The big ape is back on the big screen thanks to Peter Jackson’s remake of the classic 1933 movie, but did he really ever go away? King Kong memorabilia and particularly the movie posters issued to advertise the films have been hot collector items for years. These posters include not only the original 1933 movie, but the subsequent re-releases of the film, the spin-off movies such as "King Kong vs. Godzilla," and even the widely panned 1976 remake starring Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange.
"If you can find one, an original 1933 King Kong poster in mint condition can easily demand six figures," comments Joe Burtis, the Director of Client Services at the Motion Picture Arts Gallery located in East Rutherford, NJ. "The world record for a King Kong poster was achieved at Sotheby’s in 1999 for a whopping $244,500. This iconic poster of King Kong crushing an airplane was in perfect condition and measured a huge 41 by 81 inches. Even the lobby cards from the original movie can cost a collector some serious cash. One example was sold at Christie’s in 1997 for over $4,000."
King Kong posters that were issued for the subsequent re-releases of the movie as well as those done for foreign markets can also fetch jaw-dropping prices. The French version of the Josef Fenneker design of Kong hovering over the New York skyline brought over $14,000 at auction. "We currently have a 1942 reissue of the original poster at the Motion Picture Arts Gallery. The movie was re-released at least four times after 1933 and each time the studio also reissued the posters to promote the movie. Since the original 1933 poster is almost impossible to find, these reissued printings are becoming increasingly valuable," says Joe.
So, will the posters for the newest King Kong movie be as valuable someday? Joe Burtis believes that it is not entirely impossible. "While you won’t be seeing six figure prices for the 2005 posters any time soon, there is no reason why these posters might eventually become quite valuable. It all depends on how many are printed, how many survive over time and in what condition."
About Joe Burtis:
In 1994 Joe Burtis joined the Motion Picture Arts Gallery as the Director of Client Services. Today, Joe is responsible for all appraisals, exhibitions, and acquisitions at the MPA Gallery. He is also a noted expert in Film Noir posters.
About Motion Picture Arts Gallery:
For over twenty years the Motion Picture Arts Gallery has been the premier movie poster gallery in the New York area. Founded in 1982 by Ira M. Resnick, the Gallery operates on the belief that motion picture art – especially film and movie posters – is timeless and enduring. The Motion Picture Arts Gallery’s collection spans the entire 100 years of cinema with a particular focus in vintage and Film Noir posters. The gallery’s new location is in East Rutherford, New Jersey, fifteen minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel and twenty minutes from Newark. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or by appointment. Call 201-635-1444 or visit www.mpagallery.com for more information.