(a/k/a SHOWMAN'S MANUAL, MERCHANDISING MANUAL, ADVERTISING MANUAL, CAMPAIGN
The term pressbook is used generically, but has come
to mean the flyer, pamphlet, booklet or book (released as part of a press
kit or campaign kit which contains certain
information about a particular film. Pressbooks and related press materials
date back to 1910's.
Movie studios release certain information about a film,
its stars, crew, etc. that the theatres and/or film exhibitors can disseminate
to the press. Recognizing that many theatre managers do not have an advertising
background, the major studios design and distribute advertising and press
materials to the theatres to help in the overall promotion of a film.
The pressbook contains whatever information
a studio chooses to release on a particular film. Most include background
information about the film, the actors, the crew and other tidbits about
the film's history. Some contain news articles about the stars' lives outside
of the film. Some press books contain a breakdown of the advertising materials
and merchandising tie-in products that are available to the theatres. Press
books can contain ideas for promotions, radio and TV advertising, newspaper
and magazine advertising, contests and games.
The use of press materials began as early
as the 1910ís. In the beginning, pressbooks came in a variety of shapes,
sizes and forms. They can be anywhere from a small one page flyer folded
in two to an elaborate 50 page bound book, and anywhere in between. They
were also known by a number of different terms, including: "Advertising
Manual," "Showman's Manual," "Merchandising Manual; etc.
Pressbooks are still extensively used
by movie studios as part of their advertising campaign. However, todayís
pressbook has become more standardized. They normally consist of 8"
x 11" sheets, printed in black & white, that are either stapled
or put in a booklet form. Some may contain small pictures throughout. Recently,
some studios have included small color photos throughout their pressbooks.
Press books are also being released in electronic formats, such as cdís
Because the press books can contain
background information on the film and its stars (some information not
being available through any other means), they are considered collectible.
They are also inexpensive, which makes them easier to acquire. Press books
can also be used to help date other movie materials, particularly those
prior to the 1940's which were not dated.