The Year Movie Posters Turned Gray

Recently we shared a project that visualized the history of colors in movie posters from 1914 to present. Those visualizations showed a striking shift as blue has been feature more and more prominently over the years. It also highlights Hollywood’s love of those complementary colors orange and blue. This is something that gets brought up and ranted about every so often, and when I went to browse through the movie posters of films released this year, I fully expected to see the usual orange and blue trends. What I saw was a little different.

Yes, there are still a lot of blue posters out there, but we know blue is nothing new.

What struck me in particular about 2012 was how gray everything looked. Everywhere I saw dark, subdued posters, steely black & white images, and heck, there’s even a film called The Grey. Just take a look at some of the of posters from this year.

Alex_Cross Amazing_Spiderman

Bourne_Legacy Cabin_in_the_Woods

Dark_Knight Expendables

Frankenweenie The_Grey

Haywire Lawless

Lincoln Prometheus

Safe_House Skyfall

Snow_White Taken

This_Means_War Total_Recall

What is it about gray?

It’s a masculine color, and as you probably noticed, these are action-driven films appealing to male audiences. Even the films starring women. Gray is also considered dark and mysterious, so perhaps its use is meant to entice, to draw you in so you can find out why it’s so dark and mysterious.

On it’s own, gray can be quite dull, but when smartly combined with more vibrant colors, boy do those details pop. Red is used to great effect to make titles, dates, and violence stand out. The singed orange jumps off of The Expendables poster and screams ACTION MOVIE. Liam Neeson’s deep blue eyes pierce right into your soul. You get the point.

Personally, I find this trend a little boring and gloomy. I’m more of a fan of the brilliantly colored posters of yesteryear, but I suppose that’s another post for another time. What do you guys think?

Author: Sprouticus
Community builder, color lover, bike rider, book reader.