The Film Art Gallery Movie Poster Size Guide
Movie posters were printed in a number of different sizes and shapes in the era from 1910 through 1980. The most common format for movie posters has always been the One Sheet. Up until around 1985, the typical One Sheet measured 27" x 41”; since then, the standard size has been 27” x 40”
From the One Sheet size originated the terms used to denote the other larger size posters. The Three Sheet (41" x 81") was called this as it was approximately the size of 3 One Sheets placed side by side on their vertical side. The next larger size was the Six Sheet (81" x 81"), and was the size of (3) Three Sheets placed side by side on their vertical sides. And finally, the Twenty-Four Sheet which is the size of a billboard, nine foot by twenty foot, or 106" x 234".
Below is a list of the terms used to describe standard movie poster sizes
Lobby Card: (11" x 14") Printed in sets of eight on card stock paper for display in theater lobbies. In most cases, the Title Lobby Card showed the production credits and poster artwork and the other seven cards featured scenes from the film. However, many Lobby Card Sets from the 1960’s onward strayed from this formula by doing away with the Title Card and border artwork, resulting in Lobby Card Sets of eight photographic images
Window Card: (14" x 22") Produced on heavy cardboard stock, these were small posters used in shop windows to advertise the upcoming or showing feature film. They typically had a blank white imprint area of approximately 4 inches at the top of the card for the theater's name and date of showing. This size was phased out circa 1977
Jumbo Window Card: (22" x 28") These were oversized versions of the standard window card also printed on cardboard stock. These cards were produced in far fewer numbers and, therefore, are much more rare. These size was phased out in the mid-to-late 1950’s.
Insert: (14" x 36") Printed on card stock paper, these posters were often folded in thirds, and are very popular among collectors. This size existed until around 1985
Half Sheet: (22" x 28") Printed on card stock paper, the studios often printed two styles of this size. One style would be identical to the Title Lobby Card. These posters were often a photographic and artwork combination and were displayed in the lobby of the theater.
One Sheet: (27" x 41") This size is most recognizable as the standard movie poster and the size most popular among collectors. These posters were printed on a thin paper stock and were usually displayed in front of the theater or in the lobby. Almost always implemented by studio hired artists and illustrators, they would give a bold display of title, credits, and outstanding illustrations of star portraits or a graphic depiction of the film's story line. The studios often printed several different styles of posters for one film, among which might include a “Teaser” or “Advance,” to be issued prior to the release of the film to attract potential audience attention. This size became popular in the early 1900s, and remained so until the size was shortened around 1985 to the typical 27" x 40." The One Sheet prior to 1980 was almost always found folded in eighths with one vertical fold and two horizontal folds, and after 1980 were sent to theaters rolled.
Three Sheet: (41" x 81") Printed on a thin paper stock, these posters were intended to normally be posted outside of the theater. They were printed in two or three pieces in which the artwork had to be aligned at the time of display. For the bigger release films there would sometimes be two different style Three Sheets printed. In the early 1970s studios began to produce Three Sheets in one piece and by the early 1980s had phased out the printing of this size poster altogether. The larger posters were printed in far fewer quantities than the one sheet and are more rare than the smaller posters.
Six Sheet: (81" x 81") Printed on thin paper stock in four different pieces, these posters were displayed outdoors as a small billboard. They were to be put together and aligned upon display and often featured artwork altogether different than the other posters. These posters were sent to theaters folded and were often displayed using wallpaper glue, rendering them unusable for future use. These posters were printed in far fewer numbers than almost any of the other posters and due to the display and use, far fewer of these posters have survived. Often, due to the large size, these posters are very impressive works of art.
Twenty-Four Sheet: (246" x 108") These huge posters were produced to be used as billboard art and usually came printed in 12 sections. They were printed on standard paper stock and were usually destroyed after the display of the poster. Very few Twenty-Four sheet posters have survived for any films and almost none for films produced before 1950. These are some of the rarest posters in the hobby.
40" x 60": Studios began printing these in the early 1930s on a thin paper stock, this poster is the size the name suggests and was usually rolled when sent to the theater. By the 1940's, the 40" x 60"s began being produced on a heavy card stock, in off-set lithography and remained so up until their demise in the early 1980s. In the 1960s these posters became just larger copies of the one sheet, which could be put on an easel to display in large areas. 40" x 60" posters were printed in limited numbers and few survived. Due to their sturdiness, the 40” x 60” & 30” x 40” size posters were often used in outdoor situations, such as drive-ins.
