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Did you know... that some early re-release posters are far more rare than the first release posters?

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Added: 02/18/2013

We recently received a question from a collector as follows:

"I have the following question. I have noticed that posters from the re-release of a classic movie have very limited value. Given that everybody agrees that a re-release is an original poster (please correct me if this is not a universal truth!) and given the fact that the re-releases will be viewing in a limited number of cinemas and the number of posters are limited, why don't they have substantial value? I can give an indicative example of the Lawrence re-release 2002 that is also a very nice poster."

RESPONSE FROM BRUCE: This is an excellent question! What you state ("posters from the re-release of a classic movie have very limited value") USED to be very true among collectors, but in recent years it is becoming less and less true!

First, let's make sure we are talking about exactly the same thing. It used to be (in the days before TV, video, and the Internet) that once a movie had finished its original showings in theaters (usually over a space of a couple of years, as it worked its way from first-run theaters to second-run theaters to double-bill theaters and around the world!) it was then pretty much impossible to view ANYWHERE!

So every seven years or so the studios would re-release their movies, and they would of course play for a shorter time and in fewer theaters, for they had to complete with a never-ending flood of new movies, and the main audience for these re-release movies were those who missed it or were too young the first go-round, or those who loved it enough to want to see it again over a first run movie.

For some re-releases, studios would use the same posters as from the first release, but often print them with far less color, to save money. But on others they would create brand-new art and print posters every bit the equal (and in a few cases, superior to) that of the first release poster! And the re-release lobby card sets (if they were different from the first release set, and in full color) would almost always have better scene cards, because by that point they knew for certain what scenes and actors were the most memorable).

But one thing seems certain. In most cases, far fewer theaters showed these re-releases, far fewer posters were created and far fewer have survived! A great example of this is King Kong, where there are lots of surviving posters from the first 1933 release, but next-to-none from the 1938 re-release. But a notable exception to this is Disney. Because their re-releases got a fresh generation of kids every time, they printed tons of re-release posters for most of their re-releases (but even with them, there are some re-releases, like the 1943 Snow White and the 1945 Pinocchio, where those re-release posters are quite rare).

Now all of the above has been about posters for the THEATRICAL re-releases of movies. There are also commercial repros and limited edition prints that are not associated with any showing of the movie, and more recently, the "art house" prints from companies like Alamo Drafthouse and Mondo, and I will discuss all those, and also posters from more recent theatrical re-releases in next week's e-mail club message!

See Also:
Did you know... that some modern theatrical re-releases (as well as art prints and more) of classic movies can be collectible (and sometimes fetch surprisingly high dollars)?
Did you know... that Meet John Doe was quickly re-released two different times?

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