The term "press kit"
is a generic term which has come to mean a specific group of materials
distributed to movie theatres or film exchanges to help advertise
and promote a film. The main purpose of a press kit was to give movie
theatres and exhibitors "tools" or "ideas" that could be used for
press releases, promotions, contests, advertising suggestions, etc.
In other words, a press kit was provided to help the theatre or film
distributor with ideas on how to create a successful film campaign,
i.e., - how to get movie goers into their theatres.
WHAT’S INSIDE A PRESS KIT?
As far as its contents, no two press
kits are alike. However, most press kits will contain a few "staple"
items. These may include:
More elaborate press
kits may contain any of the following:
to be distributed to movie patrons or at outside marketing events.
T-shirts, stickers, cards, etc. – used as giveaways or special
press kits will come with a one-sheet,
mini-sheet or other size poster
for use in the theatre lobby.
screening passes to be a part of an initial screening.
slides of scenes from the movie that can be used at special
In short, press kits
are designed by the studios on an individual basis depending on the
film. Their final form and content are based solely on the movie studio's
overall advertising campaign, and its vision for the film and its
potential box-office success.
PRESSKITS OF TODAY
The presskits of today have evolved
from the presskits of years gone by. Now major studios release Digital
Presskits or Interactive Digital Presskits. These contain basically
the same material, such as; images, promotions, and full color pressbook
with backgrounds and sales material. The only difference is that they
are on a cd instead of paper. This gives the studios the ability to
present a wider variety of information without the bulky presskits
of old, therefore cutting cost.
Interactive presskits lets the theater
manager have the standard Digital material PLUS automatically link
to a specially prepared website to present special material to them.
This gives the studios the freedom to continually update and add to
Press kits were distributed by movie
studios as early as the 1910’s, but were usually referred to at that
time as campaign kits. Although the terms
are used interchangeably, most campaign kits were issued for major
motion pictures and were therefore more comprehensive than those kits
known today as "press kits."
The form that the press kit took and
the items that were a part of it varied from film to film and studio
to studio. The movie studios would outline a national campaign based
on the potential success of the film and would design their advertising
materials accordingly. The early press kits came in all shapes and
sizes. Since the 1980's, many of the film studios have standardized
their press kits to some extent, but to this day, no two press kits
Beginning in the 1980's, most major
studios put their press materials in a folder. If the film is expected
to be a hit, the press kit cover will normally contain the name and/or
logo of the film. Most major studios have a standard cover with the
studio's name only that they use for all of their minor releases.
Some studios will even issue one press kit for a series of movies,
i.e., a studio's planned summer releases or winter releases. In this
case, the press kit cover will normally just contain the studio's
name and logo.
Press kits from smaller studios may
not even come in a cover. Sometimes the materials are simply placed
in an envelope and mailed to the theatres or film distributors.
Because a film's success depends so
heavily on its advertising campaign, press kits are as important today
as they were in the beginning of the film industry. As such, they
are extensively used by most motion picture studios, both large and
small. In fact, there are very few films distributed that are not
accompanied by some type of press kit, in one form or another, to
help the theatres promote the film.
AS A COLLECTIBLE
Press kits are very popular collectibles
because they give so much information about the movie and its cast.
In addition, they sometimes contain stills, slides or other promo
items that are not for sale to the public. Press kits are affordable
and easier to obtain (particularly with older movie classics).
Press kits also give great insight
into the history of a film. Since many of the early posters were not
dated, press kits can be used to determine the age of certain movie
posters, and are therefore an extremely helpful tool for dating movie