Movie poster actor clauses
The phrase equal likeness is common term and often an overriding factor in the design and creation of movie poster art. Basically equal likeness is the film advertising equivalent of a “favored nations” clause in an actor’s contract. It means that if one actor has “equal likeness” to another actor, than images of both actors must be equal in size and prominence in any movie poster art. Contract requirements can be taken further when an actor has an additional “first position” clause, which would translate to the actor’s likeness always appearing first (usually on the left side or top) in any artwork.
Take this A Few Good Men teaser poster for example. Although Tom Cruise has top billing (or at least a “first position” clause), so his name and image appears first on the left, co-star Jack Nicholson likely has an equal likeness clause with Cruise meaning his name and image appears the same size anytime Cruise is featured.
These contractual obligations can get fairly complicated in terms of layout and design, since showing one actor can trigger a requirement to show a group of other actors that have equal likeness terms in their film contract.