a first look investigation

14 First-Look Images That Tell Us Absolutely Nothing About the Things They’re Promoting

Photo: See-Saw Films

Try, for a minute, to guess what the photo above is from. Is it from a movie you’ve already seen? Is it just Elisabeth Moss, in her everyday life? Is it from Mad Men? Are you stumped?

It’s actually a “first-look” photo meant to get you excited about the upcoming second season of Top of the Lake. And now one more question: How dare they tease us like this?

Sure, “first-look” images can sometimes be fun or at least intriguing, and if you’re an obsessive fan of a movie or TV show, any little bit of new content can be exciting, however small. But there’s a fine line between giving a few tantalizing visual clues and offering up something utterly nondescript, and some of these first looks are just egregiously opaque. We’ve broken down the worst first-look tropes in recent memory, for your enjoyment.


Photo: Highland Film Group

Hey look, Margot Robbie has a collared coat and a sexy nicotine habit. She also seemingly hangs out in deserted hallways that match her outfit. That’s about all we know.

What it’s promoting: The noir thriller Terminal.

Photo: Bron Studios

In this movie, there’s a moment where Rooney Mara looks concerned (maybe?) in a white top.

What it’s promoting: A film adaptation of the play Blackbird.


Photo: CBS Films

As someone who has googled “Dylan O’Brien’s face post–Maze Runner accident” several times, this poster does nothing to clear that up and thus is a failure. Also, we’d assume a so-called assassin would hold a gun, so this photo essentially tells us nothing.

What it’s promoting: The upcoming action film American Assassin.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

The reason you’re seeing this movie is because it stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, okay? So be happy with this picture even though it doesn’t even show their full faces.

What it’s promoting: The sci-fi romance Passengers, in which Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence charm each other and fall in love as the only people awake on a spacecraft.

Photo: The CW

This one is almost maybe relevant content in that it shows off a beloved costume. But dammit, no, it still looks Photoshopped and it doesn’t show either character in action doing anything.

What it’s promoting: Superman’s cameo on season two of Supergirl.

Photo: BBC

This is just Sherlock and Watson, looking thoughtfully dapper in a studio.

What it’s promoting: Season four of Sherlock.


Photo: Ilze Kitshoff

Oh, yes, do you remember, from that book, the time they were in that field? Neither do we.

What it’s promoting: The upcoming Dark Tower adaptation.

Photo: Bettina Strauss/BBCA/Bettina Strauss

Don’t get distracted by the dog. Try to guess the title of this show or what happens in it. Did you guess that it’s a detective show? Does that mean you are, in fact, the best detective?

What it’s promoting: BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Photo: Paramount Pictures/Photo Credit: Jan Thijs

Hey, it’s Jeremy Renner, furrowing his brow and looking off into the distance. Since this tease is for a movie about aliens, we’ll have to use our imaginations and assume that he’s observing said aliens as they arrive on Earth.

What it’s promoting: Arrival, a drama about extraterrestrial life landing on Earth.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Another common thing about these photos is that everyone usually looks really distraught, for no discernible reason.

What it’s promoting: A currently untitled A.A. Milne biopic.


Photo: Paramount Pictures/© 2016 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

No new information here, but honestly, Denzel Washington in a newsboy cap is a great sell.

What it’s promoting: The film adaptation of August Wilson’s Tony-winning play, Fences.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Don’t let the recent Brangelina divorce drama fool you. When this photo came out, this was just two actors, sitting around, one in a hat.

What it’s promoting: Awards-season hopeful Allied.

Photo: Survival Pictures/Toronto International Film Festi

Did you like the internet’s boyfriend flying around space in Resistance casual? Well, here he is walking down some street in a hat.

What it’s promoting: The historical drama The Promise.

14 First-Look Images That Tell Us Nothing