MOVIE POSTER SIZES
Movie posters have been produced in various sizes over the years and with variations from time to time or from country to country. Below is a brief guide to these movie poster sizes, which will provide a glossary to the descriptive terms used on our website and may provide a useful guide to collectors generally.
QUAD: 30 x 40 inches. Landscape format. The quad (short for ?quadruple crown?) has been the standard size British cinema poster for many years. Printed on heavier stock paper than the U.S. one-sheet and in far fewer quantities. Prior to 1985 they were almost always machine folded prior to issue. Printers include Berry & Co., Lonsdale & Bartholomew and Stafford and Co. Stone lithography (or offset printing that produced an effect very similar to stone litho) can be encountered in posters produced up to the early 1960s (nice late examples include those printed by the Modern (Electric) Printing Co in the 1950s and early 1960s). Noted British poster artists include Tom William Chantrell, Eric Pulford and Brian Bysouth. From the 1990s onwards, quads are frequently printed on both sides to enhance the visual effect when placed into a light box.
BRITISH ONE-SHEET: 27 x40 inches. Portrait format. Slightly shorter than the U.S. equivalent. This format was occasionally produced instead of, or as well as a quad. These were sometimes intended for foreign release of British films but were also used for display in British cinemas. Many posters for Ealing comedies, Hammer horror and Carry On films were also produced in this format. Quite scarce prior to 2000 but a format that has become more common since that date.
BRITISH DOUBLE CROWN: 20 x 30 inches. Portrait format but very occasionally printed in the landscape style. Half the size of a quad. Printed on heavy paper stock. Distributed for advertising out-of-house and frequently displayed on buses, community notice boards and similar venues. Quite scarce.
BRITISH THREE-SHEET: At various times these have been produced in slightly different sizes from 40 x 80 inches to 41 x 83 inches. The earlier posters, particularly those from the silent era, tend to be printed in the longer format. They are produced in 2 or 3 sections (although there are some late examples that comprise a single sheet) and were intended for pasting onto small bill-boards. Consequently those that have survived tend to be only those that were never used and which have escaped war-time paper-drives, etc. They are rare.
BRITISH SIX-SHEET: 81 x 81 inches. Usually in 4 sections intended for pasting to small bill-boards and for an eye-catching display outside the cinema. Few have survived.
BRITISH FRONT-OF-HOUSE CARDS: 8 x10 inches. Printed on card stock. These were generally produced in sets of 8. They can be printed either in colour or in black & white and show scenes from the film above a panel containing the film??s title or credits. Cinemas commonly had a purpose built, wall-mounted display in the foyer into which the cards were inserted. Most cinemas seemed to prefer this format to the larger lobby cards (11 x 14), which were also produced both here and in America. Many front-of-house cards that were used in British cinemas bear NSS numbers and were printed in the United States.
U.S. ONE-SHEET: 27 x 41 inches. (From the mid-1980s they were also produced in 27 x 40 inches size for international distribution). Printed on fairly light paper stock. Invariably machine folded prior to 1985. The steel offset printing process was used from a fairly early stage in U.S. poster production and so stone-litho examples tend to date from prior to 1940. Typical printers include Morgan Litho and Tooker Litho. From around the 1940s onwards most U.S. posters were distributed by National Screen Service (NSS). Posters distributed by NSS carry a code number printed in the bottom margin and usually stamped on the reverse. The first two numbers in the code give the date of release of the poster, followed by a numeric code for the film. Re-release posters are indicated by an R which proceeds the date. Different styles or designs were indicated by the additional letters A, B, or C, etc. NSS is now defunct and so recent posters no longer carry this information.
U.S. THREE-SHEET: 41x 81 inches. They were produced in 2 or, occasionally, 3 sections (although there are some late examples that comprise a single sheet). Intended for foyer display and for pasting onto small bill-boards. Consequently those that have survived tend to be only those that were never used. This format was only ever printed in relatively small quantities and was discontinued after 1983. They are rare.
U.S. SIX-SHEET: 81 x 81 inches. They were produced in 4 sections and were intended for pasting onto small bill-boards. Consequently those that have survived tend to be only those that were never used. This format was only ever printed in small quantities and was discontinued after 1983. They are rare.
U.S. HALF-SHEET: 22 x 28 inches. Landscape format. Printed on card stock. These were usually issued rolled but were commonly folded later for ease of storage. Discontinued after 1983.
U.S. INSERT: 14 x 36 inches. Portrait format. Printed on card stock. Issued both rolled and folded but tended to be rolled from the late 1960s onwards. Discontinued after 1983.
WINDOW CARD: 14 x 22 inches. Printed on heavy card stock. Issued flat. These were generally produced as advance advertising for the film. They frequently have a simpler design than the one-sheet and may be printed in fewer colours. Used for display in shop windows and similar venues. They have a blank section at the top designed to be filled in with the name of the cinema and the showing times of the film. Examples are often found with this blank section cut off, this will reduce the value. Window cards were used extensively in the 1930s and 1940s but they declined in popularity and eventually their use was discontinued.