30" x 40": These posters like the 40" x 60" were printed on a card stock and were normally sent rolled to the theaters. This size began to be printed in the 1930's and gained in popularity in the 1950s as theater owners found them more durable than One Sheets as they were almost identical to the later in artwork.
Door Panels: (20" X 60") Tall, vertical panels, printed on thin stock paper and most often sold in sets of four or six for the more prominent feature releases by the studios. They were to be displayed on the doors of the theater and featured their own unique artwork. More often than not, one panel would feature the title of the film and the other panels would be the stars or scenes from the film. These sets were rarely sold to theater owners, presumably due to expense, and consequently are very rare and very collectible.
Subway: (29” x 45” & 45” x 59”) These can be found for some titles in the 1950’s, though they are more common for films from the 1960’s to today. They are on standard paper stock. These posters were and are usually used in mass transit station displays. They will often feature a variation on the “Advance” poster art, and in the 1960’s/1970’s they typically included the (usually NYC area) theaters where the film was to premiere or given a wider release. Sometimes referred to as Two Sheets, they are printed in limited numbers and are very collectible.
Stills: (8" x 10") or (11" x 14") Black and White glossy stills printed on photo paper have been around since the beginning. They were commonly sent to the press to promote the release of a film. The stills would usually have descriptive information typed on paper and pasted or stapled to the back.
Heralds: These were small paper flyers that varied in size from 5" x 7" to 6" x 9", and were printed on both sides. They might be just a single page or a fold-over of several pages. They were sold via the press book and bought in groups of thousands by theater owners to give away all over town in advance of the film's opening. The theater and dates of the showing were usually printed on them by local printers. They were printed as early as the 1910s up to the early 1980s.
Programs: Multi-page, hardbound or paperback booklets filled with scenes from film and much background information on production. These were created for major movie releases and sold in lobbies of first run movie theatres.
Random poster sizes vary a great deal, and are more typically - though not always - produced for independent films.
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Daybill: 13" x 30", printed on thin paper and usually folded twice horizontally
One Sheet: Generally 27" x 40"
Three Sheet: Generally 41" x 81" similar to US Three Sheets but with the addition of the Australian Censor Blurb.
Quad: 40" x 30", printed on paper stock; the standard British poster and horizontally formatted.
Double Crown (dc): 20" x 30", printed on paper stock.
1 sheet: 27" x 40". Not as common as the Quad.
3 Sheet: 41" x 81". Not as common as the US 3-sheet.
Locandina: 13” x 27”
Photobusta or fotobusta (fb): 19” x 27” Glossy, high quality lithographs, used as lobby cards in Europe. Size may vary. May be either vertical or horizontal format.
1 Foglio aka Soggettone aka Double Photobusta: 27” x 37”, glossy finish
2 Foglio (Due): 39” x 55” Standard Italian poster size.
4 Foglio (Quattro): 55” x 78” Large poster printed in 2 pieces, also a standard Italian size
Mini: 40 x 55 cm (app. 16” x 22”); but the size may vary considerably.
Small (aka Petite): 60 cm x 80 cm (app. 23.5” x 31.5”)
Medium 80 x 120 cm (app. 31”x47”); a fairly rare size, often used for small releases or re-releases
1 Panel (aka Grande): 120 cm x 160 cm (app 47” x 63”) This is the standard French poster
8 Panneaux: 4 m x 3 m (158” x 118”) Used above the marquee in large French cinemas.
A0: 84 x 118 cm or 33” x 46” (may be vertical or horizontal format).
A1: 59 x 84 cm or 23” x 33”; this is the most common German size.
A2: 59 x 42 cm or 17” x 24”
B0 - 40" x 58" - printed in relatively low quantities and for only select films
B1 - 29" x 40" . Most often this is a double size version of the B2 which would make it vertical, but sometimes it is presented horizontal with different artwork.
B2 - 20" x 28.5” - the standard Japanese size
STB - 20" x 57”, consists of 2 sheets of 'B2' posters (one above the other) These are sometimes called 'Tatekan' posters and were discontinued in the 1970’s. They are rarer and more valuable than the standard B2 size
Czechoslovakia: 23” x 33” and 11” x 16”
Belgian posters measured 24" x 33" before 1939; from around 1950 onward, they are usually about 14" x 22", and can be either horizontal or vertical format
Polish posters are mostly the same size as the German A1, but, because of paper shortages during the years of Soviet occupation, the posters are not uniform as to size, paper or color.
ALL DIMENSIONS ARE APPROXIMATE