A film poster is a poster used to promote and advertise a film.
Studios often print several posters that vary in size and content for
various domestic and international markets. They normally contain an
image with text. Today's posters often feature photographs of the main
actors. Prior to the 1990s, illustrations instead of photos were far
more common. The text on film posters usually contains the film title
in large lettering and often the names of the main actors. It may also
include a tagline, the name of the director, names of characters, the
release date, etc.
1 History 2 Collecting 3 Types
3.1 Lobby cards 3.2 Teaser poster 3.3 Character posters
4.1 United States 4.2 United Kingdom 4.3 Australia 4.4 Ghana
5 Billing block 6 Notable film poster artists 7 Awards 8 See also 9 References 10 External links
The world's first film poster, for 1895's L'Arroseur arrosé, by the Lumière brothers
Originally, film posters were produced for the exclusive use by the theaters exhibiting the film the poster was created for, and were required to be returned to the distributor after the film left the theater. In the United States, film posters were usually returned to a nationwide operation called the National Screen Service (NSS) which printed and distributed most of the film posters for the studios between 1940 and 1984. As an economy measure, the NSS regularly recycled posters that were returned, sending them back out to be used again at another theater. During this time, a film could stay in circulation for several years, and so many old film posters were badly worn before being retired into storage at an NSS warehouse (most often, they were thrown away when they were no longer needed or had become too worn to be used again). Those posters which were not returned were often thrown away by the theater owner, but some found their way into the hands of collectors. Beginning in the 1980s, the American film studios began taking over direct production and distribution of their posters from the National Screen Service and the process of making and distributing film posters became decentralized in that country. Collecting
The Battleship Potemkin, 1925
National Screen Service ceased most of its printing and
distribution operations in 1985, some of the posters which they had
stored in warehouses around the
Dracula Style F one sheet
Occasionally, rare film posters have been found being used as
insulation in attics and walls. In 2011, 33 film posters, including a
Dracula Style F one-sheet (shown right), from 1930-1931 were
discovered in an attic in Berwick, Pennsylvania and auctioned for
$502,000 in March 2012 by Heritage Auctions.
Over the years, old
Lobby card for Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921), starring Mary Pickford
Lobby cards are similar to posters but smaller, usually 11 in
× 14 in (28 cm × 36 cm), also 8 in
× 10 in (20 cm × 25 cm) before 1930. Lobby
cards are collectible and values depend on their age, quality, and
popularity. Typically issued in sets of eight, each featuring a
different scene from the film. In unusual circumstances, some releases
were promoted with larger (12 cards) or smaller sets (6 cards). The
set for The Running Man (1963), for example, had only six cards,
whereas the set for
The Italian Job
Bearing only a symbol associated with the film, or simply just the title. A main character, looking away from the screen but looking at something in the distance.
For a film with an ensemble cast there may be a set of character
posters, each featuring an individual character from the film. Usually
it contains the name of the actor or the name of the character played.
It may also include a tagline that reflects the quality of the
One sheet, 27 inches by 40 inches (686x1020mm), portrait format Bus stop or subway poster, 40 inches by 60 inches (1016mm x 1524mm), portrait format
The following sizes were in common use in the
One sheet, 27 inches by 41 inches (686x1040mm), portrait format (this size is one inch longer than the modern One sheet) Display (aka Half-sheet), 22 inches by 28 inches (559x711mm), landscape format Insert, size 14 inches by 36 inches (356x914mm), portrait format Window Card, 14 inches by 22 inches (356x559mm), portrait format; typically has blank space at top to accommodate promotional text for local theatre Two sheet, 41 inches by 54 inches (1040x1370mm), either landscape format or portrait format Three sheet, 41 inches by 81 inches (1040x2060mm), portrait format; usually assembled from two separate pieces 30x40, 30 inches by 40 inches (762x1016mm), portrait format 40x60, 40 inches by 60 inches (1016x1524mm), portrait format Six sheet, 81 inches by 81 inches (2060x2060mm), a square format; usually assembled from four separate pieces Twenty four sheet, 246 inches by 108 inches (6250x2740mm), landscape format often called a billboard
The Kiss of Death by D.A. Jasper (ca. 1991), Ghanaian one-bag size poster, oil paint on flour sack
Quad (a.k.a quad crown), size 30 inches by 40 inches (762x1020mm), landscape format Double crown, size 20 inches by 30 inches (508x762mm), portrait format One-sheet, size 27 inches by 40 inches (686x1020mm), portrait format Three sheet, size 40 inches by 81 inches (1020x2060mm), portrait format
Daybill, size 13 inches by 30 inches (330x762mm), portrait format (before the 1960s, Daybills were 36 inches long) One sheet, size 27 inches by 40 inches (685.8x1016mm), portrait format
One-bag (locally woven flour sack, cotton canvas), size approx. 46 inches by 34 inches, portrait format Two-bag (locally woven flour sacks, cotton canvas, stacked horizontally and sewn together), size approx. 75 inches by 44 inches, portrait format
Main article: Billing (filmmaking)
The "billing block" is the list of names that adorn the bottom portion
of the official poster (or 'one sheet', as it is called in the movie
industry) of the movie". A billing block can be seen at the bottom
of Reynold Brown's poster from
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Normally, the artist is not identified on the film poster and, in many cases, the artist is anonymous. However, several artists have become well-known because of their outstanding illustrations on film posters. Some artists, such as Drew Struzan, often sign their poster artwork and the signature is included on distributed posters.
Examples: Blade Runner, The Lion King, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Examples: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Sting
Examples: Vertigo, The Shining, Love in the Afternoon
Examples: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Creature from the Black Lagoon,
The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Time Machine
Examples: Conan the Barbarian, Never Say Never Again, Opera, Ghost
Chase, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
Examples: Von Ryan's Express, Zulu Dawn, The Land That Time Forgot
Examples: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Viva Max!, Kelly's Heroes
Examples: What's New Pussycat?
Examples: Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, For Your Eyes Only
Examples: The 400 Blows
Examples: The Sunshine Boys, Noises Off
Examples: Dr. No, The Sand Pebbles, El Dorado
The Brothers Hildebrandt
Awards The annual Key Art Awards, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter, include awards for best film poster in the categories of comedy, drama, action adventure, teaser, and international film. The Hollywood Reporter defines the term "key art" as "the singular, iconographic image that is the foundation upon which a movie's marketing campaign is built." In 2006, the original poster for The Silence of the Lambs was named best film poster "of the past 35 years". See also
List of film memorabilia
^ Ettorre, Barbara (1991-01-11). "Entertainment Weekly Article".
^ "eMoviePoster.com Hollywood Posters I Auction".
^ a b "Lang movie poster fetches record". BBC News. 15 November 2005.
Retrieved 11 January 2009.
^ Andrew Pulver (14 March 2012). "The 10 most expensive film posters
– in pictures". The Guardian.
^ "Collecting Stories".
^ "Collectors can make good money with old
External links Media related to Movie posters at Wikimedia Commons