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I'm prepping a Reader feature called Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen, with scans of an incredible collection of original artwork and proof prints that I once archived for a client.

The collection includes over a hundred HUGE paintings and proofs, by a variety of well-known Hollywood poster artists, done in advance for the filmmakers behind Batman, the Fly, Witches of Eastwick, and a bunch of other biggies (as well as some not-so-biggies nonetheless of interest). Most of these are the REJECTED versions, although several sets include the actual final artwork, as photographed for the official posters.

In many cases, several similar designs are seen that show the ideas being worked out, in a creative progression leading up to the iconic images finally approved by the filmmakers and printed up to promote the film.

Few of these original paintings and poster proofs have ever been published or seen by the general public. You lucky Reader readers are the first to get an eyeful of this almost completely unchronicled bit of motion picture history -------

The upcoming feature will include commentary about the artists, as well as the whats and whys behind many of the revisions and rejections, including some details on technique. For instance, the iconic poster artwork for The Fly originally had the image of a human climbing out of the device. However, what looked like a hastily spray-painted white paste-on was applied directly over the artwork, so only the white glow was evident in the final printed shot.

Another f'r instance: comic artist Ken Steacy's rejected poster for Supergirl coulda and SHOULDA found a way into theater marquees, as it's monumentally superior to virtually all the sappy over-airbrushed "official" posters that failed to lure any asses into the seats.

The collection includes the following films (leave a comment if you have a request you want uploaded first!):

Destiny, Ladyhawke, 8 Million Ways to Die, Deadly Friend, Purple Hearts, City Limits, Hollywood Shuffle, the Inheritors, the Fly, Fright Night, Best Defense, Meatballs III, Vamp (quite a few variations), Inside Moves, XYZ Murders, Over the Top (yep, the Stallone movie, with a surprising amount of variations), Texas Godfather, Blood Diner, Howard the Duck, Cowboy Angel (a splendid oil painting of an angelic Slim Pickens riding a horse down from heaven?!), Trick or Treat (rock ‘n’ roll horror), Back to the Beach, Voyage of the Rock Aliens, Fatal Attraction, Little Shop of Horrors, Hanoi Hilton, Cop, Force III, Off Limits, Mac and Me, Mr. Love, Lady Beware, Phar Lap, Midnight Run, Bad Medicine, Hamburger Hill, Near Dark, and Starchaser: The Legend of Orin.

For now, here are some of the flicks we'll be looking at, starting with Batman, Witches of Eastwick, and Supergirl.

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(Nicholson in a raincoat, or a suit? Ladies in the clouds, or just lightning?)

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(OR group the ladies with Jack near the bottom, or how about surrounded by, um, cherries? You remember the cherry scene, right?)

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MORE ENTRIES IN THIS SERIES:

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Part 2: The Fly, Vamp, Fright Night, Howard the Duck, Stallone: Over the Top, Ladyhawk

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Part 3: Horror film Near Dark, horsey drama Phar Lap, the Robert DeNiro/Albert Brooks sleeper Midnight Run (still under its working title Running Scared when these two posters were mocked up), 3D cartoon Starchaser: The Legend of Orin, Airplane-style comedy Bad Medicine (with Steve Gutenberg and Julie Hagerty), and war story Hamburger Hill.

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Part 4: Collegiate comedy Campus Man, horror hits Wes Craven's Deadly Friend and Blood Diner, and rock and roll horror flop Trick or Treat, as well as Texas Godfather, Vanishing Act, China Girl, 8 Million Ways to Die, sci-fi biker flick City Limits, and war romance Purple Hearts.

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Part 5: Voyage of the Rock Aliens with Pia Zadora, the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon/Pee Wee Herman surf comedy Back to the Beach, psycho-ex thriller Fatal Attraction, alleged comedy Planes Trains & Automobiles, James Woods in Cop, the Tom Cruise hit All the Right Moves, drive-in horror hit Deadly Blessing, the re-release of Roger Corman's original Little Shop of Horrors, import sex comedy Perfect Timing, historical drama Hanoi Hilton, Stallone sequel Rocky V (under its original title Final Bell), and Nothing But Trouble, back when it was still known as Welcome to Valkenvania.

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Part 6: Horror comedy Return of the Living Dead, Force III, Meatballs III, plainclothes cop thriller Off Limits (Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines), sci-fi McDonald’s commercial Mac & Me, the Diane Lane potboiler Lady Beware, UK comedy Mr. Love, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, Walter Bannert’s German-language Austrian film the Inheritors, the Dudley Moore/Eddie Murphy flop Best Defense, Richard Donner’s Inside Moves, William Peter Blatty’s Ninth Configuration, adventure flick Tai-Pan, German musical the Frog Prince with Helen Hunt, and the Rosary Murders.


