Although considered a relatively new medium to most, the movie industry has been in existence for over 100 years. It has not only survived but prospered through a century of almost insurmountable obstacles and adversities.


Today, movies are a billion dollar industry. The movie poster, in all of its sizes and forms, has been the backbone on which this industry was built. Movies and their posters have grown side-by-side since the late 1800's.


During the late 1800's, many inventors experimented with devices that would make pictures appear to move. The Belgian scientist, Joseph Plateur, invented the phenakistoscope in 1832.

Joseph Plateur


This device consisted of two disks a few inches apart on a rod. Plateau placed painted pictures of a person or thing on the edge of one of the disks, each picture being slightly advanced. The other disk had slots, so when both disks were rotated at the same speed, the pictures appeared to move as they came into the view of the slots.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Entertainment advertisement .

ugent.html  .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  History of the Movie Poster

a lithograph designed to promote a short film entitled “Projections Artistiques”. designed to get patrons to the box office. In 1890 a Frenchman named Jules Cheret is credited with producing the very first movie poster.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY   From the very beginning movie posters were a part of commerce. .

. a movie poster for the Lumiere Brothers’ “Arrival of a Train” in 1895 was the first to depict an actual scene from the film.THE MOVIE POSTER  History of the Movie Poster  Five years later.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  However. . the majority of early film posters were nothing more than simple “broadside” style signs with little more than block text. up until the early 1910s.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY A typical poster for an early Edison film contained little more than the movie’s title and the words “Another Edison Photoplay”. .

there were no "movie stars." Most of the actors in the early films choose to remain anonymous. Movie producers were secure in knowing that they could control the medium as long as the movie participants remained unnamed.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Up to this point in film history.   Legitimate stage actors preferred to remain unknown. . It was to the benefit of all involved with early films to keep their movie's participants unknown. embarrassed that anyone would find out that they participated in this new medium.

. As early as 1908. fearing that giving the identity of the stars would cause them to demand more money. studios began receiving mail addressed to nameless actors. continued to insist on anonymity. things began to change. owner of IMP studio.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY     By the year 1910. This would become quite evident thanks to the stunt perpetrated on the industry by Carl Laemmle. But the studios were soon faced with the reality that movie goers wanted to know the names of the actors and actresses. Movie producers. however.

Laemmle managed to steal one Florence Lawrence from a rival movie studio. Lawrence than had come to see then President Taft (who had the highest approval rating in US History!) who was visiting St. In order to set the record straight. Laemmle published a full page ad in a St. When more people showed up to see Ms. the studio owners had to acquiesce. Mr. a rumor was started. that the adored "Biograph Girl" was dead. To this point. Louis. Louis one week earlier. . Lawrence was known to her fans as the "Biograph Girl“. Lawrence in St. and no longer would movie actors and actresses be kept anonymous. purportedly by Mr Laemmle himself. Ms.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY The first Publicity Stunt Mr. In what could be considered one of the first publicity stunts pulled off by a movie studio. Louis newspaper stating that he had "nailed a lie" and would be presenting Ms.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  It was at this point that producers recognized that the real selling tools were not the movies but the "stars" that graced their screens. posters had to be designed with consideration given to the stars and their "pecking order. Suddenly." .

Actors and actresses had now become powers to be reckoned with. The size of the print and the placement were easy indicators as to just how "big" a particular star was. .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY     Posters now had to reflect the size and status of the “leading lady" and "leading man”. Movie contracts would now include clauses relating to the size and placement of names on the movie poster and other advertising materials. Soon the public could recognize one's "star status" simply by looking at a movie poster.


Well known commercial artists were commissioned by many studios to design movie poster "portraits" of leading stars. and the crude posters of old gave way to more splendid. . artistically aesthetic movie posters. as commercial artists were allowed to do on European movie posters. Grand movie palaces soon replaced the movie theatre. Unfortunately. the American studios did not allow the artists to sign their posters.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY    The early 1920's were considered the golden age of the silent movie.

There was an occasional slogan or two. and this is where most of the posters originated from." Most of the studios had their advertising offices in New York. .the posters were designed with portraits of the stars.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY    These new posters no longer depicted scenes -. the movie title and the stars' names. but the emphasis was now placed on the movie's "stars.

" Trailers were the film clips of coming attractions that would be shown after a feature presentation .thus the term "trailer.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY   It was during this time. (actually started in 1919) that the National Screen Service ("NSS") first made its appearance." . NSS began competing with the studios' lucrative business of creating and distributing "trailers.

the National Screen Service ("NSS") had the most direct and profound impact on the movie paper advertising industry. From 1939 until the mid-1980’s. . the NSS was the "control center" for almost 90% of the movie paper distributed.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY    NATIONAL SCREEN SERVICE Next to movie studios.

inserts and window cards. One-sheets and larger paper continued to be printed via stone (and later aluminum plate) lithography. . this new process was used primary on smaller sized card stock items. These items were not as effective when viewed from a distance. this process was used for materials meant to be viewed closely. PINK and BLUE). a new printing process was developed. Evolving from one color to three (YELLOW.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY     By the 1920's. Known as photogelatin or heliotype. such as lobby cards.

