Movie posters are a tricky medium. They need to sum up the premise of a film, showcase the stars, and still be flashy and intriguing enough to attract random moviegoers’ attention, while still being simple enough to look good on the wall of a college dorm room. Sometimes, designers fight back against that expectation, and come up with a more creative solution. Unfortunately in the case of Exodus: Gods and Kings, the creative solution wasn’t a good one. Instead of previewing the no doubt epic struggle for power between Moses (played here by Christian Bale, because why not) and King Rhamses (played here by Joel Edgerton, with the eyebrows of a 1950s screen villain) as Moses attempts to free the Jews from slavery in Egypt, the poster instead gives us a disgruntled looking Bruce Wayne and a vaguely familiar guy who just smelt something terrible standing in front of a fake pyramid in a world where the only visible colors are gold and shadow. There’s got to be some explanation for this, some logical reason why people actually signed off on this poster, right? Here are our theories:
20th Century Fox
The designer in charge of the poster was still a little worn down from the epic Fourth of July party they went to, and when they realized that the final poster was due on their boss’s desk bright and early yesterday morning, they pulled the first still they could find off of a Christian Bale fansite, played around with the coloring, and came up with a spiel about the colors “connecting them, but highlighting their differences” in order to cover it up.
The designer’s going through a “gold” period right now, and that bleeds into everything they’re working on. It’s art; you couldn’t possibly understand.
The intern in charge of touching up the colors just figured out how to work the contrast controls and got a little over-excited. It’s their first week, cut them some slack, okay?
Someone was standing in Christian Bale’s light again, but rather than drawing attention to it on set, everyone decided it was better to fix the colors afterwards, but it was worse than they first anticipated, and after spending weeks on the tiniest tweaks, they gave up and made the whole thing black and white (and gold).
In an attempt to market the film toward a younger audience, the head of the studio commanded the designer to oversaturate and over shadow and selectively color the poster so it looks like it “could be from that Twistagram thing. You know the photo site? I forget the name, but my daughter’s always using it on her phone.” The good news is that it looks amazing under the Valencia filter.
The designer colored the poster on Instagram on his way into the office.
The head of the studio can only see shades of gold and black, and he just really wanted to be able to see what the movie was promoting. He’s a big Christian Bale fan.
The art department at 20th Century Fox started hiring people off of Tumblr and DeviantArt to work on movie posters.
Everyone’s Internet connections are playing tricks on them, and it just looks like the contrast is out of control. When pressed for a comment, someone at the studio was quoted as saying “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”
Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale lost World Cup bets to some of the crew members, and found out that they’d have to pay an absurd amount of money at the exact moment that the camera went off for the poster shoot. But to be fair, how were they supposed to know that Spain was going to have such a terrible year?
Christian Bale saw the first pictures from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice while shooting, and this was the only picture they could get of him before he stormed off set.
Joel Edgerton has a long-standing blood feud with someone in the promotions department at 20th Century Fox, so they purposely picked an outtake from the photo-shoot and overemphasized the eyebrows to make him look bad on an international movie poster.
Neither one of the stars was available to take promo pictures and they didn’t have any usable stills, so they photo shopped Christian Bale’s head onto a random extras body and found an actor in the 1963 Cleopatra that vaguely looked like Joel Edgerton, slapped him in there and de-saturated the colors in the hopes that nobody would notice.