Dec. 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM ET
A great movie poster should sell the movie and make you inscribe the film's opening date in your mind. Admittedly, some of these posters, even the good ones, fail at that. Some are stunning but don't even display the film's title, and may not have brought in one extra ticket sale. That's the studio marketing department's problem, not ours. We're voting just on style here, not substance.
Here are our pics for the four best and four worst movie posters of 2012.
'Zero Dark Thirty'
The title is there, but it's smeared over with black, as if the CIA itself came in and erased the name of the film. Fitting and creepy for the controversial movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
The animated film holds charms not just for children, but for their parents and caregivers, who still hold fond memories of hours spent in 1980s and 1990s arcades. So the retro, 8-bit style of this poster fits right in.
In this cult horror flick, a group of thieves end up watching a number of horrible events on videotapes while looking for the one particular tape they're supposed to steal. The tapes in this poster line up to make a most menacing skull.
The faux-shredding on this poster not only looks cool, but it fits in with the movie's plot, as American employees in Iran desperately try to shred important documents and later, Iranian children are ordered to try and piece them back together to try and identify the Americans in hiding.
Ha! Get it, the bear is at the urinal along with the human and ... ugh, whatever.
'What to Expect When You're Expecting'
Making a movie out of a pregnancy advice book was a horrible idea. The studio just liked the clicky title. This poster does nothing to convince anyone except pregnancy fetishists to see the film.
Critics weren't fans of "Alex Cross," though some liked Tyler Perry's performance. The poster shrinks Perry, who's shot in kind of a Batman style, and puts his figure inside villain Matthew Fox. Do you want to see the film based on this? Can you even tell who the hero is?
And at last we come to "John Carter," possibly the year's most-trumpeted flop. It cost nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and confused viewers and critics alike. This poster did not help.