Over the past decade, the long tradition of movie posters has, to the frustration of many who are fans of the one-sheet as an artform, been on the decline. “Innovation” has largely been capped at “Photoshop big pictures of the stars’ faces over a black background” or “a silhouette of the protagonist from behind.” But–as we noted a few months ago, when creative Redditors took on the task of animating a handful of posters to fascinating effect–the rise of the animated GIF brought an opportunity to do something interesting with movie posters, at least on the Internet.
Disney apparently agreed that it was a good idea, and the character posters for the forthcoming adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into The Woods offer proof of concept: The minimally animated images primarily play with light, shadows, and backgrounds. They’re subtle (even the one with Johnny Depp as The Wolf, the first time in years “subtle” and “Johnny Depp” appeared in the same sentence), keeping the focus on the character while also being visually interesting enough to keep your eye on the fairy tale heroes that Into The Woods is built around. We imagine we’re only a few years away from someone figuring out how to make animated GIFs sing, and then musical theater nerds can really get excited.