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  • Writer's pictureColby Brown

The Faded Glory of Michigan's Megamind Billboard

2024 image of a billboard advertising the 2010 animated comedy Megamind
Image Source: The Detroit News

The great state of Michigan has once again lost a long-standing icon. For over a decade, visitors to the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets mall in Auburn Hills, Detroit, have been greeted by a peculiar site; a weathered poster advertising DreamWorks’ 2010 classic Megamind. However, like all good things, the poster’s rule has come to an end.

The AMC Star Great Lakes theater in Detroit has 4 movie posters surrounding its exterior. While 3 out of the 4 usually have the expected contemporary film advertisements, the 4th slot has been taken up by a movie long past its theatrical run. Megamind, starring Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill, was released in late 2010 to rave reviews and a cult following that, to this day, passionately defends the film from comparisons to that year’s slightly similar Despicable Me.

2021 picture showing a Detroit billboard advertising the 2010 film Megamind.
Image Credit: u/eelmor1138 on Reddit

The exact history of the poster is hard to verify. After Megamind’s theatrical run ended 13 years ago, the blue super villain’s face most likely spent the rest of the 2010’s covered up by more relevant releases; a common practice in the world of billboards. However, after the pandemic hit movie theaters like a Mike Tyson uppercut, the operators of the AMC location never bothered to fully replace it. As early as 2021, users on Reddit and TikTok quickly began to take notice of an anomaly the size of Megamind’s forehead.

Once life resumed to normal, the billboard quickly became an internet sensation. In a viral TikTok video posted last October, a man by the name of Adam Zill proclaims, “If anyone goes to the IMAX theater at Great Lakes Crossing in Michigan, you know the sacred sign… they never change this [billboard], because it's fucking art and they know not to disrespect it.” As observed by The Detroit News, many commentators from Auburn Hills shared Zill’s admiration for the Megamind billboard as an icon.

2024 picture showing an advertisement for Kung Fu Panda 4, covering up a Megamind billboard from 2010.
Image Credit: Danny the Man Parker on YouTube

But sadly, just like the once iconic Chrysler brand from motor city, Will Ferrell’s superhero comedy has fallen by the wayside. After offering a celebratory $5 screening of Megamind on February 3rd and 4th, AMC Star Great Lakes covered up the poster with DreamWorks’ latest big screen offering, Kung Fu Panda 4. Naturally, the story of this strange occurrence should end here; a funny oddity to be fondly remembered by Michigan citizens and the internet alike. But that’s not how things rest in the modern world.

Screenshot from the trailer for Megamind vs. The Doom Syndicate
Image Credit: NBCUniversal/Peacock

At around the exact time the Megamind AMC poster’s removal made buzz online, DreamWorks released a trailer for an all new Megamind movie and TV series headed straight to parent company NBCUniversal’s streaming app Peacock. Fans of the 2010 animated flick aren’t thrilled with what’s been teased, to say the least. Comments across Reddit and YouTube lament the trailer, which begins with footage from the nearly 14-year-old original movie, as being cheap, stiff and disappointing. u/Mysterious_Emotion63 compared Megamind vs. The Doom Syndicate’s animation to that of “...a PS2 cutscene…”, while many others expressed sadness at an obvious lack of the original film’s voice talent on an r/movies post that has 0 upvotes and 63 comments. A post with over 2,000 upvotes on r/TopCharacterDesigns expressed a feeling of uncanniness with the titular character’s look in the new movie compared to the original.

Reddit comments expressing disappointment at the trailer for an upcoming Megamind sequel.
Megamind fans aren't pleased with the new trailer

Perhaps the removal of Michigan’s Megamind billboard and backlash to the new series coinciding serves as a metaphor for our modern culture. The Detroit News makes highlight of Megamind’s relative lack of “cultural impact” frequently in their coverage of the billboard story. Perhaps that “lack of cultural impact” isn’t as much of a lack as it is a gain. The backlash to the new movie is yet another example of fans massively preferring their beloved properties to remain untouched from where they were built, much like the weathered poster advertising the David Cross and Ben Stiller starring 2010 feature. One might see the poster’s coverup as a sign of natural progress followed after necessary acknowledgement of past fondness, and the new series as yet another unneeded bastardization of nostalgia. While the lights and spectacle of Will Ferrell as a blue supervillain may long be replaced, in the hearts of millions, the Megamind billboard still stands strong.


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