What If Oscars Were Given To Movie Websites?


Many of us today probably use the Web to book tickets and find information about movies. By selling tickets and entertaining visitors, websites help movies succeed at the box office and earn public approval. And yet, website developers don’t get any public recognition for the success of movies. Isn’t it a bit unfair in the Internet era not to bestow a single bit of appreciation for the presentation of movies online?

Most modern movie websites are built in Flash, even when it’s totally unjustified. The websites often lack usability standards and require users to click through splash pages and introductions in order to access content. They have the luxury of being able to neglect common principles and standards because they garner attention merely by their association with the movies they promote. Let’s suppose, though, that these developers got their own Palmes d’Ors, Oscars and Bears. Wouldn’t this be strong motivation to create outstanding and usable websites?

In this post, we imagine Oscars being given to both movies and their websites. This is, of course, not a new award from Smashing Magazine and far less an attempt to assume the right and honor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s just a fun way to observe the latest trends in movie website design and to showcase the best websites of the 2009 blockbusters, as well as recent and upcoming movies.

Nomination: Graphics

This is perhaps the most prestigious category in our virtual ceremony. It refers to the way a design uses photos, illustrations and graphic elements to create a pleasing and memorable visual experience.

The Nominees Are…

Law Abiding Citizen1
For its use of bold and expressive photos.


For the Transformers models (of course).


Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs5 (UK official website)
For the icy illustrations.


Alice in Wonderland12210056427
For achieving wonders with illustration and photo manipulation.


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs83229
For the tasty illustrations and delicious little elements in the design.


How to Train Your Dragon124957411
For some red-hot graphics.


A Town Called Panic13
For the funky plasticine illustrations.


And the Winner Is…

The attention to detail on the Alice in Wonderland15 website is impressive. A seamless combination of digital illustrations and photographs and plenty of small Wonderland-style graphic elements makes this design eye candy.

Nomination: Interactivity

Many movie websites, especially ones for animated movies and action blockbusters, rely on interactive elements to engage visitors. The following websites of popular movies from 2009 deliver a solid interactive experience and are deserving nominees.

The Nominees Are…

Broken Embraces8016
For the beautifully executed stack of torn photos, which serves as the navigation menu.


Halloween 2692718
For the terrific (and terrifying) 3-D elements.


District 9106935320
For the interactive panoramic views of District 9.


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs83229
For the customizable food rain and lively characters.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince24
For the magical image gallery.


And the Winner Is…

The website for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs26 is a joy to explore, mainly because of its interactive features.

Nomination: Dynamic Effects

Movie websites have invariably included at least one trailer on the home page or on a splash page. The trailer usually plays automatically. But a growing trend is to use clips from the movie as a pre-loader or background. In doing so, film websites typically employ Flash animation and motion graphics for maximum visual impact. The following websites feature some excellent dynamic effects of various types.

The Nominees Are…

Halloween 2692718
For the spooky and shimmering video clips.


Where the Wild Things Are7829
For the beautiful and organically integrated video.


For the animated Transformers (showing actual transformations would have been better, though).


For the incredible dynamic effects.


Terminator Salvation35
For the well-styled video stream.


Lovely Bones12837
For the seamless combination of video fragments and images.


Star Trek1024539
For the fantastic transition effects.


And the Winner Is…

The navigation on Star Trek41‘s official website simulates the experience of walking around the spaceship. This effect is excellently implemented and takes the visitor deep into the movie’s atmosphere.

Nomination: Harmony With Movie

Movie websites are of course all about the movies they promote. But screenshots, trailers, photos and images alone may be not enough to convey the atmosphere of a film. A lot more can by done by weaving the story and concept in with the design elements. Each website showcased below does a great job of recreating its movie’s feel and drawing visitors in.

The Nominees Are…

Alice in Wonderland12210056427
For the gallymogger43 details throughout the design.


Star Trek1024539
For the great use of space-themed material, which everyone loves.


Drag Me to Hell47
For the shiver-inducing fly animation.


For the futuristic robot features.


Up in the Air1326251
For the nifty airplane-style elements and icons.


District 9106935320
For the great use of alien-themed material.


And the Winner Is…

Our virtual Oscar goes to District 955. The movie’s dismal atmosphere is communicated well on all of the website’s pages. In fact, District 9 offers six distinct “experiences” apart from the official website. Features include interactive panoramic images, stylized graphics and video clips, as well as separate pages for humans and aliens (being faithful to the movie’s spirit).

Nomination: Best Exclusive Content

Thousands of online resources and databases are available where users can find out information about past, current and upcoming movies, watch trailers and book tickets. So, exclusive content is a kind of trump card for official movie websites. Without it, the websites are almost useless. Still, many studios continue to offer a minimum of content, such as trailer, screenshots, synopsis and a couple of posters for downloading. By contrast, all of the nominees for our Best Exclusive Content award offer treats for even the most fastidious of movie fans.

The Nominees Are…

Alice in Wonderland12210056427
For the fun facts about the movie.


For the screenplay, which is available in PDF format.


An Education60
For the extensive information about the film.


Up in the Air1326251
For the precise “departure” and “landing” info.


For the incredible character profiles.


The Wolfman66
For the fascinating insight into werewolf legends and mystery.


And the Winner Is…

Besides its comprehensive overview of the movie and a number of videos and photos, The Wolfman68 website offers a good amount of information in the Features section about the mysterious events depicted in the movie and the horror legacy of Universal Studios. Both the content and presentation are wonderful.

Nomination: Typography

Typography greatly affects the user experience. Everyone loves beautiful typography, and we just couldn’t leave this element out of our categories. In most cases, a movie website’s attention to typography amounts to choosing an appropriate font family. On some websites, though, you’ll find some really nice work with styling and arranging.

