A Quick Guide to Authenticity: The Concept of Originals
Given the vastness of the market, there truly is something for everyone when it comes to collecting movie posters. As such, it’s easy to find a cinematic treasure no matter where your interests lie (or how small your budget may be).
The only difficulty is knowing where to start, and the concept of what actually constitutes an ‘original’ can throw a lot of new collectors.
In a nutshell, it simply means that the poster was issued for use in promoting or advertising a film – usually in theaters – and not for general sale to the public.
Confusingly however, while nearly all original posters were at one time issued by the National Screen Service, there are a handful movie posters which have been issued by another party (such as by the studio, directly studio or a third-party promo company) and they are still considered to be original. In fact, an even smaller portion of these were never meant to be seen by the public and were intended for industry-insider eyes only. Given their very limited release and circulation, these can be highly desirable and crop up from time to time in forgotten collections and on display in LA film schools.
To further complicate matters, most NSS-issued posters have their own NSS number, usually stamped or printed near the bottom. But a word of warning: a poster can be an original without an NSS number, and just because a movie poster has one doesn’t mean it’s genuine (since the tag is easily faked).
Re-issues, Re-releases and Re-strikes
In terms of originality, it mainly boils down to how ‘authorized’ the poster is; as such, the term ‘reprint’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘fake’ if the print run was conducted by the NSS in an official capacity, and would therefore be an original. Of course, there are plenty of unauthorized reprints out there which are not to be considered originals. These are generally made by fraudsters looking to sell them as the real deal, and are generally easy to identify if you know what you’re looking for.
What aren’t easy to identify are NSS re-strikes, which are authorized but in this case not considered to be original. These were intentionally printed for sales purposes by the NSS or the studio behind a movie, and since they come from the same source, look virtually identical. But as they were mass-produced and not intended for theater display reasons, these are not ‘original’ in any sense and are unfit for investment purposes.
Re-releases are another matter altogether. In the event of a movie’s cinematic re-release (usually a massively popular film), a new poster will be issued to go with it. It can vary massively from the original or not at all, but either way it’s still an ‘original’ in its own right albeit slightly less desirable (in a collectibility sense, at least).
One telling mark is that a re-release poster generally has an ‘R’ prefixing the NSS number.
A Quick Word on Fakes
Avoiding shady or unverifiable sellers is essential if you’re serious about steering clear of fakes. Without naming names, as a general rule online auction sites can act as the primary hunting grounds for scammers. As mentioned, for the most part they’re easy to spot but as technology (and determination) progresses some fraudsters even fool seasoned experts from time to time. Some notable examples:
- Kerry Haggard was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison in 2012 following a string of high-quality poster frauds over the course of seven years. Along with an alleged accomplice (who protested innocence and was never charged), Haggard sold numerous desirable poster replicas convincing enough to pass at auction, nine of which sold for $93k.
- Thomas Rega very nearly got away with a sale of three ultra-rare posters at auction – including a Dracula style B one-sheet – before the elaborate fake was uncovered at the last moment. The Dracula poster alone, if sold, was estimated to fetch around $225,000.
- If you think it’s a skill faking existing posters to indistinguishable standards, consider the work of Pascal Witaszek. In a light-hearted example of poster fakery, Witaszek’s imagining of a non-existent Walt Disney biopic was so credible it started a viral buzz in which scores of people believed it to be a real upcoming movie. Sadly, it’s not.
Don’t Be Put Off – Start Building a Collection Today
Whether you’re looking for something to simply hang on the wall or for a serious memorabilia investment, we take the hard work of authentication out of the equation. Allmoviereplicas.com offer a great range of guaranteed original posters, all of which are in mint condition in a variety of styles and prices.
Movie posters make for superb talking points in a home and with prices as low as $30, they can also serve as thoughtful gifts. In addition, not only can movie posters serve as a fairly solid alternative investment, they provide immediate gratification upon receipt; unlike buying a bottle of 1959 Chateau d’Yquem and keeping it locked in a hermetically sealed box for years, movie posters don’t require any special storage (for the most part) and can be displayed without fear of damaging your investment.
The OnlineMBA.com has an interesting one minute video illustrating some of the economic and entertainment impact of the The Lord of the Rings series and the recently released movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Check it out and see what you think.
Release date: December 19, 2012 (Selected Theaters), January 11, 2013 (Wide Release) Running time: 157 minutes Genre: Thriller, Drama Director: Kathryn Bigelow Studio: Annapurna Pictures Screenplay: Mark Boal Producer(s): Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez Official Site:zerodarkthirty-movie.com Rating:R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images and strong language Available film art:Zero Dark Thirty movie posters
Synopsis:Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the search for al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden following the September 11, 2001 attacks, and his subsequent death at the hands of the U.S. Navy SEALS in May 2011.
