If you want information on an upcoming movie, what do you do? These days, that information is pretty easy to find – even if Wikipedia or IMDB are lacking, most films have an official website with all the information you need. But in the pre-Internet era, and still to an extent today, that information had to be presented as a hard copy. And those promotional materials were called Press Kits.
What’s In A Press Kit?
A press kit, in movie terms, is a package of information about an upcoming film. The bare bones basics it includes are a press release about the film, synopsis of the film, a credits listing, and professional biographies on principle performers and crew members. More detailed kits may include glossy promotional photos or slides, mini posters, information about shooting locations, anything the press might want. The endgame was, of course, to get the press to pass that information on to the general public. Handing them everything they need for their article gets you close to that goal.
What Movies Got Press Kits?
Movies released in theaters, I.E. most movies you’ve probably seen. In the pre-internet era, this was how studios spread the word about upcoming films. They were, effectively, the print versions of modern promotional websites. Whether that press kit is elaborate enough to be interesting is a different question entirely.
It all depends on what came with the kit. We’ve seen plenty of kits that are printed pages in a generic studio folder – a neat collectible but not exactly a display piece. On the other hand, larger releases have branded folders filled with photos and primary source information about the flick. Heck, James Bond movies used to include a 7” single of the movie’s theme song in them!
Do Movies Still Use Press Kits?
Yes, but not to the extent they used to. In this digital age, there are cheaper and faster ways to distribute press kit information than mailing it out. They still play a role, however, as they remain a requirement for film festival submissions. They serve to introduce the film to selection committees and provides the information needed for the film’s entry in the program. Which means the A24 releases the arty youths in your life are loving might just have a classic-style press kit floating around out there.
Press kits serve are a really fun piece of movie memorabilia. They walk the line between “behind the scenes” and “public knowledge”, offering film buffs a real insight into how the studio perceived their favorite films before they hit theaters. They allow non-industry folk to get a peek at the insider perspective, a rare opportunity. And if you’ve got a collection of press kits you’re looking to sell or have evaluated, Back to the Past is here to help! We’re always ready to talk about collectibles, so drop your comments and questions below or hit us up on social media @b2pcollect!