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You Pick the Winner!. You’re “doing lunch” with one of Hollywood’s top agents…. He’s pitching a hot new romantic comedy: Lead actor: young, attractive Academy Award winner Lead actress: successful performer (frequently one of “50 Most Beautiful People”)

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you pick the winner
You Pick the Winner!
  • You’re “doing lunch” with one of Hollywood’s top agents…
  • He’s pitching a hot new romantic comedy:
    • Lead actor: young, attractive Academy Award winner
    • Lead actress: successful performer (frequently one
    • of “50 Most Beautiful People”)
    • Director with a number of recent hits
    • Both leads getting a lot of press
  • You need a hit…
  • Do you “green light” it?
congratulations
Congratulations!
  • You just picked “Gigli”--one of the biggest bombs of 2003
    • Critics slammed it, nobody went to see it
    • Budget: $56 M to produce; millions more to promote
    • Box office: $3.8M opening weekend

Welcome to Hollywood!

how possible is it to predict the success of a movie before its release

How Possible Is It To Predict The Success Of A Movie Before Its Release?

By: Maren Fawkes

May, 21st 2004

what makes a good movie
What Makes a “Good Movie”?
  • Visually compelling
  • Audience identification with characters
  • Effective pacing
  • Consistent “vision”—one director, not a committee
good movie genre requirements
“Good Movie”–Genre Requirements

Drama

  • Dynamic tension
    • Characters in peril
    • Seemingly unreachable goals
    • Unrequited love
  • Satisfactory resolution
good movie genre requirements6
“Good Movie”–Genre Requirements

Comedy

  • Does the intended audience laugh?
  • Is something revealed through humor?
good movie genre requirements7
“Good Movie”–Genre Requirements

Action/Adventure

  • Imaginative staging,
  • effects
  • Real people
  • Pacing

www.stalbanobserver.co.ulc/_images/dv/6/76/pirates_of_the_Caribbean.

commercial success factors
Commercial Success Factors
  • “Star Power”—Movie & other celebrities
  • Built-In Audience–Sequels, series, crossovers
  • Market Trends–What’s hot, what’s not
  • Marketing–Creating anticipation & big opening

Studios rely on what’s worked before or elsewhere

built in audience
Built-In Audience
  • Translation to movies of popular books, comic strips, TV shows, video games, etc.
  • Sequels/series
  • Subject matter

www.empiremovies.com/posters/spiderman_2_b.html

market trends
Market Trends
  • Rise and fall of audience interest in different genres
  • Stressful times → nostalgia, escape
  • Changing demographics
  • Competitive intelligence

Hard to know what audience interest will be

in the 2-3 years it takes to make a movie…

marketing
Marketing
  • Advertising
    • Print media
    • TV ads
    • Trailers in theaters
  • Promotion
    • Interviews with stars
    • Previews for critics
    • Product tie-ins
what can go wrong
What Can Go Wrong
  • “Artistic differences”
  • Mismatches
artistic differences
Artistic Differences
  • Personality clashes or competing visions:
  • – Director and producers
  • – Director and story or
  • screenwriter(s)

– Director and actor

– Actors and actors

http://www.unca.edu/housing/images/services/video-

game-lending-libraryvideos/covers/charlie\'s-angels.jpg

mismatches
Mismatches
  • No chemistry between lead actors
  • Wrong role for actor
  • Wrong time of release

Imusic.artistdirect.com/soundtracks/photos/sixdayssevennights.gif

  • Audience expectations
  • Bad marketing campaign
  • Demographic missed

www.caan.ee//taustad/filmid/Pearl%20harbor%203.jpg

warning signs
Warning Signs
  • Director or key actors replaced
  • Delayed release, re-edit
  • Direct to video release
  • No promotion by stars
  • Large # of screenwriters

Watch out for films by “Alan Smithee”…

conclusion
Conclusion
  • “How possible is it to predict the success of a movie before its release?”
  • Impossible to predict reliably
    • Execution failures
    • Marketing can at best create initial interest
    • Audience fickleness
    • Critical response
  • Consequences:
    • Movies are a powerful reflection of our culture,

but commercial risk limits variety & opportunities

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