30x40 and 40x60: Printed on card stock and issued rolled. Commonly used for the American Drive-In circuit. Prior to 1960 they usually carried very different artwork to the other posters issued for the film and are often attractively produced by the silk screen technique. The card on which they are printed is prone to creasing and cracking when rolled. This, together with the fact that they were intended for outside display, means that they are often encountered in fairly poor condition. Discontinued after 1983. Quite rare.
SUBWAY: 46x64. Printed on card stock. Produced for display on the American subway. This format has been in use from the 1960s but early examples are uncommon.
LOBBY CARD: 11 x 14 inches - Printed on card stock. These were generally produced in sets of 8 although sets of 6 or even 4 are not unknown. They usually comprise one ?title card? with artwork similar to the poster designs and carrying the films credits and 7 ?scene cards? showing the stars or scenes from the film.
FRENCH GRANDE: 47 x 63 inches (120cm x 160cm). Paper stock. Always folded. This is the standard French cinema poster although at various times French posters have been issued in a bewildering array of different sizes and formats. Modern posters for American films frequently use the studio artwork and are little more than larger versions of the U.S. one-sheet. Prior to the mid-1970s, however, French posters featured magnificent, independent designs by poster artists, such as Jean Mascii, Rene Peron, Boris Grinsson, Roger Soubie and others. Printers include Gaillard and Lalande. Re-releases are common and the only way to date original issue French posters is by a combination of the printer??s details, distribution company info and French censors number. Novice collectors should therefore only buy from knowledgeable dealers.
FRENCH 2 PANEL: 126 x 94 inches (240cm x 160cm). Paper stock. Always folded. These are huge landscape format posters that include some of the most visually striking posters ever produced. They were designed for pasting to walls and small bill-boards. Rare.
23.5 x 31.5 inches (60cm x 80cm). Paper stock. Rolled and folded.
12 x 16 inches (30cm x 40cm). Paper stock. Rolled and folded.
FRENCH LOBBY CARDS: 10 x 12 inches, 8.5 x 10.5 (sizes vary). Printed on glossy paper or light card stock. Issued in sets of 8 (occasionally more). Usually contained in a printed envelope.
2 FOGLIO: 39 x 55 inches. Paper stock. Always folded. As with French posters, the attraction of Italian film posters lies in the different, often superior, artwork that was commissioned for their design. Notable Italian poster artists include Anselmo Ballester, Alfredo Capitani and Luigi Martinati. Prior to 1966 they were undated but after that date they carry a ?first edition? or ?year of edition? date. It is important to bear in mind that these are the original dates of release of the film and not necessarily the year of release of the poster. In common with French posters, re-releases are common and quite difficult to distinguish.
4 FOGLIO: 55 x 79 inches. Paper stock. Always folded. Usually issued in 2 sections and intended for pasting to small bill-boards. The 4 Foglio (or Quatro) almost always carries artwork that differs from the 2 Foglio (or Duo) which was often commissioned from a completely different artist.
LOCANDINA: 13 x 28 inches. Paper stock. Usually folded but sometimes rolled. An advance poster corresponding to the U.S. window card, with a blank area at the top for insertion of the cinema name and showing times.
PHOTOBUSTA: 19 x 27 inches. Paper stock. Issued rolled but frequently folded for the purposes of storage. Produced in sets of 10 or, less commonly, 12 - each showing a different scene from the film.
GERMAN A1: 23 x 33 inches. Paper stock. Twice folded. This was the standard West German film poster size from 1945 onwards. East German posters, however, are produced in various different sizes in addition to the standard ones. Unlike East German posters, West German posters are rarely dated after 1945 but from 1953 onwards West German posters carry an FSK stamp. The design of the stamp changed in 1958 and this can be used as an aid to dating. German posters art typically produced by stone-lithography prior to 1945 and by the photo offset process after that date. Leading German poster artists include Rolf Goetze and Bruno Rehak.
GERMAN A0: 33 x 46 inches. Paper stock. Issued folded. This attractive landscape style is quite rare.
GERMAN A2: 16 x 23 inches. Paper stock. Folded. Quite scarce.
GERMAN LOBBY CARDS: 8.5 x 10.6 inches. Printed on paper or card stock and usually issued in sets of 8 but occasionally many more.
23 x 33 inches: Paper stock. Issued in batches that had one horizontal fold across the centre. Examples from the outside of the batch have a less sharp foldline than those from the inside of the batch. This was the standard size until 1977, after which date the size was increased to 26 x 39 inches. Posters produced prior to 1977 were produced on cheaper, thinner paper and are quite delicate. Poland has recently switched to the universal one-sheet format (27 x 40). Polish posters have long been admired for the superior quality of their often innovative and striking artwork. Noted artists include Wiktor Sadowski, Eryk Lipinski and Wieslaw Walkuski. The collector should keep in mind that the first release of foreign films in Poland sometimes took place several years after the film?s release in the country of origin. Re-release posters are also common but these, too, are collectable as new artwork by a different artist was invariably commissioned.