Movie poster

film poster is a poster used to promote and advertise a film . Studios often print several posters and vary in size and content for various domestic and international markets. They normally contain an image with text. Today’s posters feature feature photographs of the main actors. Prior to the 1990s, illustrations instead of photos were far more common. The text on film is usually present in the film title in large letters and the names of the main actors. It may also include a tagline , the name of the director, names of characters, the release date, etc.

Film posters are displayed inside and outside the movie theaters , and elsewhere on the street or in shops. The same images appear in the film exhibitor’s pressbook and may also be used on websites, DVDs (and historically VHS) packaging, flyers, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, etc.

Film posters have been used since the earliest public exhibitions of film. They introduced the program to the program of (short) films to be shown inside the hall or movie theater. By the early 1900s, They Began to feature illustrations of a movie szene year gold overlaid array of pictures from Several scenes. Other posters have used artistic interpretations of a scene or even the theme of the film, represented in a wide variety of artistic styles.


Originally, film posters were produced for the exhibition of the film by the film poster. 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 for the studios between 1940 and 1984. As an economy measure, the NSS has been returned to the world. During this time, a film could have been in circulation for several years, and so many old movie posters were badly worn before being released into storage at an NSS warehouse (most often they were thrown away when they were no longer needed worn to be used again). Those posters were often returned by the theater owner, but some found their way into the hands of collectors. quote needed ]

Beginning in the 1980s, the American film studios began with 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. quote needed ]


After the National Screen Service, most of its printing and distribution operations in 1985, the United States ended up in the hands of private collectors and dealers. Today there is a thriving collectibles market in film posters; some have become very valuable. The first auction by a major auction house only of film posters occurred on December 11, 1990, when the Bruce Hershenson at Christie’s totaled US $ 935,000. [1] [2] The record for a single poster was set on November 15, 2005 when $ 690,000 was paid for a poster of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolisfrom the Reel Poster Gallery in London. [3] Other early horror and science fiction posters, with an example from The Mummy realizing $ 452,000 in a 1997 Sotheby’s Auction, [3]and Bride of Frankenstein and The Black Cat selling for $ 334,600 in Heritage auctions, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. [4]

Occasionally, rare film posters have been found to be 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 Berwick, Pennsylvania and auctioned for $ 502,000 in March 2012 by Heritage Auctions. [5]

Over the years, old Bollywood posters, especially with hand-painted art, have become collectors items. [6] [7] [8]

As a result of market demand, some of the most popular older movie posters have been reproduced either under license or illegally. Although the artwork on reproductions is the same as originals, reproductions can be distinguished by size, printing quality and paper type. Several websites on the Internet offer “authentication” tests to distinguish originals from reproductions.

Original film posters distributed to theaters and other poster comings (such as bus stops) by the movie studios are never sold directly to the public. However, most of the products are produced in large quantities and often become available for purchase by collectors through various secondary markets such as eBay. Accordingly, most modern posters are not as valuable. However, some recent posters, such as the Pulp Fiction ” Lucky Strike ” US one sheet poster, are quite rare. [9]


Lobby cards

Lobby cards are similar to smaller posters, usually 11 in × 14 in, 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 smaller (12 cards) or smaller sets (6 cards). The set for The Running Man (1963), for example, had only six cards, the set for the Italian Job (1969) had twelve. Films released by major production companies experiencing financial difficulties often lacked lobby sets, such as Manhunter (1986).

A Jumbo Lobby Card is larger, 14 in x 17 in (36 cm x 45 cm) and also issued in sets. Prior to 1940 studios promoted major releases with the larger card sets. In addition to the larger size, the paper is better (glossy or linen). A jumbo lobby card set does not contain a title card why? ] . citation needed ] The title card shows the movie title and stars prominently. [10]

In the United Kingdom, the front of house cards are known. These cameras, however, also refer to black-and-white photographs, in addition to the more typical 8 × 10 inch promotional devices resembling lobby cards.

