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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.


As far as its contents, no two press kits are alike. However, most press kits will contain a few "staple" items. These may include:

Ad Slicks

Advertising blocks in differing sizes that are prepared and ready for submission to newspaper or magazine

Advertising aids

A listing of advertising materials and merchandising tie-in products.

Black & White Press Stills

Black and white pictures of the stars in certain scenes with full credit information on the bottom. These can be used in a variety of ways for promotional purposes.


A book or booklet that normally gives a complete background of the movie, its stars, crew and any interesting information that could be used in press releases

More elaborate press kits may contain any of the following:


Buttons to be distributed to movie patrons or at outside marketing events.


Hats, T-shirts, stickers, cards, etc. used as giveaways or special promotions.

Poster Samples

Some press kits will come with a one-sheet, mini-sheet or other size poster for use in the theatre lobby.

Screening Tickets

Special screening passes to be a part of an initial screening.


Color slides of scenes from the movie that can be used at special promotions.

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.


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 the presentation.


Press kits were distributed by movie studios as early as the 1910s, 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 are alike.

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.


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 materials.


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