The Nominees Are…

Halloween 2692718





How to Train Your Dragon124957411


Inglourious Basterds76


Where the Wild Things Are7829


Broken Embraces8016


And the Winner Is…

The Inglourious Basterds82 website is practically the only design here that expands the work of the film’s art through typography. Both the selection and arrangement of type here evoke the spirit of the film and make the website easy and enjoyable to read.

Nomination: Fun Games

Games, fan kits and other activities of the sort can be found on movie websites from various genres, from family comedy to horror. This entertainment engages visitors, in turn further promoting the film. Truly unique and engaging activities have made it into this category.

The Nominees Are…

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs83229
For its five ways to play with food, one of which is in 3-D!


Fantastic Mr. Fox85
For the lovely game interface design.


For the fan kit and fan art sections.


Sherlock Holmes89
For the clever test of deduction.


For the virtual surrogate creator.


District 9106935320
For the “non-human” support.


How to Train Your Dragon124957411
For its wide range of craft activities.


For letting you create your own avatar (not as beautiful as the movie’s, though).


And the Winner Is…

The website for How To Train Your Dragon99 offers seven online games and fifteen activities to print out and play. Good enjoyment for the whole family.

Nomination: Cross-Media Interaction

The increasingly popular mobile Web and social networks just can’t be ignored by movie companies. Many movies are represented on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks and bookmarking services. Many movie websites have social media panels and widgets that let users get updates and share information about the movies on their own websites and social network pages.

iPhone and iPod apps have become common promotional tools as well. Some movies even have community websites that bring people together around certain topics discussed in a film. The deepest and most versatile social media integration is exemplified by the following websites.

The Nominees Are…

Alice in Wonderland12210056427
For the wonderful mobile applications.


Star Trek1024539
For the complete collection of social network links.


For the deep media interaction (widget, social networks, iPhone game, etc.).


District 9106935320
For the earthling and non-human communities.


For providing numerous ways to spread word about the movie.


The Twilight Saga: New Moon109
For attending to all kinds of Twilight fans (take the TwilightMOMs community for instance!).


And the Winner Is…

With 5 official streams on major social networks, over 15 community websites and 4 items in the App Store, The Twilight Saga: New Moon111 is the clear winner in this category.

Nomination: Best HTML Website

Many movie websites use Flash when HTML, CSS and a couple of good JavaScript effects would do. The four websites below break from this convention and prove that good movie website design does not necessarily have to include Flash.

The Cove112


Music by Prudence114


Food Inc.116


When You’re Strange118


And the Winner Is…

The website for Music By Prudence120 fully deserves this award. The website was created by New-York based design duet Bartlett de Boer121, which explains the idea for this design this way: “Together with our client, we decided on a Flash-like site, to be supported by WordPress’ content management system. We combined bold typography, huge background images and a smart jQuery application that creates a dynamic effect, presenting all the info in semi-transparent sections. This was one of the most exciting projects we’ve worked on so far.” No doubt, the Music By Prudence website is a credit to Matt Mulleneweg’s brainchild, WordPress, too.

Nomination: Best Flash Website

Movie websites usually contain a massive amount of media content, which is why Flash is the most popular platform on which to build them. While many websites either overuse animations and dynamic effects or don’t justify their use of Flash at all, some Flash movie websites deliver attractive, entertaining and informative experiences quite well. Below are six movie websites that are worthy of our imaginary Best Flash Website Oscar.

The Nominees Are…

Alice in Wonderland12210056427


How to Train Your Dragon124957411


Inglourious Basterds134126


Lovely Bones12837




Up in the Air1326251


And the Winner Is…

Inglourious Basterds134126! An attention to detail at all levels of the website, nifty yet unobtrusive effects and plenty of information make this Flash movie website stand out gloriously from the others.

Red Carpet Stars

Some movie websites that did not win our imaginary Oscars are still worth being showcased. Most of these, though not all, are done in a minimalist style, containing some basic information and a minimum of Flash effects. They are quite easy to navigate and their interfaces are visually appealing. Despite not being nominated here, they deserve some serious Hollywood buzz.

City Island135
A lovely combination of photographs and sketches makes the website for City Island special.


Mid-August Lunch137
This is more an interactive movie poster than a website. The page contains practically no information about the film itself, referring visitors instead to the studio website. Still, it features an original theme that we just couldn’t pass up.


Like the films of maestro Clint Eastwood’s oeuvre, the website for Invictus tries to show the present through the prism of timeless values. How else to explain the use of Flash for this elegant and contemporary design, which could have been done with plain HTML and jQuery?


The Hurt Locker141
Grungy typeface, sandy colors and good still images make this website a worthy online counterpart to the movie.


Green Zone143
Some really great styling in the navigation menu.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid145
Funny cartoons and a graph paper texture contribute to the theme for this movie website.


The Square147
The content here is contained in a stylized grid, which doesn’t in the least impair readability and usability. Dark colors and bold grungy textures make for a true “website noir.”


Plenty of games are integrated smoothly in the content here, resulting in a kick-ass movie website!


Shutter Island151
The website for this brilliant movie is another black pearl in our collection. The focus here is on the dark island landscape, complemented by little polished details.


Brooklyn’s Finest153
This is one of the few websites that have a good splash page. Overall, the website for Brooklyn’s Finest has some great photos and unobtrusive Flash effects. The city line shown as a film negative is the cherry on top.


The Road155
The website for this impressive film, based on the Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, is lean as can be. The minimalist design builds mainly on still images from the movie. The quotes from the novel that appear while the page loads (an feature also seen on the Inglourious Basterds website) contributes to this information-rich website.


