Phantom phans are very familiar with the variety of posters used to promote the 1996 film starring Billy Zane. Most serious collectors would have at least one of these in their collection.
However, very few phans would be aware that, in 1996, Drew Struzan painted a number of prototypes for what might have become the official movie posters. Even the most cursory of google searches reveals why Struzan is so renowned among film poster buffs as one of the greatest exponents of the art form.
The Phantom paintings by Struzan are, in short, wonderful.
It remains unclear why Paramount Pictures chose not to use them in their promotional material but in this author's humble opinion, it's a real shame they didn't. The montage images created by Struzan look to be almost photo-quality and a beautiful representation of the film. With depictions of Zane as The Phantom, Kristy Swanson as Diana, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Kabai Sengh, Hero, Devil, the Skull Cave, Sala's Sky Band biplanes, jungle.... they certainly tell more of a story than the final posters chosen ever could.
Fortunately Dietmar Lederwasch, co-curator of The Phantom Art Show (currently touring eastern Australia) is in possession of one of the originals and is looking forward to launching it at the Newcastle leg of the Show's tour (10th June - 20th August 2017). This composition (below) will be one of the highlights of the Newcastle exhibition.
(NB Dietmar apologises for the quality of the image and promises that you won't be able to see his iPhone in the piece that will hang in the Newcastle gallery)
This composition contains many of the same elements as the two designs that Struzan features on his home page, and every one one of them really does look magnificent.
Only the most phanatic collectors will have seen this image before, as the label on a bottle of wine that Lederwasch has previously issued.
It's going to be a long wait until June next year, but it will certainly be worth it. It will be a real treat for phans to be able to see this in all its glory.
However, the revelation does also raise some questions:
How many different designs did Struzan create?
Why weren't they used?
Where are the other originals?
Were prints ever made?
How can I get a hold of one of those prints?
How fantastic would these look as one of the Pholio sets put out by Frew?