Sizes & Types
Some facts and trends are found on this page about the various sizes of movie paper.
One Sheets (27x41)
One Sheets have always been the basis of movie posters, and are the only ones to have run the course from the earliest days of the medium until today's megaplexes (even having been adopted by the video industry.) Most of the older ones were folded and 27x41; from around the late 80s to date they were mostly 27x40 and rolled. Of course, there are exceptions (always noted) on both end. Many but far from all of recent years' one sheets were printed double-sided for backlight display.
We have a tremendous amount of one sheets, more than any other style of paper, so check back regularly for additions as they will be frequent.
For a great many films, mainly exploitation, only a one sheet (and usually stills) exists. After the half sizes stopped being made in the mid 80s, one sheets have been the only domestically distributed posters, except for the large banners that have become prevalent in recent years.
Advance one sheets exist on many titles, and several different styles have been made on many titles. Review and award issues, considered original release if from the original run, are also abundant.
The first double-sided one sheet that I personally know of is Biloxi Blues, from the spring of 1988. Please advise for inclusion any from earlier times.
Lenticular 3-D one sheets have proven some of the hardest to find for collectors.
Lobby Cards (11x14)
11x14 Lobby Cards were usually produced in sets of 8, though a good many were made in sets of only 4. We carry a great deal of sets, plus many, many single cards from a huge variety of films from the 1940's until the days in the 1980's when the cards stopped showing up domestically. Lobby cards are still produced for release internationally but are no longer used in the U.S.
Title Cards were produced for many movies throughout the 1920s until they largely disappeared in the 1960s. Some studios occasionally produced a title card thereafter (mainly Disney and the odd independent.)
In addition to the 4 and 8 sets, some would occasionally be released with odd numbered cards (7, 9, etc.) Disney released some of these in the 1970s.
Insert Posters (14x36")
Inserts were a popular format until the studios ceased production of them, along with virtually every other format other than one sheets, in the early to mid 1980s. As with any paper, the differences varied on a title by title basis. For any given movie, any of the formats stood the chance on being the standout piece, and with many others, especially as the years passed on, the designs were identical.
Half Sheet Posters (22x28)
The 22x28 half sheet poster is another of the many poster sizes that is no longer made today. Half sheets were produced up until around 1985, though most studios stopped them even earlier. Many titles in the 40s and 50s were available in A and B styles with varying differences - sometimes just a slight photo angle, others a drastically different design.
Fox was one of the last studios to produce half sheets; Warners and others had abandoned the format during the first couple of years of the decade.
Once the bible of film showmanship, pressbooks left us around the early 80's like most movie paper other than one sheets. Ads, articles and often colorful distribution tips were contained in most pressbooks, usually with pictures of the available posters. Pressbooks are different than presskits (see Presskits section) which are still made by studios today.
The last pressbooks as we know them were seen around 1984, but they were few and far between by then. Most studios had stopped producing them in the 1980-82 years, with the last from Warners and Universal at the early end, some Fox and Columbia through 81, and MGM/UA still cranking out small issues as late as 82.
As a general rule, the later pressbooks got, the less "extra" info they contained as television selling became more prevalent. Most from the 70s and 80s had little or no promotional ideas and tricks, while the older ones were often chock full of them.
Other features included in pressbooks varied from title to title, with the one constant being ad samples for newspaper use. Cast and credits listings were usually featured to some degree, and a synopsis, whether brief and general or detailed and plot-busting, was sometimes featured.
Pressbooks came as small as a one page, two-sided affair for low budget, lowly touted releases to deluxe jobs with 20-30 pages or more. Whatever their length or format, they can be a treasured memento for a favorite film, or valued information for one for which little else about is known.
One of the surviving forms of traditional movie paper, presskits are still produced today, sometimes containing stills, press releases and sometimes slides and other specially produced promotional items. For the last several years, however, presskits have largely ceased including stills and instead have a CD with the available photos on it.
Presskits vary widely in size, but the best are invaluable collectibles from a favorite film or personality. Trends abound in the presskit world, and collectors can notice the extravagance and frugality at various times from studio to studio. In recent years, 20th Century Fox has been the most creative, putting together some unique items for many of their releases. Many mini-majors still use generic studio folders sans title or poster art.
Another increasing trend in recent years has been the use of split-scene stills, with two or more images contained on the 8x10 sheet. While in years past the majority of the stills in a pack were full shots with a couple of split-frames, the opposite is often true today. Some, in fact, contain no full shots at all, only split scenes.
Though I have seen a few presskits from the 60s and back, the majority as we know them today seem to have come into prominence in the 1970s. Examples from that far back are rare indeed, and the more included material, the rarer still they become. Kits from the 70s and even early 80s from hotly collected stars and titles can command a pretty penny in sales and auctions.
A Word About Stills...
Stills come from a variety of sources, and there are a number of very handsome reproductions on the market that are heavily collected. We carry a few of these, but most are original, from either National Screen or studio issued presskits. The color variety usually mirrored the lobby set, though on older titles different, larger sets were made. Significantly more black and whites were produced for each title, and on many B titles of the 60s and beyond, black and white stills are the only item available other than a one sheet or pressbook.
Despite the descriptive heading of this page, some stills, especially those from older presskits, were slightly smaller than the listed dimensions, but the majority of stills that you will find are, indeed, 8x10.