Even Movie Trailers Tend to Use Mostly Blue & Orange Color Palettes

January 18, 2013
Source: BoxOfficeQuant

Blue & Orange Color

Blue and orange go together like orange and blue, don't they? Over the last few years, a number of reports on posters and movie marketing have revealed that most of the artwork typically uses the colors blue or orange. It is so predominant, than many people have made various graphics and images mocking the overuse of these two colors in marketing. Thanks to a tip from io9, Edmund Helmer's blog BoxOfficeQuant (analyzing film data) has analyzed 312 trailers for hue/saturation and discovered that blue and orange are the dominate colors in trailers, too. No surprise. But it's interesting and the graphs he made are cool to see.

Here's the cool visual breakdown of "Hue Densities across Film Trailers" created by BoxOfficeQuant:

Blue & Orange Movie Trailers

Click above for more information. The image above as explained on BoxOfficeQuant: "This chart makes it visually clear that the oranges and blues truly dominate movie trailers, and which shades exactly are represented. It’s also worth noting that of this graphic is just a histogram, which is a common chart in statistics to measure probabilities, but usually has more function than form." He continues to breakdown individual colors per each trailer, with an interactive dot graph (seen in the teaser image above) as well. This is intriguing to see visually graphed out like this, but I don't think it's as much a conspiracy theory as it is just proof that orange/blue hues are generally the dominate colors in this vivid world anyway. Thoughts?

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Yeah, I am sure ad agencies have Psychologists on hand that study this type of thing. Blue and Orange must have some kind of stimulus to our desire centers or something like that.

DAVIDPD on Jan 18, 2013


no sh&t, what a useless study !! how about instead making shorter, more interesting trailers that don't show half the movie nor give the ending away !!!

Tester on Jan 18, 2013


It's a fine line though between showing a trailer that some people think is 'too much' and showing a trailer that plenty of people will say 'isn't enough' Even in today's climate of many complaints do we see saying 'This was all visuals, and no story' or something. Likewise, when people get wordy, brooding trailers, there is the crowd that say 'it didn't really sell me, if this is the best the movie has to offer, I'm fine just seeing the trailer'. Too many people can't be pleased.

Chris Groves on Jan 18, 2013


I'm guessing the majority of the pink came from Drive.

Garrett on Jan 18, 2013



DAVIDPD on Jan 18, 2013


I was about to say this, actually. One of the reasons it looks so good visually, probably, because it was so different. On a slightly random-but-connected note, did you know that Nicolas Winding Refn is color blind?

Greg dinskisk on Jan 18, 2013


Yeah, that's why it was pink. I also likethe title in "only god forgives"

Ricardo_PT on Jan 18, 2013


Yeah, it looks cool! I can't wait to see that one... Refn is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors...

Greg dinskisk on Jan 19, 2013


Brilliant. As soon as I read your post I thought of that elevator scene.

PBGray on Jan 18, 2013


Complementary colors (such as orange and blue) tend to 'pop', and look good. The reason there's a lot of orange and blue, as opposed to red/green or purple/yellow, is that human skin is in the orange spectrum. To make an image with a person 'pop', blue is chosen to complement their skin. The problem a lot of people have with this, is that the effect is exaggerated during the color grading of films, so that the images have extreme blues and extreme oranges, which in real life is impossible: the light source illuminating the image cannot both be blue (daylight) and orange (candles, lightbulbs) at the same time.

obi-wan on Jan 18, 2013


strong the force in this one is

CookieMonster on Jan 21, 2013


I wonder if this kind of color processing will eventually age a film. Probably.

ThreeofAKind on Jan 30, 2013


Well, nigh-time is often played as a shade of blue for the image, and during the day, in the sun...the resulting tint of the image is usually yellow-orange...or there is at least a lot of it in the image. Also, the sky is blue. Plenty of films feature day-time, night-time, and I'm not shocked at the edge certain colors get by design

Chris Groves on Jan 18, 2013


brb making a pink, green and purple poster. You're not the only one that can go against the grain Alan Moore!

si1ver on Jan 19, 2013


Fascinating, I love it when you post stuff like this. I'm sure they pick these colors on purpose, like they have scanned our brains and know what colors keep our attention and what we respond to. Neuromarketing is no conspiracy, but I don't think they leave anything to chance nowadays..

Davide Coppola on Jan 19, 2013

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