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About Movie Posters, One-Sheets, and other Theatrical Key Art.
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About Movie Posters

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If you are looking to learn more about movie posters, film advertising, and related subjects, visit our Movie Poster Books and Movie Poster Links areas of this website for further info.

About Movie Posters

A movie poster is referred to as a "one sheet" in the film advertising industry. It is usually the most visible form of printed advertising for a film's release and is the foundation of a film campaign's "key art". Definitions of various forms and formats of movie poster key art are listed below:

One Sheet

A 27"x41" poster, usually printed on paper stock. Modern posters are rolled, while older film posters are folded. The one-sheet is the "standard" film advertising poster size in the U.S. It is now virtually the only size printed. Recent years have seen variations of an inch or more in the dimensions of a one-sheet. This is especially true of some border less ("full-bleed") posters, which may be 26"x40" or smaller.

Advance One Sheet

A 27"x41" poster, usually issued several months prior to the release of the movie. An Advance one-sheet usually has entirely different artwork than the regular one-sheet.

Regular One Sheet

This term is usually applied when a one sheet with credits follows the release of an advance or teaser one sheet. Unless "Advance" or "Teaser" are applied, it is assumed that a one sheet has full credits.

Teaser One Sheet

This term is often used interchangeably with "Advance." All teaser posters are advances, but not all advances are teasers. The ghost symbol on the teasers for Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II is an example of the teaser format. A teaser poster will not have any credits and may not even have the film's title.

Character Advance Poster

Similar to "teasers". These posters are advance posters featuring a single character from an upcoming film. Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Lord of the Rings are examples of character advance promotions.


A 45"x59" poster also called a Subway Poster because of its use on small billboards in the New York subway. 2-sheets are printed on paper stock and can be folded or rolled when we receive them.


A 41"x81" poster printed on paper stock and always folded.

British Quads

Quads are horizontal posters approximately 40" wide by 30" high. (The exact dimensions can sometimes vary.) Quads can be printed on glossy or matte finish stock. The paper is about the same thickness as American one sheets. All Quads are Unfolded and are shipped in tubes.

Heavy Stock Display Posters

The five poster sizes that follow are printed on heavier card stock and are shipped rolled unless the word "folds" appears after the listing. These posters were part of the standard mix of advertising material for most films released prior to 1985. Heavier paper and the fact that they are almost never folded, make these posters ideal for framing. Unfortunately, they are not available for films released after 1985.
14x22's are called Window Cards
14x36's are called Inserts
22x28's are called Half Sheets*
30x40's are called 30x40s
40x60's are called 40x60s
*Note: Half sheets are horizontal and wider than they are tall, thus they should more accurately be indicated as 28x22.

Color Still Sets

Color photos from a film printed on heavy card stock. These are priced by the set. (See also description of Lobby Card Sets below). Stills are 8"x10" black and white glossy photos from a film. Stills are priced by the set. (See also Presskits.)

Lobby Card Sets

Printed in color on heavy card stock, measuring 11"x14". These are also priced by the set. Some sets have photos measuring the entire 11x14 area. Others have 8"x10" photos with the film's logo, credits, and/or additional artwork. A film's 11x14 may have the same scenes as the 8x10 set or entirely different ones. In the mid 1980's, the major film distributors began phasing out the printing of Lobby Card and Color Still sets. Today, none of the film distributors print these sets for distribution in the United States. Columbia, Tri-Star and Universal still print sets for some of their releases. These are printed in the Unites States, but intended for use overseas. Foreign Lobby Cards and Color Stills (British, German, Spanish, etc) are available on some titles.


Used by theatres in the advertising and promotion of a film. These booklets vary in size, number of pages, and content. Some contain only ad slicks to be used in the past-up of newspaper ads. Others are more elaborate, containing full cast and productions notes and ideas for local promotions. Some large format pressbooks are folded in half. Booklets containing only ad slicks are indicated by "ads only" after the listing. Pressbooks for most recent films have become little more than giant "ad pads" various sizes of the same artwork stapled together in a booklet.


Are used by the media in reviewing films. They usually contain production notes, biographical information on some cast and crew members, and black and white glossy stills for the movie.

Commercial and Personality Posters

These are mass produced licensed posters printed with a star's image or movie related artwork. Commercial posters come in a variety of sizes ranging from about 20"x24" to 24"x36" and larger. These posters often have outstanding graphics and are reasonably priced, however their value as collectibles is debated.

Fine Art Posters

Printed on high quality paper with careful attention to detail, Fine Art Posters are sold in many art galleries and better quality custom frame shops. Since they are intended as pieces of frameable art, they are never folded.

International Posters

This term is used to describe posters that are printed in English, but intended for use in countries outside of North America. International posters may be printed in the United States or overseas and almost always utilize different artwork than their American counterpart.

Limited Edition Prints

This term describes a limited printing of a fine art poster. The publisher of the print specifies a limit of say 500 or 1000 and certifies that no more copies will be printed Some limited editions may also be signed and numbered by the artist.

Reissue (or Rerelease)

These terms are used interchangeably. They describe the process whereby a film is formerly reintroduced or rereleased to the theatres. The artwork for a rerelease poster may be the same or different from the original (See reprint below.)


A reprint is a poster that has been exactly duplicated in image, color, etc though it may vary slightly in size from the original.


This term is often used interchangeably with reprint. The term "reproduction" is most often used for the reprinting of very old posters. Since original printing plates for the older posters were destroyed long ago, photos of the old poster must be taken. Fold lines and other flaws in the original will be visible in the new reproduction. A reproduction poster may vary in size from the original.

National Screen Service (NSS)

From 1939 to the mid-1980s, the National Screen Service handled printing and distribution of movie poster one-sheets through regional offices around the country. NSS numbers were printed on the bottom of posters as a form of identification.
(Information provided by Rick's Movie Graphics.)
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