Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” is set in a virtual reality world littered with pop culture characters from the 1980s and 1990s, so it makes sense Warner Bros. has been leaning into the nostalgia angle in the film’s marketing. But the studio may have taken things a step too far this week when it released a series of “Ready Player One” posters inspired by classic films posters, from “Back to the Future” to “The Matrix,” “The Lost Boys,” “The Iron Giant,” and more.
Warner Bros. probably thought the images were the perfect tie-in for the film and would have viral potential online, but the reaction has been quite the opposite. Look up “Ready Player One” on social media and you’ll find many fans ripping the film’s marketing to shreds.
The Verge recently published an article asking the question, “Are these ‘Ready Player One’ posters supposed to be cool or cringeworthy?,” while CNET went with a more blunt headline: “The new ‘Ready Player One’ posters are extremely bad.” Mashable slammed the posters for “insidiously toying with your nostalgia.”
The “Ready Player One” marketing backlash, however, has created at least one great meme: “Read Player One” spoof art house posters. Fans are publishing their own version of the film’s nostalgic posters by mixing “Ready Player One” with films like “Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels,” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.” The “Salo”/”Ready Player One” poster is especially horrific.
OK there READY PLAYER ONE just stop it pic.twitter.com/s1px8ESniC
— McGone [2 CD Remastered Deluxe Edition] (@the_mcgone) March 6, 2018
The new Ready Player One poster is outrageous. Cancel the premiere of this film. pic.twitter.com/O1jiqDmPOG
— Kaleb Horton (@kalebhorton) March 6, 2018
i can’t imagine how warner bros approved of this ready player one poster pic.twitter.com/SzT4iyNpCd
— jared kushbomb (@tresgambas) March 7, 2018
Another bit of “Ready Player One” criticism going viral online is a video of “The Good Place” writer Demi Adejuyigbe singing a mock theme song for the film. The lyrics are just an exhausting list of all of the film’s pop cultural throwbacks.
Just got word that I can finally share my rejected theme song from @readyplayerone. They went with Alan Silvestri’s theme, but I still want to thank Steven Spielberg & @WarnerBrosEnt for the wonderful opportunity. pic.twitter.com/aK32ZOUA16
— demi adejuyigbe (@electrolemon) March 7, 2018
“Ready Player One” opens in theaters nationwide March 29.