Most films in the UK from the major distributors would come accompanied by a campaign booklet which would be sent to the exhibitors and theatre (cinema) owners. Sometimes called a press kit, very simply this was a catalogue of all the marketing and publicity material that could be used to promote the film, and which could be ordered from the distributor; information about the film that could be used in local PR activity, and sometimes ideas as to how to excite the local audience.
Released in October 1962, Dr No was an unknown property. Would it be successful? Or would it be a flop? United Artists the distributor wanted to put some effort behind it but hedged its bet and hence the resulting campaign booklet was quite thin.
Pages from the campaign booklet.
When you opened a newspaper or sometimes a magazine, the adverts for a film were provided by and paid for by the local exhibitor and cinema owner. In turn they had obtained the ads from the film’s distributor, in the instance of the Bond films by United Artists of course, in the form of an advertising block which they then sent to the newspaper for insertion. Usually, the distributor would provide them for a minimal price, sometimes for free.
The blocks came in different sizes so that they could suit both the exhibotors budget – obviously the bigger the block the costlier the insertion – and the column size of the newspaper. (The block would have to fit whatever the column width was for the newspaper.)
Usually the block was not used as a standalone item but formed the dominant part of a cinema’s advertisement for the films it was showing that week.
Focussing on Dr No, initially exhibitors in the UK were reluctant to use the blocks for the film as they had no clue as to whether the film would be successful and hence why spend more money promoting it. In the example below, a block forms part of the ABC Central Reading’s advertisement featuring The Premature Burial and Ordered to Love but the Gaumont like most cinemas just lists Dr No.
However in the example below from the Marylebone Mercury 5 October 1962, Top Rank have included a block within their advertisement where it is playing at six of their cinemas in London.
In fact in October 1962 when the film first came out, using an additional block was the exception rather than the rule, and when one was used it was usually by the bigger organisations such as Rank.
This is one of a number of posts about Dr No. The others can be seen in the Dr No category as listed.
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