This page provides information about the various sizes of vintage, original movie posters. You can also view our page that explains how movie posters are graded (their overall condition).
Lobby cards are no longer used in theaters and rarely printed for today's films. These small posters (usually 11"x14" in a horizontal format) were generally produced in sets of eight, intended for display in a theater's foyer or lobby. A lobby set typically consists of one Title Card (TC), a lobby card of special design usually depicting all key stars, listing credits and intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene; and seven Scene Cards (SC), each depicting a scene from the movie.
LOBBY CARD SET:
Complete set of lobby cards (usually eight), generally including a Title Card.
A vertical format poster, measuring 14"x22", on thicker stock paper with blank area at top for venue and playdates.
A vertical format poster, measuring 14"x36", generally on thicker stock paper.
A horizontal format poster, measuring 22"x28", generally on thicker stock paper.
Generally measuring approx. 27"x41" in a vertical format, this is the most common style of American movie poster and the familiar one still in use in theaters today. 1-sheets generally have one vertical and three horizontal folds.
A large vertical format poster, measuring 41"x81", generally produced in 2 or 3 overlapping sections.
A large poster measuring 81"x81", produced in 4 or more overlapping sections.
A small (usually 2-page) brochure advertising an upcoming movie. These little programs were distributed in the theater lobby to "herald" the upcoming attractions. Heralds are usually no larger than a small greeting card, on very thin paper stock, with artwork similar to a poster on the cover, tidbits about the movie and cast inside, and a blank area on the back where the theater could stamp its name and announce play-dates for the movie. Heralds are especially popular for films of the 1920s and 1930s for which original movie posters are non-existent or very hard to find.
A pressbook (sometimes called a Campaign Manual) is a studio-issued publication distributed to theaters containing information about marketing the film, usually including examples of most of the posters that were produced. Pressbooks can vary greatly in size and content, depending upon the movie they are designed to promote. The pressbook for a low-budget or B movie might be little more than a two- to four-page brochure, while pressbooks for bigger productions can be lavish full-color presentations containing dozens of pages of ballyhoo including detailed cast and crew information, as well as a wide variety of advertising materials such as posters, banners, lobby displays, merchandising product tie-ins and more.
The poster has been professionally mounted on linen, a reversible, archival process.
THE LETTER "R" before a year (e.g., "R-1941") Indicates that the item is from a film's reissue.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Refers to a poster from the country in which the film was originally produced. For example, a German poster for a German film. Country of Origin posters are sought after by collectors.
ADVANCE or TEASER:
A style of poster intended for display prior to a film's release. An "Advance" poster is often similar to the regular poster but with an added line of copy (e.g., "Coming This Summer"). A "Teaser" is a special type of Advance poster designed to pique interest while revealing very little information about the film. All Teasers are Advances, but not all Advance posters are Teasers.
This term has been misused and abused. In general, it refers to a poster that is produced in the U.S. for use in another market (e.g., South America, Europe, etc.). International posters often feature artwork that is different - and sometimes more risque - than that featured on the domestic poster. International posters may also carry a modified title. A perfect example is the classic Elvis flick "Viva Las Vegas", a title which roughly translates into "Bravo The Fertile Plains" in Spanish. To avoid confusion, this film was released in most foreign markets under the slightly altered title of "Love in Las Vegas". International posters are also generally absent the M.P.A.A. rating and N.S.S. stock numbers.
OTHER COMPANY MOVIE POSTERS:
Other Company refers to an independent printing company that operated from 1937 to 1940, providing an affordable alternative to Studio-issued movie posters. Other Company posters and lobby cards are noted for their use of bright, bold primary colors and the lack of Studio name. Examples of better known Other Company posters include The Adventures of Robin Hood and Angels with Dirty Faces, both of which are prized by collectors for their striking color and design. Other Company posters generally carry a disclaimer paragraph (“This advertisement was not produced by the maker or distributor of the motion picture…”). Other Company posters were primarily used for films released by Warner Bros. and United Artists.
Add'l Definitions, to be completed:
FOIL (e.g., Altered States, Matrix Reloaded).
MILITARY, MILITARY RELEASE POSTER.