Movie documents are various and numerous on sale. Collecting being a personal matter, everything can be collected of course. But not all documents are considered legitimate collectible movie documents.
Original documents are documents printed for production and exploitation purposes. They are produced by movie studios and are not intended for sale to the public. They are printed in limited number, and their number tends to decrease with time and use (destruction, loss, bad care...), increasing their rarity and value. These historical documents must not be merged with all copies and reproductions existing on the market.
- Main examples of production and preproduction documents, that are used before and during film making : scripts, storyboards and artworks.
- Main examples of exploitation documents, that are used by theatres and media for promotional purposes : movie posters, press kits, pressbooks, press stills and lobbycards.
On the contrary, commercial documents are copies, reproductions (often in other formats) and other goodies, that are produced in larger quantities in order to be sold directly to the public. They are, by definition, easy to provide. Their value is relatively weak and do not evolve with time.
Nevertheless, note that some reproductions can have a great interest for collectors, for example when the original has been destroyed, when their number is very limited, or when it is signed by a member of the film crew.
Why collecting original movie documents ?
The passion for a movie, an artist, a period of time, a style, are as many good reasons to collect original movie documents. They are indeed a unique testimony of the style and of the color of a period, of evolution of fashion and technology. Sometimes, their beauty and rarity make them even similar to work of art. Movie posters and stills, in particular, are beautiful decoration materials that give authenticity to a place. It is not necessary to be a movie expert to appreciate the originality of some visual compositions, but knowing their history give them a particular flavor. Moreover, some collectors really appreciate the fact that these documents were not supposed to be owned by the general public.
Besides their artistic and historical value, original movie documents could be a good investment, because they gain in value with time. Indeed, the movie collectibles market has noticeably grown since the 1970s, especially last years, with on one side an increasing number of collectors, and on the other side, a decreasing number of ancient movie collectibles. Some original movie documents, movie posters in particular, can reach astronomical prices, like these two movie posters : The Black Cat was sold in 2009 for more than 300,000 $ and Métropolis in 2005 for almost 700,000 $ ! (for more information, see chapter on Price evaluation and The most expensive movie posters)