It’s hard to see movie posters as anything other than glorified advertisements that are pretty ignorable, especially when you consider how similar and clichéd they can be. But the Chinese have elevated the humble movie poster to a bonafide art form, with artist Huang Hai being one of the best examples.
The Global Times recently ran a Huang Hai profile, which includes details about his training at the Ogilvy advertising agency, his own studio, and his first poster, for Jiang Wen’s acclaimed 2007 film The Sun Also Rises.
Last year saw the first official release of a Studio Ghibli film in China, when My Neighbor Totoro screened in December. The next Ghibli film was Spirited Away, which arrived in theaters last week (and easily defeated Toy Story 4 at the Chinese box office). Several gorgeous posters were created for the occasion:
Based on these posters and the aforementioned My Neighbor Totoro poster, I can’t wait to see the posters for the other Ghibli films coming to China, which include Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke.
Granted, not every Chinese movie poster is a work of art — arguably, the vast majority of Chinese movie posters are pretty basic and clichéd themselves — but the ones above (and others like them) are proof that advertising and art don’t have to be at odds at the box office. And yes, I want them all hanging on my walls.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.