. the "fan magazines" also made its appearance during this time period.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY   By the 1950's. and their magazines were replete with color photographs of all major movie stars. Photoplay and Movie Mirror were two of the pioneers in this area.


and soon movie posters began to look more like color photographs. . With the number of cars on the roads.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY   Movie companies adopted this style of advertising. using tinted photographs and large stock lettering. posters were designed to be seen from long distances.

the posters began to reflect the changing attitudes toward violence and sex. The use of photographs were replacing the painted artwork common in the early years.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY   In the 60’s. . movies posters progressed.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  The movies posters of the 1970's continued the use of photography. Movie posters were now being printed on a claycoated paper which gave them a glossy finish smooth to the touch.  . Drawing and painting styles were still being used occasionally. and artists like Richard Amsel. Frank Frazetta and Bob Peak lent their names to some of the more popular film posters of this era.

html of how KEY ART Is used in movie marketing http://www.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Richard Amsel 1980 Budgeted $35 mil Made: Approx $40 mil 1974 Budgeted $6 mil Made: Approx $12 mil 1982 Budgeted $15 mil Made $23 mil .

5 Made: Approx $40 mil .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Bob Peak 1979 Budgeted $31.


leaving only three regional offices remaining in operation. the lineup of advertising materials available to theatres changed drastically. This fact.  . the National Screen Service lost its control over the movie paper industry. along with the advent of the multiscreen complexes.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  By the 1980's.

most theatres had just one screen and one feature movie. with theatre lobbies covered with various sizes of posters for one movie. More advertising space was dedicated to each movie. .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Prior to this time.

since there is no standard size. This "mini" sheet could take the place of any of the smaller sizes. Its just smaller than 27 x 40!  . As a consequence. the advertising space in the theatre lobby now had to be divided equally among all films being shown. movie studios opted to phase out of some of these "old standards" and introduced a more versatile "mini sheet" which could be produced in any smaller size.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  With more screens and more movies.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  The "mini" sheet .

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  The video rental market.  . which began gaining popularity during the 1985. has given movie producers another avenue for increasing profits. Video rental income now figures heavily in weighing the success or failure of a film. No longer do movie studios have to rely on theatre box office receipts to make money.

a new line of video materials were introduced. Many studios issue a number of materials strictly for their video market. Video posters.  . which appear to be similar to the theatre one sheets. making it a viable profit alternative for movie studios. are distributed to video rental outlets for display.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Since video rentals also rely on advertising.

. movie studios simply released them on video cassette.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  The rise of the video resulted in the demise of reissues/re-releases.  Instead of re-releasing a film to the theatres.

MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Reissues/Re-releases. .

it can be used to replace many of the old favorites. window cards. half sheets (horizontal poster). . like inserts.MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Many of today's studios have opted to use the "mini" sheet. Since the mini sheet is not a standard size.


posters made for cable TV and network television movies have also been introduced. Video advertising materials are also still widely used. In addition. .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  Stand-ees. mobiles and counter displays are also very popular.

and anything in between .MOVIE POSTER HISTORY  A standee is any type of display that basically "stands on its own or is able to be displayed with little or no outside support”.  A standee can range from a small counter top standing display to a larger than life lobby size display.


THE MOVIE POSTER  The Movie Poster (modern)  Traditional Size:   27x40 (41) double print size Full Sail size 24x36 PRE-RELEASE: Usually has general release date (not exact unless a holiday specific) RELEASE: Theatrical Distribution RE-RELEASE: After Awards or Re-released VIDEO: DVD/Video. (Usually different key art and date)  Poster Types:     .

THE MOVIE POSTER  Release:  Key Art .

PD/AD. 3-D. Writer. etc) Synergy (Book. Writer. Producer.THE MOVIE POSTER  Release:   Talent Key Crew   Industry: ExP. Editor. Soundtrack. and Casting Director       Tagline Webpage Rating (MPAA) www. UPM/PC. 1st AD/2nd AD. DP/ Release Date Specialty Items (THX. etc) .mpaa. Composer. Director. and sometimes DP Full Sail: Director(s).



The Full Sail Movie Poster .

.FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 1:  Go over the script with the students at a Production Meeting 8.

 Develop a few conceptual designs on the look of the poster.FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 2:  Discuss the key idea and a few scenes that depict the “essence” of the film. .

.FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 3:  If the "essence" of the story can be captured in one of the stills on the set. then go over which title text style would enhance the mood of the image.

 Plan which day of production to shoot the key art.FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 4:  If this "essence" of the story can be captured in one of the stills on the set. .

. make-up. go over what kind of lighting. and art department will be needed for a studio photo shoot. talent.FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 5:  If the “key art”. that will become the poster needs to be shot in a studio setting.

needed gear and/or location. .FULL SAIL MOVIE POSTER  Creation of the Poster:  Step 6:  Pick a range of dates for the photo shoot.  Coordinate the best date with the talent.


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