Selling ''The 40-Year-Old Virgin'' -- EW analyzes the secrets of a summer movie poster

Every movie comes with its own marketing challenges. But how do you sell a comedy about a middle-aged dweeb (Steve Carell) who’s never had sex and whose biggest passion in life is his action-figure collection? Judd Apatow, co-writer-director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, hopes he’s hit the bull’s-eye with the poster for his new film (which opens Aug. 19): ”There was one initial idea with Steve’s character in a box — he was a ‘no-action’ figure. Another was based on those suggestive cigarette and liquor ads from the ’60s and ’70s, where he was in a bar and everyone around him was doing something subtly sexual. But this idea was based on a Mentos ad where they have an odd-looking person staring into space. At first, I thought, Steve isn’t that famous — I don’t know if we can get away with some guy you don’t know just sitting there. Then [Universal] showed me the poster, and it makes you laugh the second you see it. Plus, a lot of the posters this summer are very dark, so to have a big, colorful poster helps. And I don’t know who thought of the tagline, ‘Better Late Than Never,’ but it gets it all across. You look at this poster and say, ‘There’s a lot going on in that demented mind.”’

The 40 Year-Old Virgin
  • Movie
  • 113 minutes