6 Easter Eggs In Movie Posters (You Never Knew Were There)

    Movie posters range from high art (see: Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Vertigo) to crimes against humanity (basically anything with Nicolas Cage Photoshopped to look like a startled mall mannequin). But even though posters are only supposed to be advertisements, some go the extra mile and sneak tantalizing mysteries into their art.

    SPOILERS AHEAD for movies such as …


    Split‘s Twist Ending Is Hidden In The Poster

    M. Night Shyamalan’s most recent movie, Split, is both an effective thriller and also satiates America’s fervent desire to see Professor X perform drama class exercises for an audience of captive teen girls. As we’ve mentioned, the big twist at the end of the movie finds Bruce Willis quietly sipping a cup of coffee at a greasy spoon diner — almost as if they only way Willis would agree to pop by for a low-budget cameo was if Shyamalan rolled cameras while he enjoyed a tasty beverage in a seated position.

    Universal PicturesMeanwhile, Haley Joel Osment is taking a huge dump in the men’s room.

    You see, that scene connects Split to Shyamalan’s 2000 flick Unbreakable — the two movies are set in the same universe, setting the stage for the upcoming joint sequel which is going to be called Glass. This is presumably a reference to Samuel L. Jackson’s Unbreakable character, Mr. Glass, and not an indication that they’re gonna introduce a famous minimalist composer into the Split-verse.

    Not since Shyamalan surprised us with the reveal at the end of The Sixth Sense has one of his twists worked so well … which is why it’s doubly surprising that he sort of spoiled it himself. Displaying a Batman-villain-like knack for leaving clues, Shyamalan hinted at the twist in the movie’s poster. The Split and Unbreakable posters feature a similar cracking glass motif:

    Universal Pictures, Touchstone PicturesBruce Willis doesn’t look happy to see that someone copied his hairdo.

    Not only that, but when you place the two posters side by side, the cracks almost connect — as if it’s one pane of glass that’s broken. This could very well be linked to the theory that Mr. Glass was responsible for activating Split‘s protagonist’s powers. Whatever the case, it should now be way easier to tell which Shyamalan movies to skip. If the poster shows glass and/or Bruce Willis, go see it. If not, you’re good reading the ending on Wikipedia.


    Rogue One‘s Theater Displays Hid A Secret Imperial Code

    We all know that everyone’s going to go see a new Star Wars movie, so you have to wonder why Lucasfilm even needs a marketing department at this point. Really, they could slap a piece of printer paper with “Star Wars” misspelled in crayon, and the movie would still make a billion dollars. But for some reason, they keep bothering to make posters, and are even encoding secret messages in them.

    For the recent Rogue One — aka The One Where Leia Hogs All the Credit — Lucasfilm released “standees” to promote the IMAX release. For those who don’t know, standees are what those three-dimensional cardboard advertisements are called; you may remember the Freddy Krueger ones terrifying ’80s kids in video stores. In Rogue One‘s case, plastered all over the soon-to-kick-the-bucket characters was a bunch of text. It looked like nothing but technical jargon:


    LucasfilmThis either represents the Death Star plans, or some Lucasfilm intern accidentally sent a bunch of HTML code to the printer.

    The writing was in Aurebesh, the made-up language of Star Wars. And if you think some nerd hasn’t figured out how to translate it to English, then you’re a real …


    So fans were able to take the writing from the ad and decode it. Surprisingly, the result wasn’t a profane rant about how crappy it is working at a company where your co-workers are making Star Wars movies and you’re in charge of goddamn cardboard standees. The text contains a bunch of imperial messages, such as BEAT BACK THE REBELS and JOIN THE EMPIRE. More significantly, there are a few quotes in there, like “There will be no one to stop us this time” — the famous line said by Darth Vader before he realized his kids were going to ruin his life. You know, like kids do.

    Even more interesting is the quote “Crush the Rebellion in one swift stroke,” which was said by … Grand Moff Tarkin. You may know him better as the video game character who gained sentience and forced his way onto the Rogue One set.

    LucasfilmAt this point, the movie prompts you to pay $19.99 for a less-sucky DLC model.

    While Vader had showed up briefly in a couple of trailers, it hadn’t been confirmed whether Lucasfilm was going to digitally harvest the grave of the late Peter Cushing for a CG Tarkin. So this standee and its coded messages actually foreshadowed one of the defining (albeit bone-chillingly creepy) elements of the move.

