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Back-to-Back Poster

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Posing characters back-to-back is a common way to do a movie poster. The reason for this is that it immediately puts your main character/s front and center and showcases their contrast or camaraderie. How they are posed will hint at their dynamic throughout the film.

  • The leads don't get along: Body language may be on the hostile side, such as smug looks or crossed arms.
  • The leads are very different from each other: This can apply to any contrasting Duo Tropes, and the traits that make them different as night and day will be emphasized. For example, a Tomboy and Girly Girl pair will look the parts.
  • The leads are partners or work together: In this case, the body language will either be friendlier or more "professional". To show that they literally got each other's backs.
  • A variation is to have the poster be two aspects of the main character, such as a Secret Identity, a Split Personality, a drastically different night job, or an embarrassing trait.
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This is common in comedies, especially of the Romantic (where it's the romantic leads on the poster) and Buddy Picture (where it's the platonic leads on the poster) varieties since these films come prepackaged with two main characters of varying dynamics. There will also be a minimal background (usually white) to set a light scene; in this case it may overlap with Red-and-White Comedy Poster. Otherwise, they'll be posing in front of something cool (like a Cool Car), a location representative of the setting, or an action-filled background.

See also other types of Film Posters. Compare Back-to-Back Badasses, which is for looking cool during a fight scene.


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Examples:

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    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 2 Guns's poster does this with Back-to-Back Badasses; the main duo of operatives shoot back to back as money rains down around them.
  • Present in the poster for 21 Jump Street with partner agents Schmidt and Jenko posed back to back in tuxes.
  • Done on the poster of Action Jackson features the titular character back to back against the villain's mistress Sydney Ash.
  • The 1949 comedy Adam's Rib features popular acting duo Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, as they play married lawyers who end up facing off against each other in the courtroom. While both are smiling on the poster, their determination is reflected in their arms crossed over their chests.
  • Angel's poster has the same character variation; Molly's "high school honor student by day" look is posed next to her "Hollywood hooker by night" look.
  • Bride Wars has protagonists and best friends Liv and Emma posed back-to-back on the cover, looking sweet in their wedding dresses. The film is about how their friendship is nearly ruined by the fact that they have the same wedding day.
  • This trope appears at least twice on posters for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, with both featuring Steve Martin and Eugene Levy standing back-to-back. One poster features the two men holding water guns with their respective broods standing behind them, while another features a close-up of the two men holding photos of their children up to the camera. Martin and Levy are playing fathers of rival families at a competition, and the competitiveness of the two fathers is apparent in these posters.
  • Posters for the French spy spoof Double Zero feature its leads standing back-to-back in James Bond-esque poses...while wearing garish red, sparkly tuxedos. Depending on the version, some posters contain comedic chaos in the backdrop behind them.
  • Four Christmases' poster features protagonists Brad and Kate in this configuration, both tied together with ribbon, and Kate standing on presents to make up their considerable height difference.
  • The Game Plan: One poster has buff footballer Joe back to back with his tiny ballerina daughter for humor.
  • A poster for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past has main characters Connor Mead and Jennifer Perotti in this setup, with Perotti holding the end of a scarf that's around Mead's neck like a leash. Perotti is Mead's childhood friend and first crush, and who he finally pairs up with.
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days has the romantic leads leaning on each other and looking snide at the other. Fitting, since they don't start out really liking each other and are both secretly fake dating the other for their own agendas.
  • Ice Princess has the heroine's physics nerd persona back to back with the champion figure skater she later blossoms into.
  • The 2010 film Killers features protagonist Jen Kornfeldt and her new Love Interest Spencer Aimes standing in this arrangement. The difference between them is noted in their props; she's holding a makeup kit, and he's holding up a gun as he happens to be a professional assassin.
  • The poster for My Girl features main character Vada and Thomas J., who serves as her best friend and possible Love Interest until he dies at the hands of a bee sting, which he is highly allergic to.
  • A No Reservations poster places principal characters Kate Armstrong and Nick Palmer back-to-back. Their poses reflect the fact that they are interested in each other, yet are also semi-rivals for their roles in their restaurant's kitchen. In the end, they do get together and open their own establishment.
  • One poster for Observe and Report features Seth Rogen and Michael Peña's characters trying to affect the Back-to-Back Badasses trope, but despite their uniforms and poses, neither looks particularly badass.
  • The poster for Prete Moi Ta Main (English title: I Do) features principal characters Luis and Emma. The film is about Luis hatching a scheme involving Emma to make his family leave him alone regarding love and marriage...which predictably backfires, and then the two fall in love for real.
  • The Pretty Woman poster has Edward leaning on Vivian's back. The way they are posed hints that Edward is stiff and high-class, while Vivian is free-spirited.
  • One of the posters for Run Fatboy Run features Dennis Doyle and his ex-fiancee Libby standing back-to-back, although in a slight variation, he's facing the camera (in a rather ridiculous superhero-like pose) and she is turned away from it.
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me has heroines and best friends Audrey and Morgan posed back to back in the top and center. They evoke spies, with Audrey doing a Glasses Pull and Morgan doing a finger gun in an imitation of a Pistol Pose, signifying how they are Action Survivors who get roped into the world of espionage.
  • The French film Tout Ce Qui Brille features protagonists Aly and Lila on the cover, their postures suggesting their personalities: Aly the honest, hardworking one, and Lila the party girl willing to lie to keep up appearances.
  • One Two Weeks Notice poster shows main characters George Wade and Lucy Kelso learning on each others' backs. It symbolizes how, while the two hate what each other stands for in the beginning, the two start to become extremely interdependent on each other as the story progresses...
  • The poster for A View to a Kill has James Bond standing back-to-back with May Day, who is the Big Bad's bodyguard and lover, who later has a Heel–Face Turn...but not before jumping into bed with Agent 007 first. It also serves to showcase her long, muscular legs.
  • A poster for Wild Target features mains Victor Maynard and Rose standing back-to-back. Maynard is an assassin and Rose is a con artist brought together by circumstance...and they eventually fall in love and marry amidst the story's Black Comedy mayhem.
  • The poster for Grumpy Old Men does a slight variation on this, having John Gustafson and Max Goldman standing away from each other with their arms crossed and sneering at each other, but Ariel is standing in between them.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Starsky & Hutch have posed this way in at least one poster; they are a duo of plainclothes officers.
  • Invoked by Jake Peralta in season 7, episode 8 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He describes a blockbuster starring himself and Doug Judy, claiming the poster for said movie would be this.

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