Hot Tub Time Machine157
The headshots that appear when you mouse over the menu items would make anyone smile. The short introduction is a nice touch, too. The Hot Tub Time Machine website certainly won’t leave you cold.


This website is notable for its atmospheric, pseudo-3D background images. The graphics are enriched by transparent elements with frames that mimic a plating effect.


This website has what you could call a camouflage design: it looks like pure HTML but is fully Flash. But don’t let that annoy you. The website loads relatively quickly and is easy to use. Also, the panorama on the main page is adorable.


The Secret in Their Eyes163
When the subject matter is secrets, a dark laconic design is the way to go.


The website for the Oscar-winning film (really!) Precious shows great use of video to get visitors involved in the story.


Valentine’s Day167
The website for Valentine’s Day has a social network-ish look and feel, mainly because the background photos look like the profile pictures on a social network.

Please Give168
Although this is only a “Coming soon” page, showing a trailer, press notes and a Facebook link, the typography merits its inclusion on this list.




  1. 1 http://www.lawabidingcitizenfilm.com/
  2. 2 http://www.lawabidingcitizenfilm.com/
  3. 3 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  4. 4 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  5. 5 http://www.iceage3.co.uk/
  6. 6 http://www.iceage3.co.uk/
  7. 7 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  8. 8 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  9. 9 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  10. 10 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  11. 11 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  12. 12 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  13. 13 http://www.atowncalledpanic.com/
  14. 14 http://www.atowncalledpanic.com/
  15. 15 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  16. 16 http://www.sonyclassics.com/brokenembraces/main.html
  17. 17 http://www.sonyclassics.com/brokenembraces/main.html
  18. 18 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  19. 19 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  20. 20 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  21. 21 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  22. 22 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  23. 23 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  24. 24 http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthehalf-bloodprince/
  25. 25 http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/harrypotterandthehalf-bloodprince/
  26. 26 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  27. 27 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  28. 28 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  29. 29 http://wherethewildthingsare.warnerbros.com/
  30. 30 http://wherethewildthingsare.warnerbros.com/
  31. 31 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  32. 32 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  33. 33 http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
  34. 34 http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
  35. 35 http://terminatorsalvation.warnerbros.com/
  36. 36 http://terminatorsalvation.warnerbros.com/
  37. 37 http://www.lovelybones.com/
  38. 38 http://www.lovelybones.com/
  39. 39 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  40. 40 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  41. 41 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  42. 42 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  43. 43 http://www.slashfilm.com/2009/05/08/glossary-of-terms-for-tim-burtons-alice-in-wonderland/
  44. 44 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  45. 45 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  46. 46 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  47. 47 http://dragmetohell.net/
  48. 48 http://dragmetohell.net/
  49. 49 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  50. 50 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  51. 51 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  52. 52 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  53. 53 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  54. 54 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  55. 55 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  56. 56 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  57. 57 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  58. 58 http://nine-movie.com
  59. 59 http://nine-movie.com
  60. 60 http://www.sonyclassics.com/aneducation/main.html
  61. 61 http://www.sonyclassics.com/aneducation/main.html
  62. 62 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  63. 63 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  64. 64 http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
  65. 65 http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
  66. 66 http://www.thewolfmanmovie.com/
  67. 67 http://www.thewolfmanmovie.com/
  68. 68 http://www.thewolfmanmovie.com/
  69. 69 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  70. 70 http://www.halloween2-movie.com/
  71. 71 http://watchmenmovie.warnerbros.com
  72. 72 http://nine-movie.com
  73. 73 http://nine-movie.com
  74. 74 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  75. 75 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  76. 76 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/
  77. 77 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/
  78. 78 http://wherethewildthingsare.warnerbros.com/
  79. 79 http://wherethewildthingsare.warnerbros.com/
  80. 80 http://www.sonyclassics.com/brokenembraces/main.html
  81. 81 http://www.sonyclassics.com/brokenembraces/main.html
  82. 82 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/
  83. 83 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  84. 84 http://www.cloudywithachanceofmeatballs.com/
  85. 85 http://www.fantasticmrfoxmovie.com/
  86. 86 http://www.fantasticmrfoxmovie.com/
  87. 87 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  88. 88 http://www.transformersmovie.com/
  89. 89 http://sherlock-holmes-movie.warnerbros.com/
  90. 90 http://sherlock-holmes-movie.warnerbros.com/
  91. 91 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  92. 92 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  93. 93 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  94. 94 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  95. 95 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  96. 96 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  97. 97 http://www.avatarmovie.com/
  98. 98 http://www.avatarmovie.com/
  99. 99 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  100. 100 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  101. 101 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  102. 102 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  103. 103 http://www.startrekmovie.com/
  104. 104 http://www.pandorummovie.com/
  105. 105 http://www.pandorummovie.com/
  106. 106 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  107. 107 http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/district9/site/?hs317=district9+entertheatricalsite
  108. 108 http://www.avatarmovie.com/
  109. 109 http://www.twilightthemovie.com/
  110. 110 http://www.twilightthemovie.com/
  111. 111 http://www.twilightthemovie.com/
  112. 112 http://www.thecovemovie.com/
  113. 113 http://www.thecovemovie.com/
  114. 114 http://www.musicbyprudence.com/
  115. 115 http://www.musicbyprudence.com
  116. 116 http://www.foodincmovie.com/
  117. 117 http://www.foodincmovie.com/
  118. 118 http://whenyourestrangemovie.com/
  119. 119 http://whenyourestrangemovie.com/
  120. 120 http://www.musicbyprudence.com/
  121. 121 http://www.bartlettdeboer.com/
  122. 122 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  123. 123 http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/aliceinwonderland/
  124. 124 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  125. 125 http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
  126. 126 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/site.html
  127. 127 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/site.html
  128. 128 http://www.lovelybones.com/
  129. 129 http://www.lovelybones.com/
  130. 130 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  131. 131 http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/
  132. 132 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  133. 133 http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/
  134. 134 http://www.inglouriousbasterds-movie.com/site.html
  135. 135 http://www.cityislandmovie.com/
  136. 136 http://www.cityislandmovie.com/
  137. 137 http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/midaugustlunch/
  138. 138 http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/midaugustlunch/
  139. 139 http://invictusmovie.warnerbros.com/
  140. 140 http://invictusmovie.warnerbros.com/
  141. 141 http://thehurtlocker-movie.com/
  142. 142 http://thehurtlocker-movie.com/
  143. 143 http://www.greenzonemovie.com/site.html
  144. 144 http://www.greenzonemovie.com/site.html
  145. 145 http://www.diaryofawimpykidmovie.com/
  146. 146 http://www.diaryofawimpykidmovie.com/
  147. 147 http://www.squarethemovie.com/
  148. 148 http://www.squarethemovie.com/
  149. 149 http://kickass-themovie.com/
  150. 150 http://kickass-themovie.com/
  151. 151 http://www.shutterisland.com/
  152. 152 http://www.shutterisland.com/
  153. 153 http://www.brooklynsfinestthemovie.com/main/
  154. 154 http://www.brooklynsfinestthemovie.com/main/
  155. 155 http://www.theroad-movie.com/
  156. 156 http://www.theroad-movie.com/
  157. 157 http://www.hottubtimemachinemovie.com/
  158. 158 http://www.hottubtimemachinemovie.com/
  159. 159 http://sonyclassics.com/moon/main.html
  160. 160 http://sonyclassics.com/moon/main.html
  161. 161 http://www.lbsthemovie.com/
  162. 162 http://www.lbsthemovie.com/
  163. 163 http://www.sonyclassics.com/thesecretintheireyes/index.php
  164. 164 http://www.sonyclassics.com/thesecretintheireyes/index.php
  165. 165 http://www.weareallprecious.com/main.html
  166. 166 http://www.weareallprecious.com/main.html
  167. 167 http://www.valentinesdaymovie.com/
  168. 168 http://www.sonyclassics.com/pleasegive/
  169. 169 http://www.sonyclassics.com/pleasegive/

