Ahead of next month’s Toronto International Film Festival, Marc Forster’s Machine Gun Preacher has finally gotten its first poster. I’m just not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand I’m thrilled that the tarp is coming off of the publicity machine and it’s is being dusted off and oiled up for this film. Speaking as someone who’s been following the progress of the movie since before filming began and has been waiting impatiently for its release, it has been excruciating to see posters and pics and trailers for films that will be coming out long after Machine Gun Preacher‘s September 23rd date.
On the other hand, I’m not crazy about this poster.I don’t love it and I really wanted to love it. I feel disloyal even thinking those words let alone typing them. Maybe it’ll grow on me. But I’m not the ticket buyer anyone has to worry about. I’m a given. I worry about what those unfamiliar with the story or Sam Childers or even Gerard Butler (are there still such people walking among us?) might think.
It’s great that Gerard Butler is front and center, but I’m trying to figure out just who they’re playing to, what audience they’re trying to attract. I understand the child peeking out from behind Butler’s hand, even though I think Butler’s*image is badly photoshopped and the scale is all wrong, but what’s with the garish blood spattered title that looks like it belongs on a cheesy horror flick? It just seems incongruous with the film’s tag-line "Hope is the greatest weapon of all".
I can only assume that my bff, Ryan Kavanaugh, and Relativity Media have a master plan and I’m trying very hard to keep the faith. And as I said, I am very happy that they are starting to advertise this film. It’s got a good buzz on going into TIFF and I know they want to build on that. The internet film community is eagerly awaiting the finished product and Butler’s name is being uttered, if not yet with respect, then at least without disdain for the first time since 300. The one-two punch of Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus are, without question, going to do wonderous things for his career and I know that the first poster for one is not going to effect that one way or another.
I’ll deal. I don’t hate it…Maybe it’ll grow on me.
*I wasn’t initially clear. I meant Butler’s image appeared photoshopped, not the child. Sorry for any confusion!