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Let’s Talk About The Promo Photos Set In Subway Cars


You’ve probably noticed it too. You know… The trend that’s prevalent in contemporary movies. The subway car promotional photo stills I mean. Ocean’s 8 had one, Captain Marvel had one, Joker had one and even one of the best indie movies of 2019 Marriage Story has one.

Yeah. The Adam Driver/Scarlett Johansson divorce drama has a promo still photo with the two actors posing on each side of the subway car. And if it’s not a subway car per se, than it’s something similar. Like a bus maybe. Yeah. If I look back the Predator (yeah the latest Predator movie) you’ll notice that one of the few promotional photos took place in the back of the bus.

What’s the meaning behind these photos? Well, to be fair this isn’t a novelty idea. Stills, promotional material and entire movie plots all set in different forms of public transportation have existed for quite some time. The NY subway is particular favorite and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Warriors are cult favorites, but I’m a sucker for romance and I’m going to include the last scene of the iconic Crocodile Dundee movie.

But I digress. What do they mean you say? The photo stills of the actors standing (or sitting) in the subway car? Well, the reliability always comes to mind first. You see, most of the characters in question are not ordinary Joe’s. They’re special (or at least that’s how they’re portrayed) and having to pose in an environment that’s so generic, mundane and ordinary brings us closer to us. The real regular Joe’s when they’re in that car. They’re mercenaries, they’re thieves, and they’re super heroes. But when they’re sitting in the subway car, they’re just like us. With the exception of Scarlet/Adam characters that I mentioned every single one of the characters like to think that they’re special. Even Arthur Fleck. But putting them in not so special environment, kinda takes a layer of that super awesome nature.

And secondly the carefully orchestrated PR machine behind these movies like the play the URBAN card quite a bit. Let’s take Captain Marvel for instance. The movie took place on different planets, on rural areas and on military bases. But one of the most prevalent prom photos of that particular movie was of Carol Danvers standing in the middle of a subway car, among the very shocked and very surprised passengers. Nobody cares if her BFF (Maria Rambeau) lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere, this is an urban movie, for urban people, and that’s the main selling point.

But truth to be told, I’m kinda tired of milking this trend. We need more diversity in the character presentations. The subway car was fine for a while, but now it’s boring and repetitive marketing trend, and not every genre needs a photo still like this. It’s OK to put your characters in different setting. They’re be valued and loved just as much I promise.



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