*Inception* Film Poster Analysis

Albert Ndoka
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Albert Ndoka
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Inception is a 2010 science fiction action heist film written, co-produced, and directed by Christopher
Nolan. The film features an international ensemble cast starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken
Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Dileep
Rao, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine. DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a specialized corporate spy and
thief. His work consists of secretly extracting valuable commercial information from the unconscious
mindsof his targets while they are asleep and dreaming. Wanted for murder and unable to visit his
children, Cobb is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be
impossible: "inception", the planting of an original idea into a target's subconscious.
Inception was officially budgeted at $160 million, a cost that was split between Warner Bros.
and Legendary Pictures. Nolan's reputation and success with The Dark Knight helped secure the film's
$100 million in advertising expenditure, with most of the publicity involving viral
marketing. Inception premiered in London on July 8, 2010, and was released in both conventional
and IMAX theatres on July 16, 2010. A box office success, Inception has grossed over $800 million
worldwide and is currently one of the highest-grossing films of all time. The home video market also
had strong results, with $68 million in DVD sales.
Inception received wide critical acclaim, with numerous critics praising it for its originality, cast, score,
and visual effects. The film received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best
Original Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction and won the awards for Best Visual
Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Cinematography.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inception#cite_note-synop-4
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Film Poster Conventions
A film poster is a graphical representation of the film and is normally used to advertise its release. The
size, content and country of production of the poster all result in the numerous versions of a poster for
one film”
Normally a poster will contain at least on main image, the image will be in keeping with the style, tone
or genre of the film. Often images are layered into a montage, however sometimes they are left
The teaser posters do not offer the audience much information as these are generally released during
the production of the film. However the ‘full posters; offer the full credits at the bottom and possibly
the release information which is either a rough or specific date, this is because the full posters are
issued just before film is released.
One of the most important feature in posters in the film title which is usually in large lettering and the
names of the actors and director in the film which can advertise the movie. In addition a tagline which
is a sentence that summarises and captures the tone of the film. In character posters the name and
character are more important as they use the actor alone to sell the film and often with alternative
taglines to the one used in the main theatrical poster.
Albert Ndoka
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Displaying the actors names on
a poster can attract customer
fan base that would pay to
watch their preferred actor(s)
in any genre film
The tagline summaries the movie in
some ways a one-line synopsis.
However many taglines do not want
to give away to much so some are
very vague to maintain the suspense
The release date shows when the film
will be available to view in cinema’s.
In some posters they will give an
exact date, however some teaser
posters will keep a sense of mystery
and write ‘COMING SOON’ .
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The main image takes up the most
space and should be extremely eye
catching in order to entice customers
to stop and look at the release date
etc. The image will state the tone and
genre of the film and usually the image
is an action shot from the movie...
The title of the film is vital because if
its a re-release or part 2 of a film the
title can attract existing customers. It
is also the boldest part of the poster
to attract customers. The title
connotation with the genre and
category of the film. The use of
language, font and colour of the text
or an union of these things help make
the title memorable to the audience
The credits are usually placed at the
bottom of the poster, they include the
studios and companies involved in the
production of the film.
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Main image
Release Date
Full Credits
Albert Ndoka
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
The tagline is at the top of the poster ‘the dream is real’ this is a play
on words because a dream is not reality so it cannot be real. It is a very
interesting tagline and it gets you thinking!
The main image breaks the convention of posters because we cannot
see any of the actors in the posters faces... However it is very exciting
and eye catching as the image is full of action this states the movies
action filled. The gun in actors hand represents the violence in the film
and the stones that are flying towards the audience say that this films
got explosions.
In addition the image is very obscure and confusing which is great for
keeping suspense and not giving to much of the film away. This idea is
reinforced in the second poster with the image looking like a dream
because in a dream anything is possible and nothing is straight
forward. Moreover the second poster is set in the city which brings the
action closer to the audience.
The theatrical posters do no give away much information on any
character bar the protagonist, however for this film there are character
posters in flow that give the audience an insight of their favourite
actors in action.
As both posters do not give much away this could be a disadvantage
because they audience might not understand the poster and opt out in
going to watch the film. However it can be an advantage because it
creates suspense and makes the audience speak about the film and
watch it due to the curiosity. Also in this particular film/poster they
have stated that the film is from the director of the dark knight whom
done something similar in that poster. He is a trusted director and the
actors are trusted so that alone will entice customers.
Albert Ndoka
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Character posters
These character posters are all from the same film ‘inception’ but their character posters so they include
different key characters in the film. In each poster at the top is a statement/title of the character, the first
poster says ‘The Extractor’ , the second poster says ‘The Point Man’ and the third ‘The Tourist’. Apart from the
statement at the top everything else is similar in these posters, the theme and the colour.
Moreover having a title at the top of the character posters makes the audience familiar with the character and
their role in the film, this creates speculation and can generate sales through word of mouth. ‘The Point Man’
and ‘The Tourist’ both holding guns, this gives a clue to the audience of what themes the film will include and
in this instance its going to be a violent gun slinging movie.
Furthermore bringing the audience closer to the characters will reduce the time spent during the movie trying
to empathise with the characters they feel as if they know them.
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‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
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Building Posters
These building posters are very effective as
they are placed in built up areas. In
addition they are very eye catching as they
look extremely real and that can amaze the
potential cliental into viewing the movie
Billboard Posters
These billboard posters are very big and in
your face, they are normally placed in heavy
built up area where the numbers of passers
by is high. Usually placed near a train or
commute area, this is important as the
customer sub-consciously sees the image
then later when deciding what to watch their
mind would replay ‘inception’.
‘Inception’ Film Poster Analysis
Bus stop posters
Bus posters
Toilet posters
admiring the
The marketing department would of allocated much of their budget into heavy in your
face marketing. They will ensure to place the film ‘inception’ everywhere possible to reach
out to as much customers as possible. Moreover by having a poster on a moving bus that
will attratc customers in further away and quicker. They will also ensure to put it
anywhere their target audience are sure to attend, this could be cinema’s...
Albert Ndoka