Size does matter!
A few years back, the main focus of poster collecting was the bigger the better. Collectors couldn't wait to find their next 6-sheet or 3-sheet, owning a "piece" of the theaters they remember going to as children was worth any cost. Once people realized how rare the larger sheets were, it became a race to get as many as you could find, from all corners of the globe. The movie poster collecting trend has seemed to almost reverse itself. People are always asking where they can get smaller versions of posters, right down to 11 x 17 inches, pushing big poster companies to find means to get their hands on the desired sizes. In this post, I will outline the different sizes posters came in and will look at some of the reasons for the dimension changes.
Since the explosion of modern cinema, theaters went to great lengths to spruce up their lobbies in hopes of attracting weekly visitors. Having an extremely large banner high up on the lobby walls, advertising the movie of the week was the best way to get a mass of eager eyes to dedicate their following Friday evening to another night at the theater. Before the invention of the light box, the 6-sheet was the main advertisement for the movies. For those tighter spaces, the 3-sheet was used in the 6-sheets place. Measuring 81x81 inches, the 6-sheet often came in 4 pieces, but it is not uncommon to find them in halves instead of quarters.
As theaters became more glamorous, long narrow windows and skinny corridors were built to add atmosphere. Film studios scrambled to come up with sizes of posters to fit in these tighter spaces and so window cards, half sheets and door panels were created. The smaller sizes gave studios the opportunity to advertise many more of their films which now demanded larger budgets to produce. Poster size dropped from the 6-sheet down to 40x60" and 30x40". Half sheets measured at 28x22" and inserts at 14x36" looking more like large scale bookmarks. Window cards were positioned at the box office beside the ticket window as a last glance of what was to come.
Insert - 14x36"
Window card - 14x22"
Half Sheet - 28x22"
The traditional 1-Sheet has long been the favorite of collectors. Movie posters today are made primarily 27x40" and most often are printed on both sides to allow light from the theaters light boxes to shine through. If you are a serious collector and are looking for rare 6-sheets, 3-sheets, half sheets and inserts, movieposter.com is the best source for these items. No one on the net has the selection of vintage film art we have.