Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DVD Doppelgangers: Inspired By "Burn After Reading"

It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What about a "blatant ripoff?" Is that considered flattering as well?

Here's the DVD/poster art for the movie Burn After Reading. I saw the movie in the theater when it came out and liked it a lot. I was also a big admirer of the poster art, and studied it while waiting in the lobby. Something about that layout and the 1960s hand lettering really spoke to me.

Apparently I wasn't the only one impressed with the poster. Here's the DVD cover of I'll Believe You. Even though I've not seen the movie, something about the cover seems familiar... I just can't put my finger on it. Other than the layout, the number and arrangement of boxes containing actor's faces, the title in the middle, the names listed across the top, the similar font, and the call out quote box on the left, they're totally different.

But this cover has a flying saucer on it, so there's no way it can be swiped from Burn After Reading.

By the way, despite what the designer of this poster would like you to think, that font is not hand-lettered like the Burn After Reading title. It's called "Addled" or "Ad lib," and is freely available all over the internet.

Then we have the DVD cover for The Maiden Heist. It too seems familiar, but again, I can't quite figure out why. As you can see, the boxes containing the actor's faces are separated by colored dots, so it can't possibly be a ripoff.

Once again they've used a free internet font to simulate the hand-lettering of Burn After Reading. The identical Es and Is are a dead giveaway.

Stay tuned for more DVD Dopplegangers!


  1. i remember noticing these several years back. I can't tell if they were doing it admittedly on purpose or if it was a rip off. If it was supposed to be a deliberate parody it doesn't really make any sense. Why would you parody something nobody recognizes as an iconic image?

  2. Wow, those are really blatant! There's no way that can be an accident. They're both from the same studio (MCA), so the same artist may have even designed both.

    There are 2 reasons why they did this:
    A. Movie #1 was a hit, so by copying the poster for Movie #2 they're hoping to confuse the buyer into picking up instead of Movie #1.


    B. Movie #1 is a hit, so they use similar poster art on Movies #2 through #10 hoping that buyers will subconsciously assume those movies are good as well.

  3. wow that is ridiculous! to think people are actually being paid to steal other peoples designs so blatantly. i mean borrowing is one thing, but come on. I liked burn after reading too but it is one of my least favorites from the cohen bros. the font on that poster is killer.

  4. Yeah, they're pretty shameless in their copying. Sometimes I wonder if the non-artistic general public notices stuff like this? They jumped right off the shelf at me.

  5. no they dont notice. these are the same people who go to movies like Alvin and the chipmonks the Squeakell..

  6. Haw! Also the same people that go to the video store looking for "Transformers 2" while it's still playing in the theater, and then get mad when it's not yet for sale.

    Asylum Studios has built an entire business around confusing the general public. They'll make a terrible ripoff of an upcoming movie and release it on video a couple of days before the real one hits theaters. They've made classics like "Transmorphers," "Paranormal Entity," and even a "Sherlock Holmes" film. I'm waiting to see their take on "Avatar."

    They have a website here:


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