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Feature Film

FIRST LOOK: Licensing Show teaser posters

Dreamworks’ The Croods, Rise of the Guardians and Madagascar 3, Sony/Aardman’s The Pirates and Illumination’s The Lorax are among the properties being showcased this week at the International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. Luckily our friends from snapped a bunch of photos, the most relevant to us are posted below (click the bottom three for a larger image):

  • JD

    LOL bad posters. Come on DreamWorks.

    • cbat628

      I think they’re bad only because they are licencing show posters, not theatrical posters.

      Anyway, I totally agree.

      “Rise of the Guardians” looks totes bland and “The Croods” looks like the product of some REALLY bad photoshop.

  • Can’t wait for the new Aardman!

  • They all have that Dreamworks smirk.


    • David

      You ARE aware that Pixar just announced “PLANES” right?…

      • Nate

        Planes isnt being done by Pixar…its a Disney joint.

    • tonma

      Aww come on! you can’t really see the twisted smirk in half of them (you can’t even see the mouth of the lorax!) and there’s is no evident raised brows like in those Megamind posters, I think you are exaggerating here.

  • Ju-osh

    The Croods is the new flick from Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How To Train Your Dragon). Surely this is something to celebrate!

    • Gene

      But without the great Dean DuBlois, writer and director of those two films, who knows of this one will make sense.

  • Gene

    The ones at the bottom are hard to see, but the croods poster looks terrible.

  • snip2354

    Thanks, guys, for explaining what exactly makes all these posters look bad.

    • Mat

      With the Croods poster I’d say it is that kid in the bottom right hand corner. The look on his face is just off and I’ll be having nightmares about that kid for weeks.

  • Mark R.

    eeek! – those top posters are really ugly.
    I like what Dreamworks has been doing lately but these look amateur.

    • David

      These are licensing posters, not final posters.

      • Mark R.

        Doesn’t matter what they are – they’ve still got their name on them.

  • Clint H

    I’m sure some of these movies will be good, but my God. These posters are TERRIBLE! The worst ones are THE CROODS and THE GUARDIANS, which looks like Dreamworks if it went low-budget.

  • Bill A.

    The blond kid in the Guardians poster looks like the Joffrey character in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Not exactly the best person to resemble after last week’s ep.

    • CCS

      Haha, first thing I thought of too.

  • Ben

    I guess the lorax and the pirates don’t look too bad, but the dreamworks posters look absolutely crap! They look like video game posters!

  • Gobo

    What’s strange to me is how little individual style these display. With Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, I’d hoped that DW was moving towards more stylized, unique-looking productions. But they all just look like off-the-shelf DreamWorks characters. The Croods doesn’t look anything like a Chris Sanders film, and there’s zero trace of William Joyce in the Guardians poster. Well, the one guy has wide-set eyes, so maybe a trace.

  • The Gee

    I don’t know what that beast in the first poster is supposed to be but the very fact that it shoots bananas out of its mouth is surely something which would frighten half the people who see the beast while amusing the other half who see it.

    Thus ends my daily interpretation of unintentional infographics.

    On a serious note, given the nature of the event, I’d guess what they are going for are posters which feature the characters–not story or anything.

    I don’t really think that people should try to poke their diving rods at them and determine much about the strength or quality of the upcoming features.

  • Come on, The Lorax poster doesn’t look that bad…

    • Eric Paulsen

      It was known as a Dvorax.
      It spoke for the weeds,
      and the rivers, and hills,
      and for ALL natures needs.

    • Eric Paulsen

      Noone had cared, not the rich, not the poor,
      they just sold out the land for cheap junk from a store…
      and when it got broke, they went back to buy more.

  • anonymous

    The Lorax poster is nice enough and the design has been modified little from Suess’s original. I personally don’t like the designs of the other 2, But let’s face it, they are just posters . Now, bring on Aardman’s Pirates!

  • I remember the first posters of HTTYD looking kind of ugly too. I think Chris Sanders’ designs translate weirdly into CGI and they look better in movement than they do in still images.

    But yeah, most of those posters are ugly. I do like the Madagascar one, though, even if I don’t really care about the franchise. I thought the first one was ok in its firts half, but the sequel wasn’t especially interesting.

  • KyleB

    Saw some footage of Pirates as well as a behind the scenes reel while at Annecy, and let me just say that movie looks like a real hoot! Definitely should be one of the best next year.
    Lorax poster is decent and I wasn’t aware Illumination Entertainment was behind it, very interested.
    I like the layout in the Madagascar 3 poster even if I don’t want to particularly see another Madagascar film.

    The top two dreamworks posts just look bad though. Like some super low budget direct to dvd flick youd only find out about by browsing the bargain bin at a video store.

  • Kevin Koch

    Note that these posters were made specifically for a licensing expo. Focus for a second on the key word, LICENSING. The goal of the posters is to show potential licensees what is is they’d be licensing. These posters are not designed to sell films to general audiences.

