Disney theater posters are quite often in the
middle of controversy. The Disney Studios have always been known
to "march to a different drummer" so to speak.
Several of these controversial points need to be recognized if you're
going to be collecting any of the Disney posters.
First, quite often Disney would change sizes on some of the larger
papers. Especially during the 60's, 70's and 80's, 3 Sheets would
be issued in a 41x78 size instead of the normal 41x81. Similar variations
would occur in other sizes.
Another difference was with the NSS. Sometimes
they issued through them with NSS numbers and sometimes they didn't.
When posters were NOT issued through the NSS, usually Disney would
NOT mark re-releases but instead mark them with the original copyright
year. Many collectors were left scratching their heads trying to
figure out which rerelease it was.
This didn't affect the older releases because
the grade of paper issued in the 40' and 50's is too easy to distinguish
from the 70's and 80's BUT when the original release was in the
70's and 80's it becomes a little more difficult to tell which reissue
Just after the major reduction of the NSS, Disney
seemed to re-release a tremendous amount of their older animation.
More of these seem to be issued through the smaller NSS than previously,
especially between 1985 and 1987.
It seems to be right
after this era of re-releases that Disney realized that the original
theater posters were becoming collectible.
The Disney Studios
started issuing warning letters to the theater managers that they
would penalize any theater that was caught selling or even giving
away their posters.
To try to take control
of the situation, Disney started putting an individual computer
number on the back side of ALL their posters. This '5
digit computer number' is normally found in the lower
right on the back. Until the mids 90's it even appears on their
other studios such as Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures.
In the mid 90's
Disney started realizing that the project was not working so they
reduced the numbering to only the Disney animated posters.
placed another mark on their theater posters. On the back side,
running vertical against the side of the poster, Disney placed an
ownership tag very similar to the old NSS tag or the 20th Century
Fox tag. This tag remained until about 2000.
Since the early
90's, other companies have released licensed Disney posters, such
as Suncoast, and unmarked theater size
reprints from companies like Zig Zag.
Be sure and read
the Suncoast report and look for the markings on the back.