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Julia May is a freelance writer now working with FlashMint, the top-class provider of Flash templates.

  1. 1

    This is quite a fantastic light read on a lazy Wednesday evening!! Thanks :)

  2. 2

    Love the idea of the article. It’s unusual and natural at the same moment to give awards to web designers, even virtual..

  3. 3

    That’s really interesting and well written article! I also agree with almost every choice You made for awards :) For me personally the best sites at all are Alice in Wonderland and Inglourious Basterds, I really like them!

  4. 4

    Edward Calugtong

    April 14, 2010 2:10 am

    Wow! The nominees are great! I really admire the Alice in Wonderland website along with Cloudy with a chance of meatballs!

    I really wish websites are considered on the Oscars! :D

  5. 5

    All Layouts is nice

  6. 6

    Design Informer

    April 14, 2010 2:15 am

    Unique post. Great job with this Julia. There are actually some really nice sites listed here.

  7. 7

    Awesome post and excellent movie sites!

  8. 8

    Superb Collection. A very very different thought to showcase all these at a place. Thanks for sharing.

  9. 9

    What a cool idea!!
    You should launch this concept for real! :D

  10. 10

    Being built in Flash is not totally unjustified. As movies are the “plot” here, their websites should be even more dynamic. I really don’t think people expect anything else then movie scenes, special effects and other crap on a movie website. They are a website species of their own.
    My problem was that I saw very little attention to details on most of the websites

  11. 11

    Cool One but seems many great sites are missing here….

  12. 12

    KILLER LIST. Thanks!

  13. 13

    As a movie fan, I hate film websites. It’s all flash, annoying wait times, little content and horrible interfaces. The examples here illustrate that. I wouldn’t spend more than 5 seconds on either one of these sites.

    Just like the real Oscar selections actually, isn’t that ironic!

  14. 14

    Nice websites, awards required * I also agree with almost every choice You made for awards :)

  15. 15

    Flash is totally justified for these websites. Every one of these sites is built in Flash because usability is no where near as important as presentation for this subject medium. The whole point is for them to be a complete and utter visual feast, to persuade the user to go see the movie.

    You honestly think the average Joe is going to go see a movie because the website validated as XHTML or it can be indexed by Google? Give me a break, usability and standards take a back seat here. Joe is going to go see the movie because the website was completely over the top with animation, full screen video and a fluid experience – something Flash is still king at.

    This article would have been great if it wasn’t for the underlying message that Flash is the Antichrist, a message seems to sneak into every SM article these days.

  16. 16

    lol i like this!

  17. 17

    Thanks for the comprehensive article, great job.

    I can see why Flash seems to be the development medium of choice – they look fantastic when compared to the websites simply utilizing “HTML, CSS and a couple of good JavaScript effects”.

  18. 18

    I agree with Dudefella, every SM article these days is dissing Flash and it’s really annoying.

    What exactly is your problem?

    This article illustrates how amazing Flash websites can be and all you say is that it’s not according to standard or something in this manner.

    You know what?

    Give yourselves at SM a challenge, create ANY of these websites without using any Flash!

    I’m waiting.

