Newspaper Movie Ads of Yesteryear #5 – Held Over!

Before cinemaplexes and mass bookings films use to play at one theater for more than a couple of weeks. In New York and other large cities a film could run for months even years in the case of a blockbuster like Ben-Hur which ran for two years on Broadway at the Loew’s State. The theme of this edition of old movie ads is just that, films that seems to run forever at one theater.

click on image to enlarge


8 comments on “Newspaper Movie Ads of Yesteryear #5 – Held Over!

  1. addie says:

    Very interesting, movies held over for monthes or years??
    When I was a kid, before DVDs and before VCRs (I’m 45),
    a movie was just held in a theatre for one or two weeks, or maybe for a few extra, that I recall.
    Even with DVDs, I would go to a theatre to see, say, “Escape From Fort Bravo,” on a big screen many times if I could, or, “Action in the North Atlantic!
    You know what I mean?? lol

    Nothing out now is worth even a weekend. Phooey!

    Nothing now would be worth it!


    • John Greco says:

      Part of it is the distribution. Years ago films played in big cities for weeks or months at one or two theaters building up word of mouth. Today, two, three thousand prints are made for the opening weekend. There is no subsitute for watching a film on the big screen. It is still magical! Thanks Addie!


  2. John, I’m reading Tino Balio’s new book, The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens, 1946-73, which makes much of the long runs of Open City and Paisan. My one regret about the book so far is that it doesn’t include any of the advertising art that Balio describes in detail. Thanks for filling in the gap.

    On the immediate subject, I remember a local multiplex in the spring of 1978 (a multiplex was 4 screens then) marking a year of Star Wars’ initial run with what looked like studio ad art showing a birthday cake and some character toys. I doubt we’ll ever see anything like that again.


    • John Greco says:

      Samuel, the book sounds fascinating. I just looked it up on Amazon and may have to purchase a copy. It covers a great period for foreign films in the U.S.

      I agree, I doubt we’ll see long runs like that anymore. 1978 was just about the beginning of the home video age (it may have been a year or so later) Either way, VCR’s were expensive at the time ($1,000) and so were the tapes ($59 to $79) so a monumental hit like STAR WARS drew the young audiences into theaters for repeated viewings. Today a film like that (Avatar?) is already out on DVD/BluRay. Thanks!!!


  3. Judy says:

    A great aray of ads. I’d never come across these kinds of very long runs before – I’m now wondering if this happened in London too, though of course in the sort of country area where I live, there were so few screens that any extended run would be impossible! I don’t think home videos really caught on in the UK until the early 1980s – I remember a video player was so expensive that you really had to rent it rather than buying!


    • John Greco says:

      Judy, With its theater district. it is possible London may have had long runs, can’t say for sure. And yes, video players back in those early, and expensive days were rented here too at some stores. Thanks!!!


  4. Sam Juliano says:

    I was just ready to add my surprise at the nearly one-year runs of the Rossellini films, but I see Samuel has insightfully broached it. Durng the holidays these time capsule posts are most appreciated. I’m always going back to these days in my mind, when I re-watch a Golden Age classic.


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