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Marketing Trend: Hide the Stars!

Warner Bros.

Lions and tigers -- but no Matt Damon?

20th Century Fox

Several ad campaigns for big holiday releases are choosing not to play up what is typically the selling point: the film's A-list stars. Fox's billboards for We Bought a Zoo focus on animals wrapped in ribbons, with nary a mention of Damon or co-star Scarlett Johansson. (The poster includes Damon's name but not his face.) Warner Bros. and Paramount take similar tacks with their outdoor campaigns for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Young Adult: For the most part, posters and billboards avoid displaying the faces of the films' stars -- Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in Loud and Charlize Theron in Adult. Meanwhile, Paramount has obscured Tom Cruise's mug with either a hoodie or goggles in its Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol campaign. The studios declined comment on the strategy, but it's enough to ask, why so shy all of a sudden?