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  2. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY 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.

  3. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY 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

  4. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY 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. Entertainment advertisement

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

  6. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Five years later, a movie poster for the Lumiere Brothers’ “Arrival of a Train” in 1895 was the first to depict an actual scene from the film.

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

  8. 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”. Up to this point in film history, there were no "movie stars." Most of the actors in the early films choose to remain anonymous. It was to the benefit of all involved with early films to keep their movie's participants unknown.

  9. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Unknown Cinema Talent… Legitimate stage actors preferred to remain unknown, embarrassed that anyone would find out that they participated in this new medium. Movie producers were secure in knowing that they could control the medium as long as the movie participants remained unnamed.

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

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

  12. 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. Suddenly, posters had to be designed with consideration given to the stars and their "pecking order“.

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

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

  15. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY These new posters no longer depicted scenes -- the posters were designed with portraits of the stars, the movie title and the stars' names. Name Name

  16. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Not only did posters actually have to have the names on them, but the order matter too! Regardless of the key artwork, the actor names has to be place in a specific order.

  17. 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." Trailers were the film clips of coming attractions that would be shown after a feature presentation - thus the term “TRAILER”.

  18. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY NATIONAL SCREEN SERVICE Next to movie studios, 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.

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

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

  21. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY In the 60’s, movies posters progressed, 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.

  22. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY The movies posters of the 1970's continued the use of photography. 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. Movie posters were now being printed on a clay-coated paper which gave them a glossy finish smooth to the touch.

  23. 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

  24. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Bob Peak 1979 Budgeted $31.5 Made: Approx $40 mil


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

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

  28. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY With more screens and more movies, the advertising space in the theatre lobby now had to be divided equally among all films being shown. As a consequence, 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. This "mini" sheetcould take the place of any of the smaller sizes, since there is no standard size. Its just smaller than 27 x 40!

  29. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY The"mini" sheet

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

  31. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Since video rentals also rely on advertising, a new line of video materials were introduced. Video posters, which appear to be similar to the theatre one sheets, are distributed to video rental outlets for display. Many studios issue a number of materials strictly for their video market, making it a viable profit alternative for movie studios. The rise of the video resulted in the demise of reissues/re-releases. Instead of re-releasing a film to the theatres, movie studios simply released them on video cassette or DVD.

  32. MOVIE POSTER HISTORY Reissues/Re-releases

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


  35. THE MOVIE POSTER The Movie Poster (modern) Traditional Size: 27x40 (41) double print size Full Sail size 24x36 Poster Types: 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)

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

  37. THE MOVIE POSTER Re-Release Same at the Release but it will add… Awards or Achievements Review Quotes

  38. THE MOVIE POSTER DVD & Video Same at the Release but it will add… Awards or Achievements Review Quotes

  39. Movie Poster Design Formulas

  40. Movie Poster Design Formulas YELLOW: The “big” Independent Film

  41. Movie Poster Design Formulas RED: The Romantic Comedy

  42. Movie Poster Design Formulas BLUE: Movie posters about animals tend to be blue. There’s also all that thin, white text in capital letters, and often pairs of figures in profile or from the back. (And, a huge white moon can’t hurt.)

  43. Movie Poster Design Formulas B&W with Flames: Any black and white poster with a shock of red flame is trying to tell you it’s an action flick!

  44. Movie Poster Design Formulas Back-Shot: Ultra-dramatic for the lonely hero (and probably vigilante)

  45. Movie Poster Design Formulas The Eye: Typically with horror or very dramatic, thrilling and/or action projects

  46. Movie Poster Design Formulas Through the Legs: These movies tend to be comedies with the high probability that there will be a “R” rated sex scene, or at least one actress who is topless.

  47. Movie Poster Design Formulas RUNNING: If someone is running down the street, that street should probably be blue. Also your movie should probably be some kind of thriller

  48. Movie Poster Design Formulas TOUCHING & POIGNANT: A silhouette in front of the ocean, with faces floating in the clouds, all in pastel colors.

  49. Movie Poster Design Formulas JUSTICE: The blindfolded “hero” must face justice.

  50. Movie Poster Design Formulas BACK TO BACK: How else do you properly express your tough-love relationship??