    Now that Star Wars has opened the floodgates of going full Da Vinci Code with its promotional materials, some fans quickly noticed that the poster for The Last Jedi seems to form the image of a familiar character (intentionally or not):

    LucasfilmGeorge Lucas is furiously Photoshopping this into a more Hayden Christensen-y shape.


    The Murder On The Orient Express Poster Tells You Who The Killer Is

    The new movie version of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery boasts a star-studded cast, from Judi Dench to Johnny Depp to the parasitic mustache creature that has taken control of Kenneth Branagh’s body.

    20th Century FoxIf Branagh’s lips were visible, you could see he’s mouthing “Kill me.”

    Seeing as it’s based on one of the all-time great whodunnits, the makers of the film appropriately sprinkled a crapload of clues throughout the movie’s marketing, turning the fans into detectives — the fun British kind that drinks tea and summons people to drawing rooms, not the kind that has to do paperwork and collect semen samples. For instance, take a look at the first poster below. Notice anything strange, other than the fact that this train seems to run on Elmo corpses instead of coal?

    20th Century FoxOr that Johnny Depp is still getting work?

    If you zoom in on the bottom left, there’s a row of logos: Twitter, Fox, and … some lady?

    20th Century Fox

    20th Century FoxThat’s either a clue or Kenneth Branagh’s mustache’s new production company.

    If you Google “the Martyr of Sicily,” you’ll find info about Saint Agatha — a reference to Agatha Christie. There’s also a similar-looking coin you can click on at the movie’s website, prompting you to enter a password, which is … “Saint Agatha.”

    20th Century FoxWhich is rather unsafe for a password. At least add a “69” at the end or something, Fox.

    This unlocks a short piece of writing by one of the characters. There are similar clues scattered throughout the movie’s promotional materials, from a pipe in the trailer to the number of a ticket on the Entertainment Weekly cover. In the movie’s second poster, for instance, Willem Dafoe is holding a coin. Zoom in and it has the number “100” on it, which is another (even more unsafe) password for the site.

    20th Century Fox

    20th Century FoxWhy are Cruz and Depp trying to steal some letters?

    Oh, and the poster itself is a clue to the identity of the killer, so SPOILERS if you haven’t caught up with a book from goddamn 1934. The tagline on the poster is “Everyone is a suspect” …

    20th Century Fox

    … which sounds like a pretty generic movie tagline. But! If you’re familiar with the story, you know that in the end, everyone should be a suspect, because they all played a part in the murder. So the tagline isn’t saying that there are many separate suspects; it’s saying that the chief suspect is everyone. Well done, mustache parasite. Well done.


    The Gone Girl Poster Gives Away The Whole Twist

    Based on the book that everyone on the bus was suddenly reading one day, Gone Girl tells the story of a shitty husband whose wife disappears after an apparent violent altercation. Because he’s a real jerk, and presumably due to some lingering hostilities over Gigli, the authorities suspect Ben Affleck murdered her.

    Some great stuff comes of that setup, like a graphic (NSFW) scene that plays like Takashi Miike guest-directing How I Met Your Mother. But the best moment is the big twist: Affleck’s wife, Amy, hasn’t been kidnapped or murdered. It turns out she faked the whole thing to get back at him for being an adulterous dickhole. Which is nuts, but then again, exhaustive divorce proceedings really aren’t that fun to watch while eating popcorn in the dark. It’s a jarring, effective surprise. That is, unless you took a few moments to gander at the poster on the way into the theater.

    20th Century FoxThis totally spoils the scene where he takes a whiz in the lake.

    Either because he’s trying to emulate a Christopher Nolan poster or because no one told him where the photographer was going to stand, Ben Affleck has his back to us. Hovering above him are two eyes, giving the poster an air of mystery while also kind of making it seem as though it were pasted over an old Visine billboard.

    20th Century FoxThe fact that the eyes are looking away from Affleck’s penis is also a clue.

    But these aren’t just floating eyes for the sake of having floating eyes — they’re part of a story the poster is telling us. They’re the titular “gone girl,” reflected on the surface of a TV, as evidenced by the pixelation and news ticker at the bottom:

    20th Century FoxThis movie came out in 2014, so this was probably followed by an urgent story about the Obama tan suit scandal.

