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  • Reprint and Commercial Posters

What Is A Commercial Poster?

The basic definition is that these are not original posters printed for promotional purposes. Commercial posters are made by various poster companies that acquire the license to mass produce posters on a certain celebrity, movie, musical artist, etc. They print large quantities for maximum distribution and to achieve a lower retail price. The size in inches of commercial posters varies - 16x20, 22x34, 23x35, 24x34, 24x36, 25x36, and larger, depending on the company producing them.

What Is A Reprint Movie Poster?

The basic definition is that these are not original posters printed directly by the movie studio to display in a movie theatre or use for promotional purposes. If you should have a question on whether the poster you are acquiring is indeed an original, please ask whoever is offering it to you for clarification. Here is some information that might be helpful. Reprint movie posters are made by various poster companies that acquire the licensing to reproduce the image. Words used by dealers and sellers to define them are usually - Reprint, Reproduction, or Commercial. Watch out for vague wording and phrases like "features the original art", or "original studio issued movie poster". Yes, reprints do feature the 'original art' as the same image is reproduced. The 'original studio issued' phrase is a tricky way of saying licensed. It is doubtful that either of these phrases defines an original poster produced for promotional use. Also look for the Sonis logo on the poster:

Sonis is a company that makes originals for the European market and since a lot of reprints are licensed in Europe, this logo appears on most (not all) of them in various colors, especially recently released movies.

The main differences between originals and reprints are sizing, copyright information, and sharpness of text print/image:
Size: Originals are always 27x40 inches (give or take a 1/8 inch) or 27x41 inches on older titles. Reprints will vary from 11x17 inches and up to 27x40 with many size variations in between.
Copyright: Originals will usually say PRINTED IN THE USA at the bottom. Reprints will sometimes have the licensing company name (ZigZag, Scorpio, Film Freaks, Funky, etc).
Text: You can usually tell a poster is a reprint by looking at the credits & small print text at the bottom. Some reprints are produced by taking a picture of the original and then using that picture to make the posters. This can cause credits and other small text or logos on the reprint to be a bit grainy or washed out. The credits and small text or logos on originals are sharp and solid. This picture technique can also have the same grainy/washed out affect on the image(s) on the poster and can cause imperfections from the original to appear on the reprint. If the original used for the picture has a tear, this can show up on the reprint.

Sometimes the quality of the reprint is as good as the original as printing technology and reproduction techniques are getting better all the time. Without having them side by side, it may be impossible to tell the difference. Again, if you should have a question on whether the poster you are acquiring is indeed an original, please ask whoever is offering it to you for clarification. That is why all of our posters are clearly marked with the words Original or Reprint in the item description. If you have contributions or additional notes you can add to this information, please email us!

Thanks to Cinemasterpieces for this info: ORIGINAL MOVIE POSTER (U.S.A.) A poster that was issued for a movie by The National Screen Service (NSS), by a movie studio, or by another company authorized by the studio for promotional use or display in an actual movie theatre at the time of the films original release. Older posters prior to the mid 1980's were usually (not always) issued folded while newer posters are always issued rolled. Original movie posters are printed in limited quantities. Usually, the older the poster, the rarer it is. Original movie posters USUALLY have an NSS information tag and number printed on them at the bottom. HOWEVER, this is not always the case. There are plenty of original movie posters that do not contain NSS info. And, to complicate matters, just because a poster has an NSS tagline, NSS number, and a GAU logo, does not necessarily mean it is an original movie poster. There are MANY reprints that have printed this information on the poster to make it appear more authentic.

Thanks to mymovieposters for this info: Double Sided & Rolled Movie Posters "Modern" double sided movie posters (as we know them today) were first introduced at the beginning of 1988 by Universal Pictures. It was with their theatrical release of "Biloxi Blues" on March 25th. The NSS number was 880016. Currently film studios print 15-20 thousand posters per film, sometimes more. Most of the posters will be produced double sided. Double sided versions usually fetch more money than single sided versions. Collectors prefer the double sided poster because the chances of it being an original are GREATER. There are double sided reprints. Spiderman is the best example, others include Starship Troopers & Saving Private Ryan. Most reprints are printed single sided simply due to printing costs. Today film studios like Warners, Fox, Sony, Paramount, Disney, & Universal print almost all their titles double sided. Smaller film studios USUALLY print single sided due to costs. Today MOST original theater material is printed double sided, approx 90/10. MOST reprints are printed single sided. Even Imax posters are now double sided. They started out single sided. The year the film studios started sending out one sheets ROLLED was around 1980-81.There were a few titles from 1979 which you can usually find rolled like the Alien advance but for the most part it was the very early 80's. There were times when studios would send out special posters rolled such as the mylar advances for Superman The Movie (1978). Some other rolled examples: Fritz The Cat (1972),Tommy advance (1975),andTaxi Driver (1976). Movie posters are by no means easy to find ROLLED for releases prior to the mid 1980's. Posters in general continued to be folded until around 1985. From 1986-1989 most were sent rolled. By 1990 almost all movie posters were sent to theaters rolled in tubes. It would be highly unlikely to find someone with a roll of original one sheets printed before 1970.

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