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MAD MAX Rockatansky

Original Country of Origin Australian Daybills & One Sheet posters

There has always been a great deal of confusion over the originality of Country of Origin Australian daybills and one sheets. The fact is that more than one style of original poster exist but others, which are often referred to as original, are actually reissues or reprints.

This guide is intended to finally shed some light on how the posters were released. Firstly it is important to be aware that some of the information that is available will be anecdotal although I have sought input from at least one collector who has taken great pains to seek out the most definitive detail on how these posters were released.

The Time Frame

My understanding of the chronology of the release of Mad Max original posters in Australia is the following:

Mad Max was filmed on a tight, low budget. It was not envisaged that it would be a blockbuster and the original advertsing was based on a limited release. Initially in 1979, daybills and one sheets were released with a purple/mauve background and a matt  finish. The daybills were not glossy and measured 13.5 inches by 30 inches.

The original purple/mauve with printers details lower right

An 11" x 14" lobby card set was also released at this time. The film achieved a fairly quick popularity and cult status and the supply of posters was quickly exhausted. Roadshow, the distributors, ordered an additional print run from the printers M.A.P.S. For some reason, they chose an orange background and only ordered one sheets. Daybills were never printed in this colour. The finish was again a matte finish. The print run was apparently limited to approximately 100 and few have surfaced making this the rarest of all Mad Max posters.

Rarely seen Orange/Yellow One sheet – Printers details lower right

Mad Max continued its highly successful run late into 1979 and opened in Drive Ins where it had great appeal. This prompted another order of one sheets and daybills after the supply of orange/yellow one sheets was exhausted, this time in a blue matte finish with the daybills now measuring 13.25 x 28 inches.

Moving forward to approximately May 1982 and Mad Max 2 has been enjoying a very successful run at Australian cinemas and Drive-Ins. This prompted a re-release of the original Mad Max. The film would be shown either by itself or as a double feature along with Mad Max 2. The re-release of the film resulted in another order for the original style daybills and one-sheets – exactly the same artwork as the original but this time with a "gloss" finish. It is probable that the same plates as the originals were used for the printing of these posters. The 1982 reissue one sheets are the same size as their predeccessors however the daybills are again much smaller measuring only 13.5 x 27 inches.

Some dealers may have unwittingly have passed the "gloss" versions off as being from the original release. It is unlikely that they are trying to be deliberately deceptive. The fact is that there has been very little information available up until now. Also in 1982, Roadshow ordered a print run on the (then very popular with exhibitors) photo-sheets which was a largish run. I assume these were being printed through M.A.P.S but none seem to have printer details on them (more about this in a future guide). Surprisingly, despite the print run on the photo-sheets they too are extremely scarce.

New Zealand

I acquired a few Mad Max daybills many years ago from a regional cinema in New Zealand. These had the familiar New Zealand censor sticker (see my guide on New Zealand posters) and the M.A.P.S printers details at the base of the poster. The owner assured me that these posters were supplied to him for the original release in New Zealand at his cinema. The daybills are the blue gloss version and it is possible that the release of Mad Max in New Zealand in some areas might have been delayed until 1982 – hence the use of the glossy blue daybills. Australian daybills were supplied to New Zealand distributors along with US one sheets and British one sheets.

Note: New Zealand censor sticker and printers details lower right

Various Others

A one sheet in the glossy blue version has been seen fairly regularly in recent times on eBay and some dealer sites. It is often described as original but has no printers details at the bottom of the poster. One collector has questioned the authenticity of these posters and refers to them as "restrikes". I have contacted the dealer who had multiple copies of these and he has said that he acquired these some years ago from someone within the industry. It would be safe to assume that these posters are not original based on the preceeding information but it is uncertain as to whether they are from the 1982 reissue or restrikes. One important point to note is that I have seen some variations with Australian posters over the years including some posters that were printed without printers details whilst others had the name of the printer at the bottom of the poster – in the case of Mad Max the printer is M.A.P.S.

No printers details on this one

So What should You be Looking For

There is no doubt that the Purple/Mauve Country of Origin daybill or one sheet with the matte finish should be the most desirable Mad Max poster. This is clearly the first release and the most sought after. The second printing orange one sheet would come a close second followed by the matte blue version. The glossy blue with New Zealand censor stamp might be next along with the glossy blue that was used in Australia for the 1982 release. Mad Max Australian posters that do not have the printers details as they are clearly not as desirable as those that do although some may still be original.

If you have any additional information that you think might be relevant please let me know. As I have said some of the information contained in this guide is anecdotal and I always welcome new input.

KEYWORDS: Mad Max – Rockatansky – Road Warrior – Mel Gibson – Daybill – Movie Poster