American Teen's New Poster - Breakfast Club Rip Off

March 28, 2008
Source: Film School Rejects

American Teen Poster Catchphrase

They were five total strangers, with nothing in common, except the school they went to. A heartthrob, a princess, a jock, a rebel and a geek. Before the year was over, they broke the rules. Bared their souls. And changed in ways they never dreamed possible. If that sounds like Breakfast Club, well you're close. A new poster has debuted for American Teen, courtesy of Film School Rejects, and its a blatant rip off of The Breakfast Club's poster - right down to that catchphrase. Well, of course that's what Paramount Vantage is going for, but I'm not satisfied. For some reason this doesn't strike me as the right way to market this film, but I may be wrong. Either way, now that I've got your interest, you still need to check it out.

The phrase is accurate, so they're not skewing the reality of what you'll find in the documentary, but I feel like trying to connect with The Breakfast Club isn't the best way to attract the attention of the right audiences. American Teen is this year's greatest documentary about the lives of four high schoolers in their senior year. We've praised it countless times - both in my review and Ken's review. Paramount Vantage bought it at Sundance for around $1 million and this seems to be the beginning of their marketing push for its July 25th release date.

American Teen Poster

For comparison purposes, the photo below is a side-by-side example of the original Breakfast Club poster and the new American Teen poster.

Breakfast Club / American Teen

The big issue I have with this marketing "idea" is that The Breakfast Club isn't as universally loved as one might initially think. First off, you had to have been "of that generation" when it came out in 1985 to really appreciate it. Secondly, none of today's generations are as familiar with it, and even if they are, they probably don't understand the pop culture significance. Third, not everyone loves Breakfast Club, like myself, and they might be turned off by this, as I am.

I'm not 100% sure what a better campaign might involve, but I know they better not stick with this and only this. In fact, I prefer the poster that was shown at ShoWest a LOT more.

American Teen ShoWest Poster

That one is a lot more "hip" and graphically inclined, which is what I think is necessary in this day and age to draw the attention of the younger generations. American Teen has the ability to hit big, maybe not with high schoolers similar to the ones shown in this, but definitely with college-aged demographics and older. I think a more energetic, youthful, and well-designed marketing campaign would go a lot farther than going back in time and attempting to connect with a 1985 high school movie. Come on Paramount Vantage, you can do better than that!

Don't forget - American Teen will arrive in theaters starting on July 25th and you do NOT want to miss it. Not a single person has ever said a bad thing about it and, in fact, everyone who sees it ends up loving it as much as we do. I'd also love to hear your feedback on this marketing campaign and poster. Am I wrong about The Breakfast Club comparisons or is there truly a better way to market this movie?

Find more posts: Editorial, Hype, Opinions, Posters



Total CRAP!!!

REAL6 on Mar 28, 2008


Nice to see that someone has a creative mind and can come up with an idea on their own. Complete ripoff!

K on Mar 28, 2008


I'll disagree with you on that. Here's why. First off, you talk about target audiences and how today's generation won't necessarily make the connect between this documentary and the Breakfast Club. The flaw with that is assuming that people young enough to not know the Breakfast Club will want to watch a documentary in the first place, regardless of the content. If it isn't directed by Michael Moore, then they aren't going to waste time on it, period. The ones who will, are the 20-somethings and up, who will make that connection. In that regard, love it or hate it, they've made a connection. So much so, that you're giving it extra exposure here. Not liking the Breakfast Club connection didn't stop you from seeing it. You'll find it's not so much about the *appeal* of the Breakfast Club, so much as the *connection* one makes. If you've made a documentary that directly parallels the archetypes set up in a previous iconic film, why wouldn't you use it as leverage in a marketing plan? You might assume that was their whole basis for the documentary in the first place. So keep it simple. For every good, original marketing plan in Hollywood, there are a hundred that miss the mark. There's a definite value to treading on an already laid path.

Michael on Mar 28, 2008


WOW Michael! You thought way to long and hard over a simple poster. Looks identical, complete ripoff!

K on Mar 28, 2008


That's odd. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2" used the same let's-copy-The Breakfast Club's-poster idea, and nobody griped at all. (Poster at

Sorcerer Mickey on Mar 28, 2008


I kind of agree with Michael, but it really was so similar that at first it looked like the same poster twice. Should be a bit different.

Ryan on Mar 28, 2008


Is it a ripoff? No. If this was not a documentary then I would say yes. They're not trying to cover up the fact that they're copying The Breakfast Club's poster at all. I haven't seen the documentary yet, but I think the poster is brilliant. I think a lot of times we underestimate teens. As a 30 something myself, I have a hard time understanding the world they live in. Everything is available to them these days (cell phones, laptops, pda's, internet) that most of us dreamed about in our teen years. Most of it hadn't been invented yet. The Breakfast Club is a classic, and to assume most of today's teens have no clue about it, does nothing but show our age. In the early 80's we didn't have easy access to movies like today (Netflix, Hollywood Video, Blockbuster, Red Box, iTunes, YouTube). Chances are, they know more about it than those of us who saw it in theaters way back in 1985. Teens today may lack discipline, maturity, and courtesy, but they're on a completely different playing field when it comes to technology. The more the movies suck today, the more we have to go back and watch the older films. The classics. I may be completely off base with my opinion, but I have hope that the teens today can appreciate a great film like The Breakfast Club. The times may have changed, but the problems faced by teens haven't.