RELATED ARTICLES ON THE READER WEBSITE:

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"Field Of Screens" -- Cover story 7-6-06: Complete theater-by-theater history of San Diego drive-ins thru the years, including interviews with operators and attendees, dozens of rare and unpublished photos, vintage local theater ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

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"Before It Was The Gaslamp: Balboa’s Last Stand" -- Cover story 6-21-07: In the late 70s/early 80s, I worked at downtown San Diego's grindhouse all-night movie theaters. This detailed feature recalls those dayz, the death of the Balboa Theatre, etc., including interviews with operators, vintage local movie ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

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Image "Pussycat Theaters: When 'Cathouses Ruled California" -- for the first time, the inside story of the west coast Pussycat Theater chain of adult moviehouses, which peaked in the '70s but later died out. Company head Vince Miranda owned and lived part time at the Hotel San Diego, operating several other local theaters downtown and in Oceanside, Escondido, etc. Told by those who actually ran the theaters, with a complete theater-by-theater encyclopedia covering every Pussycat that ever screened in CA -- http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

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Comments

DarrenJSeeley Nov. 13, 2011 @ 2:58 p.m.

It's too bad they aren't higher res and that some of the light flash takes away from some of the image-- but other than that, the collection is very impressive. I like the Batman art-deco background (I can understand why that was vetoed; but it might have been okay for the 90s FOXKids cartoon) But as to the Supergirls, the one I love the best : "She has the power of the universe..." I don't know if any of 'em would have saved the film, gotten more rears in chairs, but I really like that visual flow.

As for suggestions? I remember many years ago where Premiere Magazine had an article regarding rejected posters/ad campaigns for the 1989 James Bond film 'License To Kill'. If you got any of those, that would be nice to see again.

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ddilts399 Nov. 13, 2011 @ 3:46 p.m.

Nice to see these. If your time allows, I highly suggest visiting allposterforum.com and posting there. The forum members would highly appreciate this article and all follow-ups.

Would love to see The Fly and Fright Night campaigns.

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Brude Nov. 13, 2011 @ 5:55 p.m.

Great concept for a series of articles. Some of the best ad campaigns have never seen the light of day and I really like this first installment. I was directed to this article from allposterforum.com, the best place to stay up-to-date on both the industry and hobby of movie posters. I look forward to Part 2.

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bruceposter Nov. 13, 2011 @ 6:15 p.m.

Great concept, and I hope to see many more in this series. But what is this "allposterforum" you all seem to be talking about?

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hollyruss Nov. 13, 2011 @ 7:33 p.m.

This is a great effort that I hope comes to fruition. I love concept art like this, and I wish there was more of an archive of the art.

<p>www.allposterforum.com is a poster forum that I and my friend Thierry created to serve the poster-collecting community. Primarily, it caters to collectors of movie-paper, but it is broad enough to encompass all types of posters. It's worth anyone's time if the anyone is interested in posters. Holiday

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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 13, 2011 @ 9:39 p.m.

Of all the elaborate Witches of Eastwick variations, I'm most drawn to the simple image of Nicholson alone in a sea of white, casting three witchy shadows - over the course of the set, he's seen wearing five different outfits.

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Scott Marks Nov. 14, 2011 @ 7:58 a.m.

If only Hollywood put as much thought into storytelling as they do finding the "perfect" one-sheet image to sell their formulaic blockbusters. No matter how they sold it, "Supergirl" was never going to be anything more than a dud. If anything, the poster should have read, "Oh my God! They gave Jeannot Szwarc another budget!!!"

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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 16, 2011 @ 10:43 a.m.

Part 2 posted today: Posters include Ladyhawk, Fright Night, the Fly, Vamp, and Over the Top - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

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Jay Allen Sanford Nov. 30, 2011 @ 6:11 p.m.

Part 4 now posted, featuring collegiate comedy Campus Man, horror hits Wes Craven's Deadly Friend and Blood Diner, and rock and roll horror flop Trick or Treat, as well as Texas Godfather, Vanishing Act, China Girl, 8 Million Ways to Die, sci-fi biker flick City Limits, and wartime romance Purple Hearts.

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Jay Allen Sanford Dec. 3, 2011 @ 10:54 p.m.

Part 5 now posted w/Voyage of the Rock Aliens with Pia Zadora, the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon/Pee Wee Herman surf comedy Back to the Beach, psycho-ex thriller Fatal Attraction, alleged comedy Planes Trains & Automobiles, James Woods in Cop, the Tom Cruise hit All the Right Moves, drive-in horror hit Deadly Blessing, the re-release of Roger Corman's original Little Shop of Horrors, import sex comedy Perfect Timing, historical drama Hanoi Hilton, Stallone sequel Rocky V (under its original title Final Bell), and Nothing But Trouble, back when it was still known as Welcome to Valkenvania.

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wggmn3 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 4 p.m.

One can readily / quickly see why these are rejects...please excuse me but why should one waste one's time on these pop-culture rejects... aspects of pop-c are undoubtedly not only good but important for mind as well as soul...but the obvious rejects are truly a waste of time; maybe academically (asking why) it might be of some interest but... & I should also be asking myself, why am I spending / wasting my time negatively commenting on this? ...duhhh, what can I say...

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wggmn3 Dec. 30, 2011 @ 4:14 p.m.

To offer a more positive comment: one would be far better off spending one's time looking at / reading about good & important art / Art...& I feel the need to be apologetic because I'm sure a good deal of time has been spent on this !?!? (well, I don't want to be more negative)...

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