Poster Marketing Done Well: The Bourne Ultimatum

June 30, 2007

I've written before about how important posters are in the movie world, and both Hollywood and all of the movie-goers know this. However, I've been a bit aggravated this summer with the posters for all of the enormous blockbuster trilogies that have made millions of dollars. The problem is that they've had poor looking posters that haven't stuck with the same theme throughout the first and second movies. Finally there's a set that's really impressed me: The Bourne Ultimatum.

I'm often skeptical on Universal's marketing tactics, as they never seem to be the studio's strong point, however this time they've done very well with Bourne Ultimatum so far. Take a look at the four posters currently released for the movie:

Bourne Ultimatum Poster    Bourne Ultimatum Poster

Bourne Ultimatum Poster    Bourne Ultimatum Poster

Their designs are some of the most unique, eye-catching, and identifiable designs of any major blockbuster this year. Just look at the first teaser poster on the upper left. You know exactly who that character is and where he's going simply from the back of his head and the cityscape in the background. The two black and white ones are just plain badass, some of the coolest I've seen all year. And the newest blue one in the lower right goes back to the same style and theme we've seen with the other posters before.

Now take a look at two other major trilogies this summer that I've been disappointed with. First up is Spider-Man 3. The first two on the left are the same theme they've had since the beginning, then the last one on the right is the very last poster they released in January.

Spider-Man Poster   Spider-Man 2 Poster   Spider-Man 3 Poster

What happened to that rich red and gold theme? They can't just drop all their marketing budget and poster themes just because it's already guaranteed to make hundreds of millions of dollars! Not that I don't like that poster for the third movie, but I think it would've been better to stick with that theme and create a set fans could hang on their walls together.

Second up is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The first two on the left have a specific style and theme with the rich brown and green colors and very identifiable designs with the cast. But for the third movie they never had that, they only had the character posters with the fog and a similar poster with three of the cast members on it and that's it!

Pirates of the Caribbean Poster   Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Poster   Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Poster

It's the same thing as with Spider-Man 3, it's just not right to drop that theme for something entirely different and much less fulfilling. It's a bit annoying to see this, especially when the movie is about to make almost a billion dollars and they can't simply please the fans with the final poster in the series that fits with the theme!

Now let's take a look at all three of the Bourne series posters.

Bourne Identity Poster   Bourne Supremacy Poster   Bourne Ultimatum Poster

There's not a central theme at all, but there are strong similarities. The first and third are the most similar with the running pose and motion blur, it's only the second one that's really out of place (yet still a good poster) this time. However I'm much more satisfied with this set and the four posters above for Bourne Ultimatum than I am at how Spider-Man and Pirates of the Caribbean ended their trilogies.

Although poster design is never the biggest part of movie criticism, it does bother me a bit when I see the types of things that happened with Spider-Man and Pirates of the Caribbean. It's almost as if they don't acknowledge that the fans even exist or try to cater to them at all.

Bravo Universal, a job well done and a successful trilogy conclusion on your hands! The Bourne Ultimatum hits theaters on August 3rd. Now only if anyone can figure out what the heck those black and white Bourne Ultimate face posters are very similar to?

Find more posts: Editorial, Hype, Opinions, Posters



First I have to say, "I love you guys". You have your fingers on the pulse of the movie fans. I agree with your "poster theory" and I really study poster trends. Now the Pirates franchise has no excuse for moving away from the first two poster’s style, but Joe Public loves the Johnny Depp & didn't even notice. I have to disagree with the Spider Man 3 poster critique. The poster matches the feel and style of the first two but the lack of gold is generating the feel for the “BlackSpiderMan”/ Venom storyline. Too bad th movie missed it's mark & wasted the great Venom comic book story. While I enjoyed the movie, it could have been so much better. I do think the Bourne posters are great and can only hope the 3rd film is not as predictable as the 2nd was... Have a great day and thank you for sharing, Naomi

Naomi on Jul 2, 2007


I dont know how you decide what the main poster is but for the bourne supremecy there is a poster with damon running thats the same blury effect

john on Jul 4, 2007


Here's some alternative Bourne SUPREMACY posters in the past that try to maintain that consistant 'run/walk' theme of all 3 parts' posters:- Supremacy DVD cover:- Poster similarities - the black and white ones with the faces remind me of the Face/Off poster w. Nic Cage and John Travolta:- Poster with Bourne and the camera from below reminds me of Mark Wahlberg from The Shooter:-

jb on Jul 5, 2007


i agree with u guyz about the analyz but as for spider the poster just need the gold effect, the poster reflects the idea of the film and poster matches the style of the first and for bourne yap i totally agree with. p.s: i need to know a site that i can download bourne posters with high reslution if possible plusi'd like to study posters trend how can i get information ? thankx

cellophane on Jul 20, 2007

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