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University holds a collection of silent Western movies that date between 1910 and 1930. [11]

Teaser poster

teaser poster or advance poster is an early promotional film poster, containing a basic image or design without revealing too much information as the plot, theme, and characters. The purpose is to incite awareness and generate hype for the film. A tagline may be included. There are some instances when teasers are issued long before the film goes into production, but they are issued during the film development. Notable styles for teaser poster include:

  • Bearing only a symbol associated with the film, or just the title.
  • A hand character, looking away from the screen.

Character posters

For a movie with an ensemble cast there may be a set of character posters , each featuring an individual character from the movie. Usually it contains the name of the actor or the name of the character played. It can also include a tagline that reflects the quality of the character.


Film posters come in different sizes and styles depending on the country. The most common are listed below. [12]

United States

  • One sheet , 27 inches by 40 inches (686x1020mm), portrait format
  • Bus stop gold subway poster, 40 inches by 60 inches (1016mm x 1524mm), portrait format

The following sizes were in common use in the United States prior to mid-1980s, but have been phased out of production: citation needed ]

  • One sheet, 27 inches by 41 inches (686x1040mm), portrait size (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 a room for the local theater
  • Two sheet, 41 inches by 54 inches (1040x1370mm), or landscape format or portrait format
  • Three sheet, 41 inches by 81 inches (1040x2060mm), portrait format; usually assembled from two separate pieces
  • 30×40, 30 inches by 40 inches (762x1016mm), portrait format [13]
  • 40×60, 40 inches by 60 inches (1016x1524mm), portrait format [14]
  • Six sheet, 81 inches by 81 inches (2060x2060mm), has square format; assembled from four separate pieces
  • Twenty four sheet, 246 inches by 108 inches (6250x2740mm), landscape format often called a billboard

United Kingdom

  • Quad (aka 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 [15]
  • Two-bag (locally woven flour sacks, cotton canvas, stacked horizontal and sewn together), size approx. 75 inches by 44 inches, portrait format [16]

Billing block

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”. [17] A billing block can be seen at the bottom of Reynold Brown’s poster from Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), which is reproduced below. In the layout of a movie, the billing block is usually set in a highly condensed typeface (one in which the height of the characters is several times the width). [18] By convention, the size of the billing block is 25 or 35 percent of the average height of each letter in the title logo. [19]Inclusion in the credits and the billing block is a matter of detailed contracts between the artists and the producer. A condensed typeface permitting horizontal space

Notable movie poster artists

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.

John Alvin
Examples: Blade Runner , The Lion King , AND the Extra-Terrestrial
Richard Amsel
Examples: Raiders of the Lost Ark , The Sting
Saul Bass
Examples: Vertigo , The Shining , Love in the Afternoon
Reynold Brown
Examples: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman , Creature from the Black Lagoon , The Incredible Shrinking Man , The Time Machine
Renato Casaro
Examples: Conan the Barbarian , Never Say Never Again , Opera , Ghost Chase , NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
Tom Chantrell
Examples: Von Ryan’s Express , Zulu Dawn , The Land That Time Forgot
Jack Davis
Examples: It’s Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World , Viva Max! Kelly’s Heroes
Frank Frazetta
Examples: What’s New Pussycat?
Bill Gold
Examples: Casablanca , Clockwork Orange , For Your Eyes Only
Boris Grinsson
Examples: The 400 Blows
Al Hirschfeld
Examples: The Sunshine Boys , Noises Off
Mitchell Hooks
Examples: Dr. No , The Sand Pebbles , El Dorado
The Brothers Hildebrandt
Examples: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (“Style B” re-release), [20] Barbarella (1979 re-release)
Tom Jung
Examples: Star Wars (Style A), The Empire Strikes Back (Style B), Butterfly , The Lord of the Rings , Gone With The Wind (re-release)
Burt Kleeger
Examples: Interiors , Manhattan , The Purple Rose of Cairo , Shadows and Fog
Death Künstler
Examples: The Poseidon Adventure , Taking The Pelham One Two Three (1974), The Hindenburg
Frank McCarthy [21]
Examples: The Ten Commandments , The Train , The Dirty Dozen , Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Robert McGinnis [22]
Examples: Casino Royale (1967), Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Bob Peak
Examples: Our Man Flint , Camelot , The Apocalypse Now , The Spy Who Loved Me , Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Sam Peffer
Examples: Gordon Flesh , SS Experiment Camp , Hussy
Enzo Sciotti
Examples: The Beyond , Phenomena Demons Girlfriend from Hell The Blood of Heroes
John Solie
Examples: Shaft’s Big Score , Capone [23]
Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg
Examples: Man with a Movie Camera
Drew Struzan
Examples: Star Wars , ET: The Extra-Terrestrial , Indiana Jones , Back to the Future , The Thing (1982), Jurassic Park , Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Howard Terpning
Examples: The Guns of Navarone , Cleopatra , The Sound of Music
Boris Vallejo
Examples: National Lampoon’s Vacation , Q , Barbarella , Teen Aqua Force Hunger Colon Film Movie for Theaters


