Movie Poster Terminology

Buying and collecting movie posters is great fun whether you are a buying for the first time, a dedicated collector or just looking for a gift for the most ardent film fan.  Having difficulty knowing which poster to buy?  Unsure of the difference between an "original" poster and a "reprint" poster, a "double sided advance" or "single sided regular"?  Below you will find a detailed explanation of the most common terms used to describe movie posters:


An original movie poster is one that is displayed in cinemas/movie theatres to advertise films coming soon and on release.  They are of extremely high quality and usually have a gloss finish but can be finished with a UV coating and even in foil.  The majority of modern movie posters are double sided however single sided posters are still produced.  Original movie posters are very, very different to cheap mass production posters found in high street chain stores.  Production runs of original movie posters vary considerably and are a great investment as they can appreciate in value over time.  For this reason they are highly desirable and collected by fans world wide.


A reprint poster is one that has been reproduced from the original poster.  They are usually commercially produced in high quantities and of the most popular artwork.  They are inexpensive and unlikely to appreciate in value.  Their affordability gives access to any fan who may simply love the artwork but do not wish to invest in an original.

US One Sheet:

US one sheets are of portrait orientation and are distributed to movie theatres/cinemas across the United States and Canada.  US one sheets issued up to the mid 1980's measure approximately 27x41 inches (69x104cm).  Modern US one sheets measure approximately 27x40 inches (69x102cm).

International (One Sheet):

International one sheets are distributed to movie theatres/cinemas outside of the United States and Canada and often feature unique artwork.  Similar to US one sheets, International one sheets issued up to the mid 1980's measure approximately 27x41 inches (69x104cm).  Modern International one sheets measure approximately 27x40 inches (69x102cm)

British Quad:

British quads are of landscape orientation and displayed in cinemas across the United Kingdom.  British quads measure approximately 30x40 inches (76cm x 102cm) approx.

Double Sided:

Double-sided posters have the same artwork on the front and backside. The artwork on the back is reversed (in lighter shading). Double-sided posters are normally printed on a thicker paper than are the single-sided version. These posters are displayed in "light boxes". Because of the reverse artwork on the back, the double-sided printing gives a more life-like look to the poster when a light is placed behind it.

The doubled-sided poster is the result of a very expensive printing process which involves running the initial negative through at normal colour intensity. The poster is then reversed and run back through the presses at a reduced colour intensity, such as 30% to 40% of the initial colour. This is why the artwork on the front is more colourful and detailed than the reverse print on the back.

Single sided:

Double sided movie posters are relatively new.  Older and vintage movie posters will be single sided.  Single sided movie posters are still produced today and are even distributed alongside double sided version.  Single sided does not mean they are not original.

UV Coated/High Gloss:

Movie posters that are ultra violet (UV) coated have a thin film of high gloss giving an incredible eye catching varnish effect.