I've been a big fan of movie posters since I can remember, and whenever I can spare a few bucks, I like to buy some of my favorites for my little collection.
I don't purchase anything insane, no original Universal horror posters, or a huge foreign poster rebuilt online that can cost thousands of dollars. Really, my tastes are pretty simple and relatively inexpensive, but it is fascinating to hear what people who have big money are willing to spend for a rare poster that could go up into five or even six figures.
The German sci-fi classic Metropolis showed an incredible vision of the future, but could it have predicted that a sheet of paper would one day be worth nearly a million dollars?
Yes, the poster for Metropolis broke the record for most valuable movie poster, there are very few existing copies in the world, and now if you've got $850,000 you can buy the last available copy.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, a site called The Movie Poster Exchange is selling a Metropolis poster for that price, and it's the only one in the free world available to buy. The Reporter claims that Leonardo DiCaprio may have one, and two other copies are in museums, The Museum of Modern Art and the Austrian national Library.
The poster that's for sale is the foreign edition, which is 41x81, although any original poster from this film would be a welcome purchase for any serious cinema collector with the money considering the rarity. The last time a Metropolis poster sold, it went for $690,000, which is still the record for a movie poster, although if anyone buys the current one that's available, obviously that will become the next world record. (One even sold on Ebay for $200,000).
As the Reporter points out, there were a lot of posters made in the '20's and '30's, but many of them wound up in the trash, because nobody considered them art or thought they would become collectable. It would take the tremendous success of another sci-fi film, Star Wars, to actually create the modern poster market because everything associated with that film sold like crazy, including the many posters designs that were created by artists Drew Struzan, and the Brothers Hildebrandt.
Thankfully none of the Star Wars posters, including the Revenge of the Jedi posters which were later retitled to Return, are worth anywhere near the Metropolis price - which will probably take another fifty years, and there's thankfully still plenty of Star Wars posters you can buy on EBay and through dealers that will only set you back a few hundred to a few thousand bucks.