The annual Key Art Awards , The Hollywood Reporter , include awards for best 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 is marketing campaign is built.” citation needed ] In 2006, the original poster for The Silence of the Lambs was named best movie poster “of the past 35 years”. quote needed ]

See also

  • List of film memorabilia


  1. Jump up^ Ettorre, Barbara (1991-01-11). “Entertainment Weekly Article” .
  2. Jump up^ “ Hollywood Posters I Auction” .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “Lang movie poster fetches record” . BBC News. November 15, 2005 . Retrieved 11 January 2009 .
  4. Jump up^ Andrew Pulver (14 March 2012). “The 10 most expensive movie posters – in pictures” . The Guardian .
  5. Jump up^ “Collecting Stories” .
  6. Jump up^ “Collectors can make good money with old Bollywood posters” . Economic Times. Dec 18, 2011 . Retrieved 2013-08-20 .
  7. Jump up^ “100 Years of Indian Cinema: Top 50 Hand-Painted Bollywood Posters” . CNN-IBN. May 3, 2013 . Retrieved 2013-08-20 .
  8. Jump up^ Jerry Pinto ; Sheena Sippy (2008). Bollywood Posters . Thames & Hudson. ISBN  978-0-500-28776-7 . Retrieved 20 August 2013 .
  9. Jump up^ Rosie Murray-West (5 December 2014). “Investing in movie posters: which made the most money?” . The Daily Telegraph .
  10. Jump up^ “Movie Poster Guide Size – Heritage Auctions” . Heritage Auctions . August 30, 2016 . Retrieved 2016-08-31 .
  11. Jump up^ “The Western Silent Films Lobby Cards Collection, 1910-1930”,Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library , Yale University , retrieved 2009-07-08 .
  12. Jump up^ “Glossary Sizes” . Movie Poster Art Gallery . Retrieved December 6,2007 .
  13. Jump up^ “Original Film Art” . Movie Poster Sizes .
  14. Jump up^ “40×60 Movie Poster” . . Retrieved 2017-02-19 .
  15. Jump up^ Wolfe, III, Ernie (2000). Extreme Canvas . Los Angeles: Dilettante Press. p. 94. ISBN  0966427211 .
  16. Jump up^ Wolfe, III, Ernie (2012). Extreme Canvas 2: The Golden Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana . Los Angeles, CA, USA: Kesho Press. p. 482.ISBN  978-0615545257 .
  17. Jump up^ Crabb, Kelly (2005). The Movie Business: The Definitive Guide to the Legal and Financial Secrets of Getting Your Movie Made . Simon and Schuster. p. 72. ISBN  9780743264921 .
  18. Jump up^ “Credit Where Credit is Due” . March 21, 2005 . Retrieved 2012-05-29 .
  19. Jump up^ Jaramillo, Brian (March 4, 2009). “Corey Holmes watches the Watchmen” . Lettercult . Retrieved 2012-10-04 .
  20. Jump up^ “Tim Hildebrandt –” . . Retrieved 2012-05-29 .
  21. Jump up^ “Frank McCarthy” . American Art Archives . Retrieved 2009-01-11 .
  22. Jump up^ “Robert McGinnis” . American Art Archives . Retrieved 2009-01-11 .
  23. Jump up^ “The Art of John Solie” .