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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 1910s. 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, todays 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 cds and videotape.


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.




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