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When I saw Star Wars in 1977 I was lucky enough to be able to get a souvenir program about the movie, in much the same way that you commonly get for live theater. The program was 18 pages and contained cast member, plot and production details. It looked like this:

Star Wars program handed as a souvenir

Special showings of movies, such as happen in festivals, often have a printed page or brochure about the movie, but I think these used to be quite widely available for big blockbuster movies, especially when they were first shown.

My question is, such souvenirs do not seem to be at all common nowadays. What was the last movie to get a widely available program like this?

  • I don't have a definitive answer, but the last time I personally saw one was when I saw 'Dune' in the theater back in the 80s. – kekekela Feb 13 '13 at 14:06
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    Maybe we need a "Last Occurrence" tag now! ;) – Sayan Feb 13 '13 at 15:27
  • Are you asking about 'worldwide' or only the 'US'? – Oliver_C Mar 4 '13 at 13:09
  • @Oliver_C - I am asking worldwide - but would be particularly interested to know when/if it stopped in the 'western world' as I am from the UK, and live in the USA. – iandotkelly Mar 4 '13 at 14:36
  • @iandotkelly - if you watch this week's Mad Men (S6E05 - The Flood), you'll notice Don reading a copy of "The Ape" - the newspaper at the showing of the film "Planet of the Apes" in 1968. – wbogacz Apr 29 '13 at 22:12
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Don't know how you define widely available or whether you differentiate between a program and a magazine (usually longer), but there was a program produced for Shrek 2 in 2004. There was a 65-page Spiderman Official Movie Souvenir Magazine in 2002. The Fantasia 2000 premiere had a program. Before that was a 12-page book for The Thin Red Line (1998) with Sean Penn and George Clooney, and Godzilla and Lost in Space had souvenir magazines that year as well. Disney sometimes produces programs for premieres.

This information comes from the World Catalog, searching for subject = Motion Picture Program, and sorting by date, descending.

  • Thanks. I guess a magazine does count as a programme - thanks for digging into the World Catalog. – iandotkelly Mar 4 '13 at 14:40
  • Shrek 2 wasn't made or distributed by Disney. – user209 Apr 1 '13 at 17:10
  • And Spiderman was a Sony Pictures production. – Aarthi Apr 16 '13 at 21:34
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In most of Tokyo's big cinemas you can usually buy souvenirs for the main stream movies that are currently playing (magazines, postcards, toys.. it depends on the movie).
So there definitely still are cinemas in the world where you can get a souvenir program for the movie you just watched.

  • Thanks. I am particularly asking about souvenir programmes, not just souvenirs. Magazines may count as a programme. – iandotkelly Mar 4 '13 at 14:37

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