The Worst Summer Blockbuster Movie Posters of All Time

Were these supposed to be exciting?

It’s been 40 years since Steven Spielberg’s Jaws introduced the concept of the summer blockbuster to the world in 1975. Part of what made the giant shark flick so enticing was its memorable (and horrifying) poster. It set the standard for how strong the poster for a blockbuster should be.

Of course, in the years since, not every big-budget flick released between May and August has approached its excellence. Here are 10 of the most lackluster summer blockbuster movie posters ever, sure to make you think, “Eh, maybe I’ll just go to the beach.”

  • 1 The Da Vinci Code (2006)
    Columbia Pictures
    With its giant shark, the Jaws poster makes you scared to go in the ocean. This one attempts unsuccessfully to communicate grave danger as well, but with just the looks of fear and constipation concern on the faces of Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. Granted, there’s no way to make a religious mystery with clues hidden in Da Vinci paintings terrifying. Maybe they should have just slapped a Jesus chain on a shark.

  • 2 The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
    Warner Bros.
    The creative designer must have given up by the time the second installment of The Matrix came around. What does this poster even allude to? The riveting life of a long, black coat?

  • 3 Mission: Impossible (1996)
    Paramount Pictures
    Mission: Impossible is one of the best blockbuster franchises of all time. It has great action and espionage plots full of surprising twists. But all you get from the first poster in the series is that Tom Cruise is in the movie and he’ll be somewhere on the globe. It’s a credit to his star power, but frankly we’ve seen tabloid headlines of his that are more exciting.

  • 4 Hancock (2008)
    Columbia Pictures
    There were a lot of striking images with which to sell a movie about a depressed, screw-up superhero, but this screwed up, depressing poster does little more than sell the promise of Will Smith (potentially playing a hobo). Apparently that is all you need, because this lackluster poster somehow led to a gross profit of $277 million in the summer of 2008. C’mon, people, have some standards.

  • 5 X-Men: First Class (2011)
    What’s the best way to showcase the awesome physical and mental powers of mutants and the conflict between mutants and humanity? A bunch of mutants walking or standing around, some marketing people thought. They were wrong.

  • 6 The Lone Ranger (2013)
    If the goal of this poster was to remind us that Johnny Depp would be “playing Indian” as Tonto, well, then we guess it’s successful.

  • 7 Waterworld (1995)
    Intense, unshaven Kevin Coster. With a feather earring. Water. Was there a better way to have sold this post-apocalyptic sci-fi action flick about people surviving in makeshift boat communities after the polar ice caps melt? Maybe not, but we’d feel a greater tingle for a picture of this entire crappy film project submerged and lifeless.

  • 8 True Lies (1994)
    With a superstar face to sell a movie, it’s like art departments don’t even bother. Here, it’s all about Schwarzenegger. He has a gun, which differentiates True Lies from exactly none of his other films. Also, there’s a barely visible government logo behind him, but for all we know that could be for the United States Postal Service—which would be ironic, considering how little this poster delivers.

  • 9 Wild Wild West (1999)
    You know you’ve got a fail of a poster when it could have been improved by accentuating the fire-shooting steampunk spider more. This artistic/commercial tragedy is likely explains why subsequent Will Smith movies just sold his face.

  • 10 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
    For a series as popular and fantasy-driven as Twilight, its posters are extremely mundane. From the original movie, to Breaking Dawn: Part II, every promo is just a picture of Kristin Stewart looking depressed, with either one or both of her lovers beside her. Yawn.

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@cwigginout