Yeah, I compare blu-ray covers. I love my movies. And my cover art.
Here are some cover art comparisons ( US covers on the left, Japan editions on the right ) of several films I enjoy. While living in Tokyo I often went bargain hunting for used dvds, and am always fascinated by the different cover art the Japanese distributors use.
Let’s start with Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. (image above) Brilliant film, beautiful cinematography. It was shot digitally on the Arri Alexa camera, but retains a very filmic, creamy look.
The US cover is aesthetically more pleasing and artistic but I also like the high contrasty, saturated color use on the Japan edition. Both look great; I can’t decide which one I like better.
(above) Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. I prefer the US cover. It’s cleaner, simpler and just pack more visual punch. Sometimes less is more.
Marc Web’s (500) Days Of summer. Loved the film. Gotta have to go with the US cover again.
If you’ve stayed in Tokyo for a few years and have rented your fair share of dvds from Tsutaya (a video rental chain) like I have you will probably notice that many of their cover art follow a very similar design – photographs of the principal actors on the cover art are espoused, rather than abstract, graphical art/layout. I suspect the marketing strategy is to make it easier for potential viewers to recognize the actors ( and hence the film ), thus increasing the chances of a successful rental.
Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. See my point ? US version – Symbolic image of a bloodied baseball club and a Nazi helmet. Japan edition – Pictures of the principal actors on the cover, and a bright yellow background, which makes it jump out on the rental shelf. It’s an overused trick though – walk into a big video rental store in Tokyo and you’ll seen half a dozen blu-ray covers with bright yellow backgrounds. ( Though in this case, I actually do prefer the Japan edition cover… )
Luc Besson’s Leon. Hands down to the the Japanese cover; it’s just more attractive. The graphical Leon design on the US cover, though well executed, doesn’t quiet draw me in as much.
Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. The cover designs are not too different here; though the composition for the Japanese edition is a little more dynamic and interesting. Helena Bonham Carter however is positively staring into outer space.
And Remember what I said about bright yellow backgrounds ? :]
US versions :
Japanese editions :3