    As an example, I’ve seen some of the development artwork and preliminary animation for The Guardians. What I saw was very impressive, didn’t feel at all like other animated films based on Joyce’s work (to me a good thing, since I don’t find Joyce’s style emotionally engaging), and was also distinct from other DreamWorks films. In the same way that KFP didn’t remind me in the slightest of HTTYD or Madagascar, Guardians felt like it’s own thing. Maybe it’s changed from what I saw, who knows. But I’d say that judging ANY of these movies by these licensing posters is a waste of time.

    • JD

      We’re judging the posters, and they’re bad. The 2 big ones anyway, big disappointment for any first-look material don’t you think?

      And I’m sorry but what’s wrong with ‘if you have it flaunt it’? If you got good material, why kill the buzz with mediocre posters, any promo is to sell something right? Go by your example, HTTYD is a very good film but hammered by the stupid promo campaign, fortunately saved by word-of-mouth.

      So yeah, most people judging a poster/trailer/etc to see if they want to see your movie, and if you fail at that first phase, chances are your movie is screwed by your stubborn self. Those are not appealing at all.

      • The Gee

        Kevin’s point is much clearly stated than what I wrote earlier:
        For the Licensing Show, these posters will do just fine.
        The posters were not made nor designed to appeal to any potential filmgoers.

        They are just showcasing the characters and are not step one in some bad marketing campaign.

        In other words, the posters you see were not made for you.

      • Justin

        But they are doing a bad job at showcasing the characters.

    • Lady

      THANK YOU SO MUCH .. I briefly worked on Guardians, and it’s a beautiful film (the last time I checked, and a lot of fantastic people are on it – and these are people that WANT to make sure Guardians is its own special thing).
      It’s pissing me off that everyone is dismissive of it – these designs are very obviously super basic posters (not meant for selling movies), and definitely not capable of the work I’ve seen created for the film. No one should be judging it because these are not SUPPOSE to be seen by the general public.

      Those images were definitely not designed for poster release.
      However, I have to say – Croods looks way different than I remember.

      • Zekumi

        I see where you guys are coming from.
        For the record, I’ve never looked at a professional poster for something before that wasn’t meant to look good, so I think immediately assessing the quality without consider whether it was meant to be assessed n the first place is pretty understandable of everyone. :3

  • I’m going to wait to see the actual trailers/publicity shots before judging any of them. However giant blue kitty monsters are always of interest to me.

  • 4er

    Everyone needs to get over the whole “dreamworks smirk” phenomenon. EVERY animation studio is guilty of it. This doesn’t make or break the movie. I guarantee if these were Pixar posters, everyone would be fawning over them, smirk or no smirk. Stop hating and finding ways to complain about things not worth complaining about!

    • Justin

      No, if those were Pixar posters everyone would be proclaiming that Pixar has at last lost its mind and that these movies are sure to bomb. And then people would reply to those comments saying “Pixar hasn’t made a bad movie yet. Trust in Pixar.”

  • Inkan1969

    How come there are no owls in the “Guardians” poster? :-)

    I can’t figure out how “The Lorax” is going to be made successfully without Dr. Seuss. It’s a guarantee that the film will be slammed for being PC and preachy.

  • snip2354

    Oh my God– are you guys even FAMILIAR with posters these days?! These do not look any different than the other really good posters that make it through the final stage! Plus, it’s been stated more than once that these are only for business propositions, and are not finalized.

  • Jeff

    There are some other animation posters at the link, such as Ultimate Spider-man and a Lego Star Wars TV special.

  • Keegan



    Oh yes please Dreamworks, this is what I wanted! Don’t come up with anything original, take pre existing characters from a genius story book writer/illustrator and mangle them into a bloody mess with tude and HUMAN EYES ON CARTOONS.


    • Cee

      Dreamworks isn’t doing the Lorax movie. That’s Universal with Illumination.

      I didn’t get “bloody mess” from that poster, either. It’s just a poster.

      • Keegan

        It’s still quite the tragedy. When will companies learn that taking someone else’s idea only to stray it so far away from the original that is is no longer recognizable is just plain retarded and shows a companies lack of creativity.

        Also, if you can’t tell “bloody mess” from the poster, you have way too much faith in Hollywood. Looks about as good as Yogi Bear’s bastardization.

    • fish

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. Defamatory, rude or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • JimBob

    “The Lorax” isn’t being done by Dreamworks. It’s being done by Illumination Entertainment– Creators of “Despicable Me”. Second, I’m sure no one paying to see a cartoon is going to be too worried about “human eyes” (The average person, anyhow). I’m sure they’re just worried about the content and how good it is overall. My point: If you’re going to whine about something, at least try and sound intelligent.

    • Keegan

      This is a website dedicated to cartoons. Surely you must know SOMETHING about cartoon appeal and design flaws.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Like us!

