We come across the first illustrated movie advertisements in the cinema magazines that began appearing in the Ottoman period. The use of newspapers and magazines as a promotional medium increases especially after the 1950s. It can be easily said that this practice still continues with increasing intensity.
Movie posters began to adorn the walls of Istanbul when the first cinemas opened in the 1920s. The number of poster painters increased with the advent of the offset printing technology. Movie posters became increasingly striking works of art.
Among the elements used to attract audiences to movies were the lobbies at cinema entrances, cinema program magazines and fliers. But the most striking “enticements” of that early period are the “cinema lanterns”. These gigantic hand-made posters were called “lanterns” because they were illuminated from within. These lanterns, which often covered the entire façade of buildings, were mostly used between 1930-1960, could attract attention even from afar.
In the early years of the Republic, these “cinema lanterns” were painted by Münif Fehim on the Istanbul side of the Golden Horn and by Mithat Ağakay in the Beyoğlu district. Two other “cinema lantern” painters associated with the period are Talat Emin and Agop Efendi. These “cinema lanterns” were painted on cloth that was laid out on a large surface, and the process was painstaking. The painter’s talent played an important role in promoting the movie. Photographs of the period are the primary record of this miracle.