TCox on Mar 28, 2008


I AM of The Breakfast Club's generation, and I never thought it was all that great of a film. This new poster would turn me off from seeing American Teen, if I didn't already know what it was and that it's supposed to be a good doc. The poster would have made me think it was another Not Another Teen Movie-type spoof.

kevjohn on Mar 28, 2008


Come on People you Really think theyed Rip off that Poster. THey look Way to Similer You think thats a Coinsidense. Obviously Not they Made it look the Same To get Peoples Atention. to get People to know what The Movie is GOing to be about A Jock A Nerd A Reble A Guy every one Wants & A Rich Girl The Movie Describes Their Changes Mush Like in Breakfest CLub

ZERO98 on Mar 28, 2008


Personally I like the second poster better, but I can see where the TBF-allusion one is going. I agree with Michael completely in that people who will probably end up watching the doc.. including myself.. will know about movies in general enough to make the connection. Whether TBF was good or not, the point is that it was a popular movie that dealt with what the documentary is basically about, so it's fair game to rip off their poster.

Alfredo on Mar 28, 2008


Michael in post #3 states:"The flaw with that is assuming that people young enough to not know the Breakfast Club will want to watch a documentary in the first place, regardless of the content." Believe me they will. Younger viewers are already infatuated with their own demographic (Check Real World, The Hills or anything else that claims to be reality TV on MTV.) Younger people will go see this. I think that making a direct homage/rip-off is an attempt to get an OLDER audience in thru nostalgia, maybe to see how much being a teen has stayed the same vs. how it's changed. As for it being a rip-off, how many other movies make pop-culture references to other movies? Did anyone get pissed at Kevin Smith when he based his Jay & Silent Bob poster on Empire Strikes Back?

jason_md2020 on Mar 28, 2008


No, you're right. The blatant rip off is not arousing or clever in anyway. Its just pathetic marketing. I'm a die hard fan of "The Breakfast Club". Don't mess with that.

Conrad on Mar 28, 2008


I agree with Conrad, although I don't think I'd necessarily describe myself as a die hard fan. The lack of originality lately is really bothering me, this poster is no different.

TrishaLyn on Mar 28, 2008


It's not a rip off. Rip off would indicate some sort of effort at trying to pass it off as original. They're obviously not doing that. This poster is more like an homage than a rip off. And I think the idea that maybe it's actually shooting to additionally attract an older demographic makes sense. In any event, before anyone plunks their cash down to see this movie, they're going to know it's a documentary, so they won't be expecting to see a remake of TBC. The idea that the poster could turn people off of seeing it seems a bit farfetched, but I guess it's possible. I like the poster. I think it's kind of a clever idea.

Craig on Mar 28, 2008


don't think it's a rip off, it looks more like a viral marketing move and if it is, it's brilliant they're showing us, through the poster, that breakfast club it's the closest movie to teenagers behaviour these days, it's an element of the documentary

zondron on Mar 30, 2008


To everyone who thinks it's a "rip off": Don't you think they realised what they were doing? It's a direct reference, not a rip off. It's meant to encompass the themes of their film, not plagiarise. However in response to Alex's post, I'm not a part of the Breakfast Club generation and I am fully aware of it's significance as are my friends. I think John Hughes movies are pretty much recommended down generations by word of mouth and teen-culture references. I don't foresee generations even younger than myself ever not coming across Breakfast Club.

Pierre on Mar 31, 2008


wow...that is a total ripoff of the breakfast club poster, which was obviously intentional. they clearly want a parallel to be drawn between the movies before one even steps foot in the theater. personally, i think it just shows a lack of creativity, but that's just me. on a side note, having graduated with these people, it's very odd to see them on an actual movie poster.

that _girl on Apr 3, 2008


i absolutely love the breakfast club, and i think the obviously intentional spoof of the poster is a really interesting idea, whether or not it is original. i think the point of it is to show that no matter what generation, there are always going to be those cliche high school categories. and i agree, seeing the sweet, goofy guy i was in band with, and the hilarious, athletic guy i worked with on a movie poster is really, really weird.

S. Fox on Apr 18, 2008


I know, right! This is like when they made those movies that had scenes ripping off movies like 300, spiderman, and a bunch of horror movies! Movie's like scary movie, meet the spartans and date movie are total rip offs because I dont understand the difference between ripping off and an homage and parody!

Dustin on Jun 27, 2009

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