Rumor has it that actor Leonardo DiCaprio purchased the most expensive vintage movie poster ever sold. According to Collider, the international version of the poster for Fritz Lang’s towering science fiction classic Metropolis set the record for the highest price ever paid for a vintage movie poster. One of only four copies of the poster known to exist, the record-holding purchase was made by an unknown collector in the States when it was auctioned by Reel Poster Gallery in London.
Leonardo DiCaprio is rumored to be the owner of the incredibly rare English-language Metropolis poster.
We don’t know for certain that Leonardo DiCaprio is that collector, but the final price tag for the sought-after collectible was £393,300, or $690,000 U.S. The enduring power of movie posters as an art form is demonstrated by the continued high prices collectors are willing to pay for rare ones like this particular Metropolis one-sheet. The 1927 film was made in Germany, but this particular poster was for overseas release and replaced the original German lettering with English, which is one of the reasons it is such a rarity.
How and why Leonardo DiCaprio has been rumored as the buyer of the poster, we can’t say for certain, but the speculation is fascinating all the same. One of the great works of science fiction, Metropolis is perhaps the most influential film of its genre, with echoes felt all the way to the present day. One of the most obvious influences it had was on Blade Runner, which itself went on to define science fiction for an entire generation of filmmakers and fans, including seeming to influence even the Star Wars universe.
The poster for the 1927 Fritz Lang classic Metropolis sold at an auction in 2005 for $690,000.
If Leonardo DiCaprio did indeed shell out the huge purchase price for this work of art, we could hardly blame the Killers of the Flower Moon star, as it represents one of the most iconic works of cinema in history. To this day, the black-and-white silent film is an impressive achievement, having received both a remastered treatment in 2003 and the Blu-ray release of an extended, “complete” cut with 25 extra minutes of footage in 2010. Its poster is one of the most recognizable images in all of movie history and is still one of the most dazzling pieces of film memorabilia available.
While we’re certain Metropolis’s distinctive Art Deco style could appeal to Leonardo DiCaprio, its place in cinema history would surely make its poster an attractive item for the Hollywood star.
If Leonardo DiCaprio did make the purchase, the rumor has had a long time to persist and to be disproven as the poster was bought at auction in 2005. Though other poster sales have come close to the record price, including a 1931 Dracula poster sold by Heritage Auctions for $525,800, the record set by the Metropolis one-sheet has stood for almost 20 years. Few other posters could possibly hope to topple this record, though many of the highest prices paid have been for Universal Monsters films such as Bride of Frankenstein from 1935, a poster for which brought $334,600, and the $435,000 sale of a poster for The Mummy from 1932.
While we’re certain Metropolis’s distinctive Art Deco style could appeal to Leonardo DiCaprio, its place in cinema history would surely make its poster an attractive item for the Hollywood star. How the movie poster market will evolve in the future can, of course, not be known now, but it seems unlikely that many of the posters being done today will be regarded as the artworks that vintage movie posters currently are. Even though posters featuring digital artwork are certainly impressive, there is something about a poster designed and hand-painted by an individual artist that will probably always capture people’s imaginations in ways a standee for The Avengers might not.