Is Looper the first movie to release an official poster as a GIF? There have been many fan-made movie poster GIFs in recent years, but our inquiry into prior official examples put out by a film’s advertising team has turned up empty. The art of the movie poster is continuously evolving, and so is the art of the GIF, a modest graphic technology that dates back to the 1980s and has enjoyed a surprising renaissance over the last couple years. Movie studios are increasingly looking for web-based ways of engaging their audience, so don’t be surprised if the “official GIF” quickly becomes the norm in movie campaigns.
And don’t be surprised if they quickly improve. As eye-catching as the Looper poster is, it’s a wonder that the GIF effects couldn’t have been more adventurous. I suspect the GIF version was most likely unplanned before the advertisements rolled out. The image of stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis mirroring one another amidst a cloud of smoky debris has been on posters canvassed across the country for a while now, and this spiffed-up version was only posted a few days ago on Tumblr, with a caption from director Rian Johnson: “We made a looping Looper gif poster.” While this GIF from the source may have been an afterthought, this could be a sign of more ambitious movie ads to come.