DVD covers that stink!
April 30, 2002 1:53 PM   Subscribe

DVD covers that stink! [Via Kottke]
posted by riffola (13 comments total)
Some of the criticisms seem a little off-base.

I think Homegrown has a pretty cool cover if you see the Lucky Strike reference. I've never rented the film, but it's always caught my eye at the video store for this reason.

I also think some of the ripoffs that he mentions are deliberate allusions to the original.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2002

Cool. I've always wondered what I'd use to cover that stink in my apartment. Now I know the answer is DVD.
posted by kindall at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2002

Thank you, kindall. English was hurting me.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:11 PM on April 30, 2002

I have to agree with a lot of what this guy is saying... especially this crap of adding the faces of the actors to the cover to boost sales. Sheesh.

I'd like to point out that I'm a huge fan of the Criterion collection. They really do everything right, down to the covers. A couple other comparisons are Rushmore|Rushmore and The Rock|The Rock.
posted by stormy at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2002

I actually agree that most of the movie posters make far better covers.
posted by riffola at 2:13 PM on April 30, 2002

I always liked the European cover for "Being John Malkovich". However, what really annoys me is the awful blurb on the back of covers. Notice how this example completely avoids any reference to the brilliant directing, acting or existential dilemmas, and instead reads like a ten-year-old's book review:

Craig Schwartz (john cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer. In order to make some money, Craig takes a job as a filing clerk. One day he accidentally discovers a portal into the brain of John Malkovich (played by john malkovich)! For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip - HE is being John Malkovich! Then he's dumped onto the New Jersey turnpike! With his beautiful office mate Maxine (catherine keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (cameron diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John's brain for just $200 a trip. See what all the critics are talking about.
posted by chrismear at 2:26 PM on April 30, 2002

just saying, if i designed a movie poster, if i wasn't getting paid for my design to appear on the DVD or VHS, they would have to re-do it, and re-do it without totally stealing my ideas.

so, it makes sense that they are different.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:35 PM on April 30, 2002

just saying, if i designed a movie poster, if i wasn't getting paid for my design to appear on the DVD or VHS, they would have to re-do it, and re-do it without totally stealing my ideas.

Sorry th3ph17, it doesn't work that way. The studio owns the artwork we generate for them. (Rightfully so, they after all, pay for and own all the artwork.) Anyway, there are countless reasons why artwork changes for the home video release.

Anyway, I'm bummed that many of my posters are on that site, but I've already bitched about that enough already at the original link posted at scrubbles.net.

On top of that, the designer for the original one-sheet a film bitched me out via email because I dared post my "rejected" poster for the same film, which somehow took away from his work. Talk about delusional.

Sucks to be a movie poster designer right now.
posted by jca at 3:25 PM on April 30, 2002

cool, jca, we get all kinds here. I was just going to say that I was surprised and pleased that they were tracking intellectual property disputes as part of this, like Saul Bass's Anatomy of a Murder vs. Clockers -- it isn't just a lark.

Anyway, I think people have to realize that a video/DVD cover is going to serve a very different purpose from the movie one-sheet. The movie poster is designed to attract people, generally, to future releases. (There are some people who show up at theaters and haven't decided what to see, or miss a start time or whatever -- but most people I know decide before leaving the house.)

The DVD art, though, is designed to sell or rent that DVD among probably thousands of competitors that could just as easily take that customer's money that day. The scale is entirely different, and people do respond to a human face very well (big marketing seekrit, shhhh) -- many things that would be visible on a poster just come out too small to even see when you hold the DVD in front of your face. The movie descriptions aren't accompanied by an ongoing marketing campaign, so they have to be written to hook people in. And tying both of those together is the fact that people often seem to make rental decisions based on nothing more sophisticated than the movie's cast. Is that less interesting than art and marketing built around a movie's unique direction or theme? Yeah, but that's the nature of the beast -- the rental market is just plain more commodified.
posted by dhartung at 4:39 PM on April 30, 2002

jca, i do lots of Bail Bonds billboards...so, trust me...it could be much worse...

but...yeah...that is a bummer. People paying for the work don't always pick the Best version....Rarely where i work.

It seems like working for the movie industry would be a big ego-ridden minefield. How much of that filters down to your level?
posted by th3ph17 at 5:00 PM on April 30, 2002


"Shit rolls downhill." :)
posted by jca at 5:53 PM on April 30, 2002

Ok, logging off, leaving office, tears of laughter. True. Very true.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:59 PM on April 30, 2002

Minor point, and I'm not at home now to verify, but I would swear that my copy of The Iron Giant actually has the "great, moody" dark cover.
posted by smackfu at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2002

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