Ridiculous Movie Posters Designed In Ghana To Bypass Licensing Costs Go Viral
By Thanussha Priyah, 13 Jan 2020
Images via IMDb and IMDb
A peculiar set of movie posters designed by Ghanaian artists have gone viral, as they reveal the creative means taken to skirt licensing and printing costs in the past.
The collection sheds light on promotional artworks made in Ghana during the 80s and 90s. Back then, mobile cinema businesses were thriving, and local artists were being commissioned to paint posters for films with creative license—and a remarkable lack of context as to what they were supposed to draw.
A handful of these posters were shared by Twitter user @retr0Joe, and thousands have been left amused by the thread.
According to CNN, pop-up movie houses would travel to villages and areas without electricity and theaters. These makeshift “video clubs” were created with diesel generators, VCRs, and televisions or projectors lodged onto trucks, before broadcasting Hollywood, Bollywood or West African movies to the enjoyment of viewers.
At the time, the businesses did not carry official movie posters, and imports of printing press were against the law. They thus had to come up with ways to promote their offerings, which resulted in the idea of commissioned paintings.
Some famous artists who worked on such posters included Joe Mensah, Nyen Kumah, Leonardo, Socrates, Death is Wonder, Frank Armah, and D.A. Jasper.
The makeshift posters were created out of used flour sacks and often featured over-the-top elements to grab the public’s attention. In fact, a number of artworks showcased celebrities who were not even part of the movies advertised. For example, an E.T poster sported singer Michael Jackson.
Brian Chankin, a dealer and collector who has been gathering these original posters by Ghanaian artists for around 10 years, explained to CNN that the exaggerated pieces were focused on selling movie tickets and getting “people through the doors.”
Scroll down to find some fan-favorite Ghana-produced movie posters. The full Twitter thread can be enjoyed here.
A thread of African Movie Posters...— Gamiest Gamer 🕹 (@Retr0Joe) January 10, 2020
Due to licensing and printing costs, some African theaters gave the task to artists to paint the posters for movies being shown...
Some artists had no reference to what movie they was drawing so some just guessed...
Here are my favourites.. pic.twitter.com/sRneFxtGNj
Jurassic Park pic.twitter.com/IKSdxGBy0y— Gamiest Gamer 🕹 (@Retr0Joe) January 10, 2020
Mission Impossible pic.twitter.com/4vdV7b7Ulx— Gamiest Gamer 🕹 (@Retr0Joe) January 10, 2020
A Nightmare on Elm Street pic.twitter.com/J9ZjC2ySjD— Gamiest Gamer 🕹 (@Retr0Joe) January 10, 2020
Alien vs Predator pic.twitter.com/iepOjJHVyV— Gamiest Gamer 🕹 (@Retr0Joe) January 10, 2020
Local theater in Minneapolis had an exhibition once was awesome pic.twitter.com/GyQed0oSph— Matt Helgeson (@MattHelgeson) January 11, 2020
[via Complex, images via IMDb and IMDb]
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