    • 19

      you are so right. but the best part is:

      “it looks like pure HTML but is fully Flash. But don’t let that annoy you.”
      why the heck should this annoy anyone? 95% of the internet users don’t even know the difference between flash and html.

      • 20

        I hate that SM has become a magazine for bitter web developers who don’t know how to develop in Flash (or know AS2 but have hard time learning AS3).

        They really talk about Flash like it’s the year 2000!

        Wake up Smashing Magazine!
        In 2010, Google CAN index Flash websites!

        If this is the direction SM is going to, then I’d better stop reading its articles.

        • 21

          Smashing Editorial

          April 14, 2010 7:37 am

          You are misinterpreting the article, guys. The writer of this article is designing Flash-sites for living, and we didn’t correct her text in any way.

  19. 22


    Very nice article.
    The twilight saga deserves more awards. its amazing movie.

    keep it up.

  20. 23

    Cooool Article…

  21. 24

    Id love to do the design for a movie’s website – you’d have to follow certain guidlinelines but you could do something really different!

  22. 25

    Awsome works. This is a nice collection of sites that really raise the bar in content presentation. I also enjoy game sites as well, but these are mind blowing also! Thanks for sharing Smashing :D

  23. 26

    Flash is definitely the tool of choice. Every entertainment site or even data visualization site that has ever wowed me was in flash. Too bad none of these will work on iPad. Why is everyone against flash all of a sudden? I hope it stays around for ever and I’m not even a flash developer.

  24. 27

    Typically the kind of sites I never visit.
    But I always appreciate showcases.
    I would just remind the writer of this article that cinema also exists outside of US.

  25. 28

    Did any HTML /non-Flash sites win an award (other than the HTML award)? Does this mean the Flash sites are superior?

  26. 30

    As a designer, many movie sites I have visited may be nicely put together, but I don’t have the patience to wait for long loads and skipping videos. If the overall goal is to promote tickets sales at the box office, then why aren’t these sites more accessible and of course FASTER!! Awards? Lol.

  27. 31

    Enjoyed reading this article and ingenious idea!

  28. 32

    I thought, from your previous post that “Flash sites were dying” All those sites are Flash Sites…
    Curious huh? ^_^

    • 33

      i think flash site is Okay for those kind of website.. promotional site. but using flash in website with informative should be banned.

    • 34

      Exactly. Sorry everyone, but for the most part, the industry standard for entertainment promotional sites is still Flash – and thats a huge business. Flash isnt going anywhere all too soon.

  29. 36

    article is nice approach and fresh~

  30. 37

    just a question, but why is a freelancer writer qualified to dissect flash websites? should that be done by a flash designer/animator/developer or creative/art director?

  31. 38

    The Saul Bass style of Please Give looks really nice. I sometimes miss this kind of simplicity instead of sometimes over manipulated imagery with all effects available applied all at the same time.

    Good article.

  32. 39

    SM should get less political in it’s articles.
    It starts with saying lots of movie sites are build with flash even when this totally unjustified.
    More to the point should have been to say ‘lots of movie sites still use HTML, this is a dumb thing to do if you see how beautiful sites can stand out using flash’.

    If you keep selling your own point of view like it’s the word of god a lot of people will start leaving SM. It’s a shame, if you remove the gospel its a nice article.

    • 40

      Smashing Editorial

      April 14, 2010 7:38 am

      You are misinterpreting the article. The writer of this article is designing Flash-sites for living, and we didn’t correct her text in any way.

      • 41

        seems like alot of people are “misinterpreting” it, huh.

        • 42

          See my comment above.

          Flash developers are way too defensive. I can’t believe anyone would get a negative vibe about Flash from a Flash website showcase.

      • 43

        Most of the bad vibes are still from the very bad article from ‘Brad Cooper’ a few days back (SM should do some more quality checking before posting an article).
        If you post troll articles like that one people will respond to that and not just in the place and way you would like.
        People will get irritated if they read about ‘web standards and the way things should be done’ in a next article. Even when its not the purpose of the article like it is in this one.

  33. 44

    SM! Don’t listen to “AintMe.” The trend (which you seem to be supporting, good job!), is to move away from Flash sites, because of the newest features in HTML 5 and CSS3 (not to mention all the Java libraries floating around)! Way to stand up to Flash! I, for one, will replace AintMe with more readers for you!

    • 45

      No, they don’t stand up to Flash – not even close. It’s completely irrational to pretend HTML5, CSS3 and a few fancy JavaScript effects come close to producing what Flash can. Are you telling me this is possible with HTML5 and JavaScript: http://www.adobe.com/jp/events/cs3_web_edition_tour/page6.html

      Not to mention that this shouldn’t even be as discussion of Flash vs HTML5. They serve two very different purposes and are suitable for two very different types of website so putting them in direct competition is sillyness; which is very frustrating because it is harmful to the creative community. We should be embracing HTML5 for unified standards and applauding Flash for the rich content it has provided (and will continue to provide) over the years, not toss it aside.

      Flash and HTML have coexisted for years and this won’t change. They work well both together and also apart and there are pros and cons to each solution.

  34. 46

    Movie Avatar website is not loading. :-(

    Great post!

  35. 47

    Another SM article about bashing Flash… sigh. It’s getting old guys!

  36. 48

    What I like about this sites is that you cannot find a “design trend” among them, and that’s something standards/css zealots need to learn… stop following trends and be original!

    • 49

      don’t you think its a little bit harder to be creative with html sites?
      thats also the point of a html site. we’ve seen this blog design 12345x times and we know how to use it. and we like it.
      html is the wrong tool for being creative.

