I've waxed on at blathering length about my blessed childhood, growing up geek in the shadow of "Star Wars," and how I feel so fortunate to have spent my formative years in movie theaters watching the work of a generation who spoke some secret nerd language that informed every moment in their own movies. Guys like Coppola, Lucas, Scorsese, Spielberg, Zemeckis, Dante, Carpenter, and Cronenberg, the filmmakers I called my own, people whose films led me to discover whole oceans of film that had come before them, that had influenced them and shaped the movies they made.
And one of the things that really made the era special was the power of the movie poster in those days. The poster was one of the most important parts of the theatrical release. Working in theaters in the '80s, I saw over and over that people would show up at the theater without any idea what they were going to see, and they'd look at the posters and pick the one that looked the best. Time and again, I'd see them walk around a kiosk, checking out all eight of the posters we had up for our current releases, and stop with a sudden, "Oh, man, it's Eddie Murphy!" or some similar lightning bolt moment. And they'd walk over to the box-office and say, "I'll have one for Eddie Murphy." And it was that basic. Sometimes it was the movie star. Sometimes it was the title, recognition of something that had been recommended or that had that great trailer or that starred that one person, and they'd see the title and it would jar the memory and they'd buy that ticket. It was always fascinating to watch people react to posters, and I loved picking which posters went up in the theater in our "coming soon" galleries. I'd give great placement to a memorable poster, even if I didn't want to see the film, just out of respect to a great one-sheet. My room all through high school was wallpapered with movie posters, posters over posters over posters. I loved it.