12 Best Movie Posters of 2016

12 Best Movie Posters of 2016

A movie poster, like a trailer, can say so much about what it is the filmmakers think they have made. The very best combine form and function, communicating the relevant information while reflecting some element of the subject matter. Whether simple or complex, the best will draw you in with an interesting idea or memorable image. As is the case below, sometimes even weak films can have intriguing posters--in part because posters are allowed to be fairly simple ideas and with just a bit of thought, you have a chance to make something that stands out. Here's a look at the best posters of 2016:

Patriots Day

Patriotism in poster form is always going to move the needle for me. Patriots Day tells the story surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. This poster cleverly plays on the laces that adorn runners' tennis shoes and gives them a patriotic tinge to match the harrowing story. The poster knows exactly who it is reaching out for and does just enough to get that person to give it a second look. 

The Birth of a Nation

It would be difficult to pick just one of these posters. On the left, Nat Turner is in a noose fashioned out of an American flag. On the right, images of Nat Turner's rebellions make up the red stripes of the American flag. Both play on the film's attempt to reclaim the historical narrative and offer alternatives to the images we usually consider patriotic. It is a shame the film doesn't quite live up to the power of these images, but they will nonetheless be hard to forget.

The Lobster

How do you capture the most unique idea of the year in a poster? The Lobster is an alternate universe wherein if you are unable to find a mate by a certain time, you are turned into the animal of your choice. Its absurdist concept was delivered with a lot of heart and creativity and this poster can't help but leave you with just as many questions as the synopsis. 



Subversive through and through, Deadpool is the story of the anti-superhero. He takes down every superhero trope with sarcasm and a certain dry wit. This poster was a part of the film's tongue-in-cheek efforts to market itself as a romantic movie for its Valentine's Day release. As the film went on to make gobs of money, it clearly worked. 


The Founder

This still unreleased one-time Oscar contender tells the story of Ray Kroc, the man often acknowledged as the founder of McDonald's. While the film muddies this picture with a tale of thievery and backstabbing, those iconic arches are always enough to make you take a second look. 


Three fingers clasped by the other hand. Stately buttons and pearls. Hair fastidiously coiffed. Such is Natalie Portman's Jackie in this poster and throughout the film. This poster does a beautiful job of capturing the energy of the film and the isolation of its subject. That gaze off into the distance is the final touch that creates just enough mystery to draw you in. 


What may be the year's best film may ultimately end up having the year's best poster as well. The photograph in three parts shows the film's main character in each of the three phases of his story. The image is pretty simple, but beautifully reflects the seamless transition between the three phases and the three actors who portray Chiron. While the poster made plenty of sense before seeing the film, its impact is only heightened after seeing what each of those eyes saw. 

When The Bough Breaks

Sometimes an awful movie can come with a boffo marketing effort. So is the case with the sultrily seductive poster for When The Bough Breaks. It features the alluring figure of Jaz Sinclair, whose character comes unhinged in this Fatal Attraction redux. Nothing in the film is nearly as well-executed as this poster, but it still stands out.

The Purge: Election Year

In a year dominated by election coverage, it seems only fitting to include a poster from this dystopian thriller that reflects many of the year's scariest themes. Populism, xenophobia, Russian influence--they were all there in equal measure and the 'wink wink' patriotism of this poster offers a simple display of how the horrific can quickly become the widely accepted. 

10 Cloverfield Lane

This film came out of nowhere and remained wholly mysterious until its release. There were sparse teaser trailers and some pretty heavyweight names attached, but not much information than that. This poster references the below-ground story that unfolds, as well as a certain sense of dread that sweeps over every frame of the film. 

OJ: Made In America

Where do I even start with this one? A gloved hand channels the murderous center of the story. It drips with American flag shaded blood, an allusion to the film's framing of OJ Simpson as a quintessentially American story above all else. So many layers of complexity, so artfully executed. It doesn't get much better than this. 


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