10 Ridiculous International Movie Posters

Whoever designed Shame's Hungarian poster had a lot of spunk.

Shame Hungary Poster
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Marketing a movie across the world to a multitude of different demographics is tricky business. Every corner of the, er, globe, has its own cultural standards and expectations, and what works for say, a relatively liberalised nation simply won't fly where attitudes towards sexuality, violence or religion are much stricter.

So it's perfectly natural to see changes, often fundamental, in a film's advertising campaign - especially as international box office receipts generally account for over two-thirds of the production's final revenue. Whilst most American one-sheets lean heavily on the action, fully capitalising on a societal fetishisation of guns, raunchy Europe gets its knickers in a twizz over sex and subtlety. Elsewhere, in places where the concept of 'democracy' is only faintly understood, potentially political messages in a poster are absolute no-go zones.

And don't even try to get Winnie the Pooh anywhere near China.

More often not, even when a film's promotional material undergoes significant, alarming change, there's at least a logical reason for it, then. But not - as you could probably deduce from the article's heading - always. Sometimes, you look at a foreign poster and think: what came over them?

In one example, that line is distressingly ambiguous.

10. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (Poland)

Shame Hungary Poster
Universal Pictures

Steven Spielberg's cynical telecoms commercial masquerading as an interstellar buddy romp captured the imagination of 1982 movie-goers to such an extent that it held a magic touch on the top of the box office for six weeks, eventually surpassing Star Wars as the highest grossing film of all time.

No doubt this was helped by E.T.'s now iconic original poster. The magical, mystical image depicting Elliot and his eponymous alien silhouetted before the moon, in velo, inspired questions just begging to be answered - specifically, by a movie ticket.

Unless you lived in Poland, that is. All that mysticism was replaced by a grotesque illustration of the blockbuster's famous star, who, minus context, basically looks like a deformed wrinkly wang. E.T. bone home.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.