Masterpieces in the Bijou Lobby: The Art of the Film Poster

A MOVIE POSTER PRIMER: DIMENSIONS AND VARIETIES

   Befitting the international variety of the Cinema, materials used to advertise and market films vary from country to country, size, dimensions, paper stocks and art work, not merely in printed languages. For instance, in America, a smaller photographic image might be presented either on a standard 8 x10 inch still or an often more artfully bordered 11×14

Seen here is a standard 11x14 American lobby card from the 1968 film "Barbarella" as opposed to the larger Italian photobusta (see right).

inch lobby card, whereas in Italy, the standard photographic image is found on what is called a “photobusta” which varies in size and often carries a montage of images from the advertised film. As a helpful guide, the standard sizes and varieties of the most used movie posters are listed in this section, divided by the countries most  prominent in the manufacturing of these international materials. [Simply click this page on the main menu to see the list of international poster guides.]

THE UNITED STATES

27x41 One Sheet Poster

One Sheet Posters, traditionally of a size of 27 inches x 41 inches, they are the most recognized standard film poster. Since the 1980’s the posters have been generally shifted to a size of 27″ x 40″. Normally printed on one side, in recent decades it is more common to see a double sided printing, with the reverse side printed in a mirror image of the front to allow for display in the more popular light box framing of many modern cinemas.

22x28 Half Sheet

Half Sheet Posters, at 22″ x 28″, virtually half the size of a one sheet poster. Traditionally designed in a horizontal style, they are printed on heavier stock than the one sheet.

14x36 Insert

Inserts, a vertically designed poster measuring 14″ in width by 36″ in height, also printed on heavier card stock than the one sheet.

14x22 Window Card

Window Cards are smaller poster used to be placed on public display about town, often in the windows of a store, thus the name. Printed on a card stock paper, the art is often the same as the one sheet poster, but that is not a firm rule. Sizes vary from a small 8″ x 14″, to a large half sheet size that stands vertically. The standard size for this variety of poster is 14″ x 22″ including a blank four inch space at the top of the car where the exhibitor would print the information of his screenings.

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THE FILM POSTERS OF NORMAN ROCKWELL: Though his film poster output was scant, each is highly recognizable of his illustrative style. The six posters featured here represent the titles for which he designed and illustrated the marketing art. They include Orson Welles' 1942 "The Magnificent Ambersons", Henry King's 1943 "The Song of Bernadette", Stuart Heisler's 1945 "Along Came Jones", Edmund Goulding's 1946 "The Razor's Edge", "Frank Tashlin's 1960 "Cinderfella" and the 1966 Gordon Douglas remake of John Ford's "Stagecoach".


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