10 May 2018 – This quick reference guide to the types of movie posters and their status as collectibles was prepared by Ed Poole, the Consulting Archivist and Chief Researcher for Movie Poster Archives.
Originals – There is a wide variety of material issued by the studio to advertise the film for use in the theaters, which include stills, pressbooks, window cards, posters of various sizes from small to billboard size. These actual hung in the theaters at the time the film was released which opens a variety of additional areas such as condition, size, style, popularity and availability. These were not made to sell to the public and were meant to be destroyed. This makes the few that remain more valuable and collectible. Older major film titles can become extremely rare and expensive. COLLECTIBLE
Reissues – These were original material issued for later rereleases of the film. These were also not available to the public but because they were later issued, they quite often have different artwork and are cheaper than the original releases. These actual hung in the theaters at the time the film was film was re-released which opens a variety of additional areas such as condition, size, style, popularity and availability. Older major film titles can become rare and expensive but less than the original release. COLLECTIBLE
Reprints – These are commercially produced to sell to the public. These are close to the actual size issued in the theaters, but usually a little smaller. These can be found on major films for only the most popular scenes and very limited selection of sizes. While these don’t become very valuable, they can be hard to find for older or less popular titles. NOT COLLECTIBLE
Commercial posters – These are produced in mass to sell to the public and usually are 20×28 to 24×36 size. Some of these would be seen in the retail chains and stores. These are normally in the stores during or right after the release of the film and stay around only as long as the film is popular. While older titles can be hard to find, they don’t go up in value, but only take longer to find. NOT COLLECTIBLE
Commercial prints – These are special prints created for special purposes to sell to the public or use in special displays. These are normally smaller in size and quite often on a card stock instead of paper poster stock. Within specific guidelines, these can be created when needed. NOT COLLECTIBLE
Stills – these are photos taken before, during or after the making of the film. Hundreds of different shots were taken during the making of the film. These are not usually available to the public. COLLECTIBLE
Photos – are made for the public and are the most popular scenes or the major stars in poses. NOT COLLECTIBLE
International – Most major studio films are also released in other countries. This creates the same breakdown of originals, reissues, reprints, commercial posters or prints in other languages. So it is quite common to have available Australian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mexican or a variety of other posters with completely different artwork. ORIGINALS ARE COLLECTIBLE.
For those wanting more information and details, you can go to our free reference website LearnAboutMoviePosters.com. On the pulldown Navbar – under Collecting, click on New to Collecting.
If you have specific questions, additional help, or want to acquire directly or for re-sale, email me at edp@LearnAboutMoviePosters.com or call ed at 504-298- LAMP (5267).
Ed Poole is the Consulting Archivist and Chief Researcher for Movie Poster Archives.