Attractive but not competitive
By Arith Leung
The market for film posters is expected to shrink, with the increasing popularity of postcards and use of the Internet.
Film posters are not made for the consumer market, but they nevertheless wind up in some shopping malls.
Miss Siu is the spokeswoman for the marketing department of China Star Entertainment Company.
“Though some shops sell film posters, like those in the Sino Center in Mong Kok, they are not official sales outlets for our posters,?Miss Siu said.
“These shop owners queue for posters when film companies distribute them for promotion,?she said.
Peter Chan, owner of a shop selling movie-related products said, “Film posters are welcomed by customers. We sell about 10 posters a week, on average.
“Posters of both local and foreign movies are popular, especially for movie stars like Tony Leung and Tom Cruise,?he added.
Prices of posters vary greatly.
“If a film is popular, its posters are relatively more expensive.
“For instance, posters and other associated products for the movie Needing You are always out of stock,?said the shop owner.
Not only pop stars attract buyers, but also award-winning films. These push prices up.
“If a film wins any awards, the price of its posters increases.
“After the movie Comrades: Almost Love Story won awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, some of its posters sold for $200 each,?said Mr. Chan.
However, selling film posters is not as easy as before.
“The main reason for the shrinking poster market is the large size of the posters,? he said.
Miss Siu said that the standard size for posters is 29 by 36 inches.
The shop owner said the large size makes it hard for posting, especially with the limited space of most residential flats in Hong Kong.
“Many buyers prefer small, beautiful postcards, which facilitate storage.
“Postcards have become popular because they include different scenes of movies rather than just one scene. Besides, buyers buy a series of postcards at a lower price.
Mr. Chan said that the current prices of posters are still high to many people.
Mr. Peter Leung is a moviegoer.
“A beautiful film poster can make me want to see that movie. But I don’t buy film posters because they are expensive,?he said.
The shop owner justified his prices this way: “Many customers are not willing to spend about $150 to buy a poster because they think they are not worth it.
“However, if we don’t charge that price, we cannot cover the cost.
“Because we have to hire people to queue for posters, we have to set a higher price to compensate the cost,?he added.
Still, there are loyal collectors.
“I am a fan of Tony Leung and I have seen nearly all his movies,?said Miss Monique Yau, a movie fan.
“I have bought many posters of movies featuring Tony Leung despite the high price.
“Of course, I would buy more posters if the prices were lower,?she said.
With the limitations of posters and substitutes like postcards, the shop owner is not optimistic about the prospects for sales in the future.
Besides, the Internet allows transactions in cyberspace. Buyers can even download posters as wallpaper for their computer monitors.
“Posters will become less and less popular. Their decline is unavoidable,?lamented Mr. Chan.