Why is the poster of the movie "The Theory of Everything" rotated 90 degrees clockwise? In which way does this relate to the story and themes of the movie?

Publicity poster

  • 1
    To get attention, I mean outside cinema hall different kind of poster get more attention then regular ones.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 5:53
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    Yup, i think so but there can be any other reason too, so left it as a comment only.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 5:58
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    I don't mean this to be rude to Mr. Hawking... but it would be upright from his point of view, as his head normally tilts to the right. I've always thought it odd that, for a medium that is always horizontally arranged, our posters are always vertical. Doing this one the way they did also allowed them to use a still from the film. I don't know if that's the reason but...
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 7:43
  • 3
    @Catija ... I would doubt that's the reason. Remember, the brain will adjust itself after a period of time so the image will appear upright like you and I see it (I hope you see it this way). For instance, have you ever hung upside down for a period of time? After a while, your mind makes the adjustment and things don't "seem" upside down anymore. I'm sure Mr. Hawking doesn't notice it anymore. Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 12:17
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    You'd have to ask the designer of the poster this question. And even then, this is likely a graphic design question more so than movies and TV.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 15:10

3 Answers 3


I haven't found any solid reasons from the designers or people who worked on the film, but here are a couple theories that fit my thoughts as well:

I love that the movie poster is turned sideways, just like Stephen Hawking has done to various theories of physics and science.

Not only did he turn scientific theories on their sides, he also turned all expectations for his life and life expectancy on their sides. Remember when the doctor said "I'm afraid average life expectancy is two years."? He's still here 50 years later.


To add to the slow-paced marketing for this title, which is the right way to do it, we’ve got a new poster that flips proceedings on their side and reflects the changes in circumstances to come.


As a true cross-continental hero, the Hawking biopic is sure to have fans on both sides of the pond.

As a result, you have to remember that the standard movie poster setup in Europe is landscape (though they certainly have plenty of portrait posters as well):

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Whereas the standard movie poster setup in the US is portrait:

enter image description here

This poster can be used simultaneously in both locale's with a near-identical effect; that the film is about a man who turned the world on its side with his brilliant mind and his ability to overcome a debilitating disease.

So, I would say that it was a wonderful artistic view that also solves a production/distribution challenge.

  • 4
    Never seen landscape posters in my part of Europe, though. But interesting answer still.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 13:27
  • I have seen both type of poster here.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 12:18
  • If the poster was intended to be landscape, then it would be a failure since the text would be unreadable.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 8:18

Jane is helping Stephen to stand up

Please note that Stephen Hawking is (on this perspective) down: while he is in fact standing on the ground, he looks like he is lying on his back. What's more, he looks quite helpless: please take note at his arms- they are close to his body as if he had no strength to lift them up. On the other side Jane is above, her arms outstretched, reaching out to her husband as if trying to help him to get up.

This represents the role that Hawking's wife was playing in the movie: helping him to - mentally and physically- to "stand up" and face the life in face of the crippling sickness.

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