      • 50

        imho with html css3 and js you can do a lot, (not “everything” that flash does) , but i think in principle you can be really more creative with html now, and at the same time have a fall back plan for older browsers and not enabled js machines.
        I want to dare !

  37. 51

    inspiring article, thanks for that.

  38. 52

    This So far the best movie website collection i have ever seen.. D9 Is my favorite.

  39. 53

    Hi there, We did all the 3D Papercrafts for How to Train Your Dragon, it’s so awesome you nominated the site and it won in the Fun Games category. Thank you! We had such a great time creating the projects!

  40. 54

    Love the article! While starting out in my career (web related), I used to envy flash websites for movies. However, through the years I have learned a lot about standards and moved far away from flash. Every now an then it comes up, “let’s do it in flash”, once I ask why, many people can’t give an answer outside of “because it’s more engaging and interactive”.

    Engaging and interactive? Really?

    You meant animated right? and at-best, annoying at times.

    For this, you can simply use java script. :)

  41. 55

    Great post.

  42. 56

    A Horse Called Panic is a brilliant site. Nice article!

  43. 57

    Great variety and inspiration

  44. 58

    I just think that the great and wonderful Smashing Magazine should write more about flash! I’ve noticed you’re pushing it behind the web development … like iPad for example …

  45. 59

    I sense a bit of Flash-hate going on in recent posts. Considering Flash is displayed the same across most browsers I would say it’s damn usable. The people who visit these websites do so for the rich media experience and games that these sites provide such as 30 Days of Night or that app which had Samuel L. Jackson call and cuss out your friends during Snakes on a Plane. They already know the URL so SEO value is not of the utmost concern. There’s a plethora of other sites to buy tickets and check show times… such as Fandango. I predict in a couple of years when Google spiders Flash sites better by allowing Full Flash site builders to include a special text file on the server or whatever you’ll take a different stance. These sites are some of the most creative and engaging pieces on the internet. The only usability standard should be that the site is used and I bet all of the above websites are used to their full potential as opposed to the flat and boring graphic rich other sites… So in essence… they are more usable.

  46. 60

    First you post that Flash is going to dissapear… and now yo write a post with 99% of Flash Sites for nomination to the Oscar…

    smell like… contradiction… isnt it?

    • 61

      Ya, why even mention Flash in the first place? Seemed like it had nothing to do with the over-all theme of this post. Great nominations however :)

  47. 62

    I don’t care who’s the Winner or the Nominee, I just love the editor’s creativity to present its content/article. Well done SM (Julia May)!.

  48. 63

    A nice selection of different styles. However while clicking through the mentioned websites I was amazed how few websites are offering at least some content if Flash is not available. Clearly, Flash is well suited to create such movie websites as a lot of its drawbacks are no concern and developers can get “crazy” with graphics for such ad pages.
    I would have assumed that more publishers are spending time creating some sort of fallback solutions to target the non-Flash users. Sadly, I was wrong. A fallback would neither be time consuming to create nor be technologically challenging and would serve some more users – say, potential customers. Background information about the movies’ stories would be nice for example as the trailers are already known from TV (assuming you watch it if you go to cinema).
    This leaves two groups completely untargeted. One doesn’t have Flash, the other does only have a slow internet connection. Personally, I can’t use Flash because it always crashes my browser and because Adobe doesn’t fix some critical bugs (see their bug tracker) for years – perhaps people like me are too rare to be served. Then, I don’t know what internet connection is available to you. I can only tell about the situation in Germany, Italy and the UK and have to say that it is only safe to assume that 4kB/s are available. This doesn’t reflect the political saying (or the public view of the telecommunication providers) but reflects the experience of most persons in rural areas. Together they make up a big enough target group that I doubt ignoring them pays off.
    Hope I could give some points to think about.

  49. 64

    I read everyone’s comments and I think everybody who made ridiculous comments is totally missing the point! Should website developpers be recognized for the hard work they put into promoting a movie that gets nominated for an award? Ah YES! DUH!

  50. 65

    WOW those are cool. I can’t believe it a Inglorious B used brush script in that one pic
    and it looks good. I normally hate brush script cause it gets overused and used in wrong
    contexts, but that actually looks great. wow.

  51. 66

    Flash developers are sounding like apple fanboys already. Over anal-yzing the article just to point that the article is anti-flash and then defend flash like a “me against the world” type of defense. geeez. And I thought a lot of web developers/designers are open minded.

  52. 67

    The idea is interesting, the writing not very nice thou!.
    It just keep on ranting about Flash… I could not finish reading…

    I used to enjoy reading SM… but its quite obvious they are into politics now.

    I do miss the great articles from on style, typography and the real showcases… but now… bah… not many reasons to visit this site….

  53. 68

    I enjoy this post … great!

  54. 69

    Damn Good take on the web design awards… This will inspire to form such awards in near future…

  55. 70

    Wow….Wow…..nice collection….

    sucking the brain.



  56. 71

    nice collection….

  57. 72

    its mind blowing collection…

  58. 73

    Great and really entertaining article!

    I think it’s about time the Academy extends its repertoire! They award soundtracks, screenplays and costumes, they should begin recognizing websites too! After all, they’re part of the movie’s entire package.

  59. 74

    I miss olds movie websites with pure experiment as teasing : http://www.donniedarkofilm.com/

  60. 75

    Yet another list? Oh come on, anyone could just look at a bunch of movie sites if that is what they were into designing, flash or not. Not at all practical because most people are not making movie sites!

    Another crappy Smashing article

  61. 76

    really amazing post

  62. 77

    you did not mentioned Marry and Max


  63. 78

    Cant view these sites on my ipad.