Release date: December 14, 2012 (Wide in 3D/3D theaters and Imax 3D Runtime: 2 hr. 46 min. Genre: Fantasy, Adventure Director: Peter Jackson Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Screenplay: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro Producer(s): Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy, Barry Humphries, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Manu Bennett, Conan Stevens Official Site:thehobbit.com Rating:PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening images Available film art:The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie posters
Synopsis:In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo Baggins is swept up in an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which Smaug the dragon had conquered a long time ago. The wizard Gandalf, pays Bilbo an unexpected visit and before he knows it, Bilbo agrees to join a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield.
The journey takes them through treacherous lands swarming with goblins and orcs, deadly wargs and giant spiders, shapeshifters and sorcerers and ultimately leads Baggins to finds a magical gold ring tied to the fate of all Middle-earth.
Release date: November 23, 2012 (Limited) Runtime 1 hr. 38 min. Genre: Drama Director: Sacha Gervasi Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures Screenplay: John J. McLaughlin, Stephen Rebello Producer(s): Tom Thayer, Tom Pollock, Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck, Alan Barnette Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, James D’Arcy Official Site:foxsearchlight.com/hitchcock Rating:PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material. Available film art:Hitchcock movie posters
Synopsis: Anthony Hopkins plays Alfred Hitchcock in the upcoming self-titled biographical drama, Hitchcock. The movie is essentially a romance as it focuses on the relationship between the director and his wife Alma Reville during the making of the horror movie, Psycho. Hitchcock’s motivation for the horror was the Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, who was the inspiration for the Norman Bates character.
Release date: November 21, 2012 (Wide) Genre: Animation, Family, Action, Adventure Director: Peter Ramsey, William Joyce Studio: Paramount Studios Screenplay: David Lindsay-Abaire Producer(s): Christina Steinberg, Nancy Bernstein Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law Official Site:riseoftheguardians.com Rating:PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action Available film art:Rise of the Guardians movie posters
Synopsis:In Rise of the Guardians, five well-known and well-loved childhood heroes (each with their own special powers) join forces to stop an evil spirit known as Pitch (a.k.a. The Boogeyman). Pitch is on a quest to take over the world. The five Guardians must stop him because at risk are the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.
Release date: November 9th in select theaters and November 16, 2012 (Wide) Genre: Drama Running Time: 2 hrs. 29 min. Director: Steven Spielberg Studio: DreamWorks Pictures and 20th Century Fox Screenplay: Tony Kushner Producer(s): Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones Official Site:thelincolnmovie.com Rating:PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong lanuage. Available film art:Lincoln movie posters
Synopsis: Starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, Lincoln focuses on the final months of the the 16th President’s term in office. Despite running into bigotry at every turn, Lincoln and his men work feverishly to end the Civil War and abolish slavery once and for all in the United States of America.
Release date: November 2, 2012 (Wide) Genre: Animation, Family, Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min. Director: Rich Moore Studio: Walt Disney Pictures Screenplay: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee Producer(s): Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone, Stacey Sher Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio, Ed O’Neill, Dennis Haysbert, Adam Carolla, Rachael Harris, Edie McClurg, Horatio Sanz, Stefanie Scott Official Site:disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph Rating:PG-13 for some rude humor and mild action/violence. Available film art:Wreck it Ralph movie posters
Synopsis: Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes, so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan, win a medal. But he soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope is Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?
Release date: January 11, 2013 (Wide release) Genre: Drama, Crime Director: Ruben Fleischer Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Producer(s): Kevin McCormick, Michael Tadross, Dan Lin Screenplay: Will Beall Cast: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Emma Stone, Sean Penn Official Site:gangstersquad.warnerbros.com Rated:R: for strong vilolence and language. Official Movie Art:Gangster Squad Movie Posters
Synopsis: In Gangster Squad Mickey Coen (Sean Penn) is a ruthless mob boss, who has taken over the city of Los Angeles in the 1940s. He has his hands in everything such as drugs, guns, prostitution and wire betting. Nothing or no one is safe becasue he has the police and politicians under his control. Only a small secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) are brave enough to stand up to him, and together they attempt to destroy Cohen’s empire. Gangster Squad is inspired by Paul Lieberman’s seven part Los Angeles Times series, Tales From the Gangster Swuad.
Release date: October 26, 2012 (Wide release) Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Drama, Adventure Runtime: 2 hr. 43 min. Director: Andy Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures Producer(s): Tom Tykwer, Grant Hill, Lana Wachowski, Stefan Arndt, Andy Wachowski Screenplay: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant Official Site:cloudatlas.warnerbros.com Rated:R: for violence, language, sexuality, nudity and some drug use. Official Movie Art:Cloud Atlas Movie Posters
Synopsis:Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another throughout the past, the present and the future. Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.