    The text is all about the search for “Amazing Amy,” Affleck’s wife. Meaning that she’s watching the coverage of her own abduction and presumed death, and this freaking poster showed us the twist. Amy’s alive and hiding out, with nothing to do but mainline 24-hour news stations.


    The Mother! Posters Are Full Of Tiny Clues About The Movie’s Secret Meaning

    Mother! was a very polarizing movie, with reactions divided between those who thought it was a surreal masterpiece and those who walked out after realizing it wasn’t a documentary about Mike Pence yelling at his wife. While the movie’s trailer kind of crapped the bed, making an allegorical black comedy seem like a straight-up horror movie, the posters gave some suggestions as to where the movie was really headed.

    Two posters were released, one with an image of Javier Bardem burning in a chair, and the other featuring Jennifer Lawrence pulling out her own heart, like a surprisingly courteous visitor to the Temple of Doom.

    Paramount PicturesAnd by Jennifer Lawrence, we mean some weird chimera made of Lawrence and ’90s Renee Zellwegger.

    The posters have all kinds of clues hinting at what the movie’s about. For one, Jennifer Lawrence is in an Eden-like garden, because the entire movie turns out to be an allegory for the Bible, with her representing Mother Nature. Bardem, meanwhile, is holding a globe, because he represents God. As for Lawrence’s heart being removed and Bardem remaining chill and unharmed while his body burns up, those images represent … literally what we just said, because all of that happens at the end of this weird-ass movie.

    There are plenty of other details to Where’s Waldo in the poster, from that weird old-timey photo of Bardem …

    Paramount Pictures

    … to a doorknob, which is used in the movie as a murder weapon …

    Paramount Pictures

    … and hey, look, a frog — which randomly shows up in the movie and is apparently supposed to “biblically represent ‘unclean spirits in the sight of God.'”

    Paramount PicturesOr internet racists.

    Even creepier, the poster was shared on the movie’s Instagram along with a sound clip. Play the clip through audio editing software, and it creates the handsomely menacing face of Javier Bardem. Remember to close the program before browsing porn if you don’t want God to watch you jerking it.

    Paramount PicturesThis is giving us Aphex Twin flashbacks.


    The Arrival Posters Lead You Down The Rabbit Hole

    In Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist working to communicate with some newly landed aliens, essentially through playing the Universe’s shittiest game of charades. The movie featured 12 different posters showing the alien pods in different areas of the world. There’s one in Montana, where most of the movie takes place …

    Paramount Pictures

    … and others for the other places the aliens landed, such as Russia, England, China, and more countries that didn’t include Canada.

    Paramount PicturesPresumably because someone tipped the aliens off about Nickelback.

    If you look closely, in the bottom of each poster is a specific set of coordinates:

    Paramount PicturesHonestly, they could have our full information and Social Security number in those tiny letters down there, and we’d never notice.

    Well, the movie’s website, also listed on the poster, has a window with different languages and a field to enter those numbers. You have to figure out which country is featured in each poster, and which language it would match.

    Paramount PicturesWe didn’t know “New York Times logo font” was a language.

    Entering the right coordinates unlocks a Dropbox account. While that might at first make it seem like you’ve won an unpaid internship at Paramount and should probably head to Kinko’s immediately, it’s actually full of documents pertaining to the story of the movie. One seems to be a journal written by someone else who was called into learn the alien language, like Amy Adams’ character.

    Paramount Pictures

    It talks about meeting the aliens and then getting confusing flashes of images, which kind of spoils the ending of the movie. Throughout the film, we see Adams having flashbacks of her dead daughter, only to later realize that these scenes aren’t memories — they’re visions of the future which she’s getting as a result of her contact with the aliens. All along, we thought she was remembering her daughter, but it turns the kid hasn’t even been born yet (let alone died), and Adams didn’t know what she was seeing.

    So knowing that a guy doing the same job was receiving flashes of images he didn’t understand could potentially blow the moment that makes the movie truly great. But hey, it’s not a total waste. Remember those 12 posters? Someone discovered that they make a sweet GIF.

    Paramount PicturesThose poor space octopi must be puking in there.

    You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.

    Frame your posters or they might as well be giant pieces of garbage!

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