Reaching an audience in the home video market is much different than reaching the theatrical audience. That often means the key art that’s used for home video releases is changed significantly from the one-sheets that were available during the theatrical marketing cycle. What I’m going to try and do is see what those changes are and what they mean for the appeal being made.
The Birth of A Nation
The studio decided to stick with what worked, if not to turn out audiences than at least to get people talking now that it’s time to sell it to the home video audience. So it uses the same artwork of an American flag that’s made of images of slaves running toward their oppressors, pitchforks and shovels in hand. It’s a solid choice and it means they didn’t have to use any sort of image of Nate Parker, the writer/director/star who was embroiled in a controversy just before it was released theatrically.
Different artwork is used here, but it’s thematically similar to what was used theatrically. So where the one-sheet showed a far-off image of Mark Wahlberg looking downtrodden as an oil rig burned in the distance, the home video box art zooms in on both, with a close-up of Wahlberg looking off into the middle distance as oil and blood stream down his face. And the shot of the rig on fire is much closer and more dramatic, showing the kind of hellish circumstances the crew had to escape from. It’s almost like it’s trying to sell the movie here not as a drama but as a Bay-ish action movie with big, fiery explosions as the key selling point.