Three sheets measure 41" x 81" and are printed
on paper. They got their name from the fact that they were originall three
times the size of the one sheet (27x41). Sometimes
they were issued in more than one style, with one style featuring the same
artwork as the one sheet. Three sheets were quite often printed in two pieces
cut horizontally which, when put together, made one display. In these instances,
the bottom part of the poster is normally 41" x 54" and the top
part is the size of a one sheet (27" x 41").
are some size exceptions. For example: the Disney Studio has been known to
put out some of their 3 sheets in a 41x78 size instead of the normal 41x81.
You'll find this more common in the 60's and 70's. A few other studios did
experiment with that size as well.
As with other large size paper, three sheets are meant
to be viewed from a distance. As such, the artwork is usually coarser looking
and lacks the clarity and crispness of the smaller paper.
Click HERE for Size Comparison
Three sheets were originally utilized in the circus and vaudeville.
They were first introduced in the cinema around 1912, when movies went from
one reel to two and used for larger displays.
Three sheets were a main tool in the advertising arsenal until the 1980's.
Prior to this time, most theatres had just one screen and one feature movie.
A lot more advertising attention was given to each movie, with the theatre
lobbies being covered with various sizes of advertising materials for the
one feature presentation. With the advent of multiscreen, multiplex theatres,
the same lobby advertising space had to be divided among all the films being
shown. As a consequence of this, movie studios opted to phase out of most
of the standard sizes and focus on one-sheets,
mini sheets, standees,
AS A COLLECTIBLE
Because of their larger size and the fact that they can come
in two pieces, they are not as popular with most collectors as are the smaller
sized posters. If a three sheet was issued in two pieces, both pieces are
required to make the poster collectible.
There are certain collectors that only collect the larger
sized posters. They like the fact that they were printed in smaller numbers,
meaning that fewer are available on the market. Because of their size, quite
often there are additional stars pictured on the three sheet that are not
on the smaller size posters.
Three sheets are particularly popular with different types
of clubs because they can make an entire wall display based on a particular
"theme" with one poster.
For a list of images of three sheets in our archive, click here.