    • 79

      Ipad welcomes you to the dreamy version of internet for most SM commenters — Internet without Flash! =)

  64. 80

    Amaaaazzzzzing Designs! I am loving it. Scrolled for 15 times to check every thumb in detail.
    Thanks for this wonderful list :) Looking for more such inspiring lists. Cheers!

  65. 81

    I would agree that flash is overused, but what is your deal. Currently I can’t do the advanced interactive motion graphics site with any other tool on the web that has the penetration that flash does. I would love to have and learn a new tool that would do the job better than flash but until you show it to me, stop with the flash sucks campaign. It has it’s place, and full browser interactive graphics can’t be done as impressively with any other tool right now and HTML 5 is not yet a standard with a lot of issues still surrounding it. JavaScript is still too slow to render complex animations.

  66. 82

    Nice compilation. I just love this :)

  67. 83

    If the whole point of this article was to showcase “cool” movie websites and shine some light on the people who made them, why didn’t you put in some extra effort and credit the studios and agencies? Makes the whole thing a bit of a moot point imho…

  68. 84

    Great showcases and nominations. Flash do have it benefits and capability.

  69. 85

    Kudos to Halo Media LLC for being nominated for three designs!
    “Broken Embraces,” “Moon,” and “Please Give”

  70. 86

    Great nominations! Do anyone know how much the budget would be for making typical websites like this?

  71. 87

    Christopher Anderton

    April 15, 2010 5:01 pm

    Jeez.. Can people read? She is NOT against Flash. How can she be when she is working with Flash for a living?

    Anyway. I don’t know about you, but when i’m intressed in a movie i want to:

    1. See movie trailers
    2. Read about the plot

    Is the official movie sites the first place i go to? Hell no. They are to cluttred, to heavy and it’s hard to get that information you want. If i want to play games, i don’t look at a movie promo website.

    So. Here is how I do.
    1. See movie trailers (Youtube or Apple.com)
    2. Wikipedia (mostly got more relevant information about the movie) or IMDB.

    • 88

      Yes people can read but obviously you can’t if you didn’t feel the vibe.

      I don’t understand why SM wants to rip community apart with all these flash mockings. I regret deeply that I bought your book to support this nonsense.

  72. 89

    As a designer who hails from print and has only recently started training for the web, I have no bias for or against flash. Not yet, anyway. :P However, I’d have to say that I can definitely feel the anti-Flash vibe in this article. As mentioned in the previous comments, it has something to do with the author’s choice of words, especially at the beginning.

    Now I don’t particularly mind that; lack of objectivity doesn’t bother me as much as professing it and then failing to achieve it. I know we all have our favorite tools, and that it’s really up to me, the reader, to do enough research and make up my own mind about which tool to use for what purpose. This is just to tell you, dear Smashing staff, that saying she works with Flash for a living doesn’t really dispel this negative vibe. (You *can* hate your job, after all). You can acknowledge that, and clarify your language for future articles. Just sayin’. :)

    Also, as Tom Muller above noted, it would have been better if the author also mentioned the people who were behind these beautiful websites. Perhaps even a link to a blog post where they describe the process in detail? Being thorough is always good, even and *especially* in this blogging climate where compilation-type entries are a dime a dozen.

    Thank you for this post! I don’t usually comment but hey, I really enjoyed this and the discussions so far.

  73. 90

    I rarely comment but this is an excellent, original article! Would love to see more like it! :)

  74. 91

    Its really a nice topic to share with and the collections are fantastic alongwith their mode of representation.


  75. 92

    WoW. Felicidades. La vdd el Post es lo Mejor. Ovbiamente vaz a mis Favoritos

    Congratulations. Really this Post, is the Best. Obviously i add to my fav web site.

  76. 93

    great list.. i’d very like inglorious basterds’s website :)

  77. 94

    Hey…its quite interesting to read…Awesome article ..Thanks

  78. 95

    Thanks! I haven’t even heard of half of these movies in Australia! Now I have some watching to do

  79. 96

    Movie Websites have always been a source of inspiration for me. This list is great, thanks for posting it!

  80. 97

    Awesome list.

    I’d love to see another list by Smashing which shows awesome looking and interactive Games websites (i.e. the Diablo 3 website).

  81. 98

    This article is a joke.

  82. 99

    “Most modern movie websites are built in Flash, even when it’s totally unjustified.”

    A movie website should be able to reach everybody, and the ubiquitous nature of Flash makes it so that every single user gets the same experience. That means even if your stuck at work on IE6 you get to see the same thing as someone using the latest version of Firefox. It is that ubiquity that is important. The sites are entertaining and interactive and that comes through due to Flash.

    What you fail to understand is that these sites go through extensive revisions. They all begin with a small ‘Teaser’ site when the artwork is first released and they grow until the release day of the film, sometime even after that too depending on the success of the film. If I recall correctly the Transformers 2 site had gone through 9 version by the time it hit the cinemas. The amount of work/budget required to make that happen outside of Flash ensuring that even IE6 users get the same experience as everyone else through 9 version would be crazy and would result in everyone getting a lack-luster experience.

    The movie industry is not biased…I wish I could say the same for SmashingMagazine!

  83. 100

    Awesome Collection

  84. 101

    It is really very cool idea!!!

  85. 102

    +1 that felt the anti flash vibe…

    You should definitly have started the article with “Flash is STILL the best tool to make those websites”..

