January 20, 2017

‘The Other Guys’ motion poster debuts – but what’s a motion poster?

Thursday on Yahoo Movies, Sony Pictures debuted an exclusive “motion poster” for the upcoming film The Other Guys, starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Not to be confused with one of those lenticular images that shifts back and forth when you pass by, this little puzzle piece of promotion appears to be a self-contained confession of the film’s intent and tone: Wahlberg and Ferrell fly towards the camera with their guns blazing, only to collide mid-air and come swinging to a halt on their wire rigs. When Ferrell drops one of his guns, Wahlberg goes ape, yelling at him for ruining the shot, even as Ferrell continues to point out that, yes, he has in fact lost his weapon. Check out the clip below:

Co-written and directed by Anchorman and Talladega Nights creator Adam McKay, the film promises to deconstruct a familiar cinematic scenario, in this case cop dramas, hence this motion poster’s combination of gobsmacking action choreography and goofy fourth-wall reality. But even though viewers have long been introduced to films via trailers, clips, viral campaigns, and pop-up ads among other media means, motion posters are a relatively new phenomenon. Last year, Lionsgate used them to promote Saw VI and The Haunting in Connecticut, but given the growing dominance of web marketing, these poster-shaped clips (which is what they really are) are quickly becoming an effective preamble to more substantive promotional materials.

What do you think of motion posters? Are they a cool way to get a first look at a film, or at the very least what a film might be like? Or are they silly, pointless promotional fluff with no value or redeeming impact? Leave us a comment and let us know!

About Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist. Over the past decade he worked at a variety of online and print publications, including the Miami New Times, Filmstew.com, SCI FI Wire, and IGN.com, where he wrote reviews, conducted interviews with actors and filmmakers, and edited Movies, DVD and Music content. He currently works for Cinematical.com among other outlets, and has been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association since 2005.

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