post, and that’s that I’m disappointed with the “Where the Wild Things Are” DVD cover. Agreements on that one?

  • 16 3-01-2010 at 9:25 pm

    Kevin said...

    The dvd cover of Where the Wild Things Are is weak, but the blu-ray cover actually used one of my favorite posters (thoe on with Carol peeking out from behind the scratched up tree), and the words blu-ray on the top bar of the slip-cover are written in crude, child-like handwriting.

    Off topic, but speaking of Where the Wild Things Are, I discovered a fantastic making-of book about the film at Barnes N Noble today, cleverly bound and stuffed full of fascinating info and beautiful photos for $40. I almost enjyoed reading the book and all the interesting things about the making of the film (like how Catharine Keener was dressed up in fake blood and a prosthetic ripped off arm stump to get a frightened reaction out of Max Records, or how Spike Jonze had a plush raccoon that he pretended to have stuck on his face attacking him in order to get Records to laugh hysterically) than the movie itself, which I loved.

  • 17 3-01-2010 at 9:38 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Conscious directors should have clauses in their contracts to prevent this.

  • 18 3-01-2010 at 9:38 pm

    Gareth said...

    LOVE that you posted on this Kris. It has always annoyed the ever loving shit out of me, but I don’t recall having been this annoyed by several releases in a while. Minority Report and Collateral look absolutely TERRIBLE. The silver lining on MR is that the UK region free blu ray steelbook is PERFECT, and I’ll be importing that. The Collateral…. I don’t even know. I guess cutting a dvd slip to fit blu ray beats that god awful cover at this point.

    Up in the Air, isn’t awful, ust lackluster.

  • 19 3-01-2010 at 10:02 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    Kris, you’re completely right, actually. It won’t make any difference. Worst case scenario the disc will be in the store a day longer before it gets sold, but it gets sold anyway. What I just did was essentially give the exact same pitch a movie advertising whore would give to impress his boss, barely veiling his contempt for the man (cuz face it, advertising guys are still usually guys) who inexplicably makes more money then him in spite of being stupider, knowing they’ll go with the ugly cover. Then they all leave work early to have beers, and we pay $10 extra for our blu-ray discs to pay the salaries of lame marketing jerks who gave us ugly covers because, to them, we’re all casual K-Mart shoppers.

    I hope one day they all get fired via webcam by a twenty five year old girl.

  • 20 3-01-2010 at 10:13 pm

    R.J. said...

    I’m slowly coming around to the idea of Blu-Ray, I still don’t own a Blu-Ray player, but I know the image quality is magnificent. In reality, I think DVD’s look great, you only really notice the difference if you’ve seen a Blu-Ray movie. I’d only want certain films on Blu-Ray for the extra features anyway because, lately, DVD features haven’t been as good and the Blu-Ray releases are jam-packed with so much more. I guess it’s worth the money, but for now I’ll just have to wait.

    But yeah, even though I understand what Erik was saying, I still think those covers are definitely lazy and boring more than anything else.

  • 21 3-01-2010 at 10:23 pm

    Jessica said...

    They look like covers of pirated dvds from China! Seriously, what’s wrong with using the original posters?!?

  • 22 3-01-2010 at 10:35 pm

    cineJAB said...

    this or some variation would have been a much better choice:

  • 23 3-01-2010 at 10:59 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    It wouldn’t matter, the nicest designs in the world would be marred by the Blue lining. When is that going to end?

  • 24 3-01-2010 at 11:29 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Good point. I like the Criterion clear cases.

  • 25 3-02-2010 at 12:15 am

    qwiggles said...

    The UITA one is gold, in an olympics of shit kind of way. It looks like a Polaroid snap floating in a toilet bowl.

  • 26 3-02-2010 at 2:07 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    The Up in the Air cover is particularly sappy. The others are just poor action mash-ups of great films. Love to hear how the actual picture quality of the films is though.

  • 27 3-02-2010 at 3:38 am

    Conor said...

    Am I the only one annoyed by the “From the Director of Juno”? Seems like most people would know, and it’s not like Juno was THAT much more successful than Up in the Air. Not that this is the worst thing about that awful cover…

  • 28 3-02-2010 at 4:27 am

    Glenn said...

    Conor, “Juno” has made about $60mil more than “UItA”, but I suspect that tag is more just a way of getting younger audiences to see it.

  • 29 3-02-2010 at 5:53 am

    Conor said...

    Yeah, but they’re different audiences completely. Keep in mind “Up in the Air” is R.

  • 30 3-02-2010 at 7:55 am

    Adam K. said...

    There are a lot of college age girls who have seen and loved Juno, and who think George Clooney is SEXXXY, but have not heard of this film. This would get them to look at it. I see, from a marketing standpoint, why they did what they did with this.

    But it still sucks. It’s also not a flattering picture of Vera, and that’s a shame.

  • 31 3-02-2010 at 8:28 am

    half empty said...

    Here’s another horrible cover I’ve never understood:

    The poster was great, and seemingly dumbass K-Mart shopper friendly:

    I get why you would make the change for UITA and Collateral (gotta get Clooney and Foxx some face time), but History’s poster already has Mortensen and a gun front and center. The DVD cover just adds the kids and puts the gun in Viggo’s hand. Does that really make that much of a difference? Isn’t the original image more striking anyway, even to someone who’s casually browsing the racks?

  • 32 3-02-2010 at 9:14 am

    Conor said...

    Adam K, you’re right. From a marketing standpoint, it does make sense. It still annoys me a ton. Sorta like how the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” poster says “Based on the Book by the Author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

  • 33 3-02-2010 at 4:32 pm

    Glenn said...

    Conor, it’s marketing 101 though. No point getting annoyed at it. These people DO have to make money after all.

  • 34 3-02-2010 at 4:38 pm

    Conor said...

    I think bad cover art is a perfectly reasonable thing to be annoyed at, even if it’s to make more money.

  • 35 3-02-2010 at 6:52 pm

    AntonioA said...

    Both Collateral and Minority Report’s covers look worse!!!

  • 36 3-03-2010 at 9:48 pm

    Jameson said...

    I completely agree these box covers are absurd and it’s a shame the declining sense of identity tied to a film’s one-sheet as its one and only calling card as a visual identifier.

    Still, I never see the box art when the Blu-Ray comes from Netflix. Out of sight, out of mind…

  • 37 3-06-2010 at 2:57 pm

    Maxim said...

    Kris, you do not know how right you are!

    Tha Minority Report release is ABSOLUTELY Superb in every way with etensive new extras including Scene Commentary by Spileberg plus many of the older extras are in HD. Everything is so perfect but this awful cover.

    You could say they really dropped a red ball on this one (gettit)?

    And to make things worse compare it with this amazing british cover I absolutely love:×434.jpg

    Love, love everything about it including the huge oldfashioned a Steven Spielberg film tag.

  • 38 4-04-2010 at 10:48 am

    Hylke said...

    Another cover they totally ruined: Princess and the Frog:
    Kid-friendly, appealing to girls, boys, AND adults.
    Then they come up with this:

    Unfortunately older movies very very often get a horrible cover to replace a beautiful VHS/poster/old dvd.

    Or how about all the Let’s Just Use Johnny Depp’s Face And That’s It covers.