    As much as love Apple products, they really managed to hurt Flash perception for a lot of people, sure, you should’t use it to make a basic website for a consulting agency or a news website, but a website for a movie or a video game it’s bigger than that, it’s part of an advertzing campaign, it should always provide the best experience possible to the user. Honestly I don’t recall a single person refering me to a movie website to check on the trailer, photos or the basic sinopsys, instead, they remember it for having a really cool game or a really nice teaser campaign or how crazy and waky the navigation was, if you just want a sinopsys you have imdb, youtube or the trailers.. People get their movies info from a lot of different places that should infact have standards and usability in mind, now this kind of websites are not visited frequently probably you will visit it once or twice so most of movies websites try to deliver an unique experience that ties to the movie, and for that Flash is STILL the best tool.

    And since all the movies info come a lot of diferent places, the movie industry can keep their flash websites because people will still get their info on the iPad, if they really need to comunicate a kind of flash content, they’ll just need to make an app, so Flash can still have a nice life along with html5 and javascript.

    I deeply apolagize for my english, I’m not native.

    Just my 2 cents
    Nice collection indeed

  86. 103

    Deepak Kaletha

    May 4, 2010 7:11 pm

    inspiring article

  87. 104

    Movie websites are part of bigger online advertising campaigns. Their purpose is promotional and not utilitarian. The biggest challenge is to deliver the EPK (electronic press kit) of a movie to the viewer in a way that mirrors the feel and content matter of the actual movie. Most of the content is multimedia (trailer, image gallery, tv spots, movie soundtrack). A lot of times, the content might also be experiential. There are people out there that think that building websites should be systematic. I think that this is the best and ONLY approach for building websites with a strong utilitarian purpose such as a news website. Building experiences online however is an artistic endeavor not a technological endeavor or should I say a merging of the two. And while running the risk of bruising a few egos here, it takes a special kind of designer and a special kind of developer/animator to pull these sites off.

    I’ve done many movie sites and now work on very large web implementation for big corporate clients as well as online advertising campaigns. I won’t tip in too much on the flash vs html controversy. I will just say that a website is a very broad and completely outdated term for something that lives under a URL. You have to understand it’s purpose; is it a tool? Is it an application?

    With rich media and social media being all the rage these days, the microsite constitutes a much smaller portion of the overall online campaigns. It’s nice to see an article that showcases some of this work.

    Good article. Compelling work will always spawn even greater debate.

  88. 105

    this is awesome .thanks for sharing Julia!

  89. 106

    Thanks for your comment, but I’m afraid you got my point wrong. I have been working for a flash website provider for quite a long time (see the author info), so “Flash is the Antichrist” is definitely not the message of my post. In most cases Flash is the best solution for building a movie website, but on the websites of Invictus, The Hurt Locker, Lbs. and many other sites that were not included in this showcase, I don’t see any single reason to use Flash for the entire website. “completely over the top with animation, full screen video and a fluid experience” – can you tell this about the aforesaid websites? Exactly. I would say it’s like a bicycle pimped with a jet engine.

  90. 107

    I agree with you dudefeller, I took away the same vibe from this article whether the author meant to or not.

  91. 108

    @ Dudefella

    Totally agree with you on this point. As a full time flash developer in Sydney, we are bombarded with Flash work, whether its microsites or full websites, and sure there are some instances where flash isn’t a great idea eg. a shopping cart but for most cases it delivers a rich, interactive experience that HTML cant provide.

    Not only that, its also much quicker to develop in, and also looks the same across all browsers.

    So i totally agree when you suggest there’s an underlying message of “flash is the antichrist” in this example, and frankly its not the first time this particular site has done it either http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/04/12/the-gradual-disappearance-of-flash-websites/

    strangely enough though, these articles are usually written by people that haven’t collected all the facts before writing them.

    Flash has been around for a decade now and its still the number one platform for delivering a rich media experience, and i don’t see it lying down any time soon.

    Definitely when clients are the ones demanding flash.

  92. 109

    I apologise if I have misinterpreted your article, but to me it does feel like there is an underlying anti-Flash message, whether intentional or not.

    I just feel that saying Flash is not justified for these types of websites is incorrect. In the right hands Flash is capable of producing a web experience that no other solution can.

  93. 110

    I like the fact that even though you work with flash, you are being honest about the websites that use flash for no reason… I saw Lbs site and I got your point! Nice article…

  94. 111

    When I was browsing the articles, I honestly thought that this article was a “Flash antichrist” because of the way the intro was written:

    “Most modern movie websites are built in Flash, even when it’s totally unjustified. The websites often lack usability standards and require users to click through splash pages and introductions in order to access content. ”

    The choice of words used gave it an anti-Flash message.

    Anyhow, I like the movies sites featured in this article. It’s totally reasonable to use flash for movie websites to showcase what the movie has to offer.

    Just because Apple hates Flash, web designers and developers should hate ‘em too! That’s a big No-No!

  95. 112

    Sorry to say this, but I find Flash developers tend to be very insecure and overly-defensive in the community. I don’t blame them, though, because they’ve taken a lot of flak over the years, indirectly and directly.

    If you like Flash, then be confident about it, and talk about it positively. Who cares what others say, if you feel that strongly about it.

    But I think it’s a little ridiculous to think that an article showcasing Flash sites is beating on Flash, since it’s obviously doing the exact opposite (or at the very least providing a balanced look at Flash sites).

  96. 113

    At the start of the article, the author stated “Most modern movie websites are built in Flash, even when it’s totally unjustified. ” If she would have said “In most cases Flash is the best solution for building a movie website” like she apparently intended (as quoted above), it wouldn’t have been as easy to interpret her message as negative.

    Aside from that, I really enjoyed the article. Kudos!

  97. 114

    Keane, she is refering to a few websites.. I havent checked them all but if you see Lbs website you will get the point… besides she makes living out of flash so she is not a flash hater… neither am I..


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