Introduced by Thomas Edison's Motion Picture Patents Company in 1909, the one-sheet has long been the standard movie poster in the United States. The posters were always 27" x 41" until the mid-1980s when the size gradually shifted to 27"x 40". One-sheet posters were almost always folded before 1985. Double-sided posters (for use in lighted movie theater displays) were also introduced in the late 1980s. One-sheet posters have traditionally been the most prized size among collectors.
For much of the 20th century, movie theaters had only one screen so all their advertising space was devoted to one film. Insert posters appeared around 1910 and were printed on card stock paper for theaters to use in conjunction with one sheet posters in order to promote a movie. Inserts were usually folded at printing but they were sometimes never folded. Their slim profile and durability make them excellent for collecting and display. The last insert movie posters were printed around 1986.
First introduced in the 1910s, half-sheet posters were displayed inside movie theaters to promote the current release. They were mounted in special displays and used together with one-sheet and insert posters to fully advertise a newly released movie. Half-sheet posters were printed on card stock paper and are half the size of a one sheet poster. They were usually not folded and rolled for shipping to theaters. Half-sheet posters were sometimes folded after printing.
Three-sheet movie posters are from the United States and were used both in domestic and international movie theaters. They are printed in either one or two sections. The posters measure 41" x 81" and make a dramatic impression when framed.
Six-sheet movie posters measure 81" x 81" and are printed in 2 sections that are designed to overlap. These grand posters display beautifully when professionally framed and/or linen-backed.
Thirty by Forty
Printed on hard-stock paper, thirty by forty posters are 30" x 40" and were introduced in the 1930s and were printed for use in special displays both inside, and outside, movie theaters.
Standard (11" x 14" and issued in sets)
Mini (8" x 10" and issued in sets)
Jumbo (14" x 17" and issued individually or in sets)
Lobby cards were produced by studios starting in the 1910s. They were phased out in the United States in the mid-1980s but are still often produced for use outside of the United States.
Lobby cards were printed and shipped in sets for display in movie theater lobbies. Each set of cards would usually contain a title card and other cards with scenes from the film being advertised. These scene cards would also sometimes feature posed images of the cast or even offer a synopsis-style progression of scenes from a film.
Standard (14" x 22")
Mini (8" x 14")
Jumbo (22" x 28")
Window Cards were printed on hard stock paper for display at locations other than movie theaters. They could be placed in the windows of stores, business offices, physician and dentist offices, bulletin boards, telephone/utility poles and on any other potential advertising surface in a community. Window cards are not typically folded.
Additional international sizes are detailed in the individual poster listings.