  • Ethan

    This is even worse than judging a film by the look of a happy meal toy, we’re not the target.

    This communication is only intended for other companies interested in licensing, that’s it. What’s important is that other companies can quickly see the business potential for them. They don’t care at all how the easter bunny looks on the poster, or how’s the composition, or if the pose is wrong, or the scale, the perspective, whatever. Business men don’t see these things. What they care about, is the fact that there IS an easter bunny in that film, especially if they are a big chocolate company, for example.

    Nobody in the general public was supposed to see this, and some journalists plastered it all over the internet to get a scoop. Congratulations for your scoop, I hope you’re making money.

    Personally, I have high expectations for most of those films. I can’t wait to see what Noah Baumbach has done for Madagascar 3 because Fantastic Mr Fox was a wonderful script. Another Chris Sanders film can only be good, so is another film from Aardman. Despicable Me was good, so I don’t see what could go wrong here. I don’t like Will Joyce stories, but I really like the easter bunny on the guardian poster for some unknown reason, maybe he’s an antagonist.

    I didn’t reply to Keegan above, my psychiatrist will be so proud :-)

    • Keegan

      I’m not judging anything BUT the Lorax film, everything else I have no problem with. I’m a fan of Aardman, Madagascar, Chris Sanders, etc.

      Despicable Me was lackluster at best. But that’s not what’s got me all antsy. It’s the fact that Hollywood is always trying to make a cheap buck off of other peoples’ original work. I can’t think of any more arguments to back up my claim, so I’ll instead provide a quote in response to another Hollywood cash-in of pre-existing properties.

      “I’ve always wondered why people in charge of animated projects like to take classic properties that completely stood on their own because of their inherent uniqueness and appeal and then change them into the same thing as every other cartoon.

      At one time this kind of thinking was relegated to low budget bargain basement Saturday Morning cartoons. It seemed outrageous to anyone with taste or respect for creativity way back in the 70s and 80s, but you could use the excuse that it’s low budget and therefore trash by definition, and trash doesn’t deserve original or creative ideas.

      Now Hollywood will invest huge fortunes on low-budget trashy 80s Saturday Morning type thinking. “Let’s take a highly beloved classic character and ‘tude him up!””

    • Steve

      Is Chris Sanders still on Croods? I heard otherwise…

      • Ethan

        If you are talking about that story against Chris Sanders 2 years ago, it ended up being false. It’s been taken care of by his lawyers, and Cartoon Brew posted a retraction of the news, the source disappeared.

        The press had said he was only directing, but 2 months ago an official press release confirmed that he’s now both director and screenwriter, along with Kirk DeMicco who is director and writer. Considering it’s for 2013, I hope this delay allows them to really take their time on the pre-production, instead of working with a partly-started project from another studio.

        I also heard something about Dean Deblois directing HTTYD2 by himself, there’s some pretty high expectations there too, no pressure :-)

  • Hey look! The marketing process changed that one Rise of the Guardians character design from being kind of striking and cool, to being groutesque and a bit uncanny valley. Who knew?

  • Skip

    Based on the posters alone, I have no interest in any of these films.

  • Elan

    I dont care if these are licensing posters. Someone at Dreamworks; some collection of ARTISTS had to design, model, rig, pose, and light the characters before some graphic designer threw it on a poster. And looking at that alone, it is terrible, TERRIBLE CG work.

    Awful. Laughably, embarrassingly awful.

    • Lady

      You’ll be eating those words next year, I promise you that.

      • Justin

        Criticizing a piece of artwork as it stands alone is a valid thing to do. Even if the final movie is amazing and we universally praise its brilliance, that doesn’t change the fact that these promo posters are bad.

  • abslom28

    I seriously have no idea what the problem is with cartoon characters having human eyes.

    • Keegan

      It loses it’s cartoon appeal. Especially if it’s a cartoon that already has an established style. Putting human attributes on a cartoon makes it look like a sideshow freak as opposed to what it should be, a cartoon character.

      • Jim Engel

        Cartoon characters should have CARTOON eyes, and HUMANS should have human eyes.

      • abslom28

        When you say ‘human eyes’ do you mean including the eyelids, eyelashes, etc., or just detailed pupils?

        If you’re talking about the eyelids, eyelashes, etc., then I see your point. But if it’s just the pupils, I still don’t see the problem.

      • The Gee

        Giving the eyes color, and rendering them more realistically so that they are like glass eyeballs.

  • Hal

    Actually, sometimes posters will be designed from scratch off rough models. I know most of the initial MONSTERS VS ALIENS “pose” posters were completely photoshopped from concept art/base models. So don’t assume ANYTHING you see on preliminary marketing is a final model/render.

  • Everything about that Lorax poster makes me sad.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    They look interesting. I notice that the penguins are absent in the MADAGASCAR 3 teaser poster.

  • Steven M.

    These posters don’t look very exciting. I thought Dreamworks was done with Madagascar.