year 12 audience institutions case study working title films
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Year 12 Audience & Institutions Case Study: Working Title Films. Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have achieved the near impossible They’ve created a wildly successful production company in a country where the film business is subject to repeated predictions of imminent doom. Eric Fellner.

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slide2

Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have achieved the near impossible

  • They’ve created a wildly successful production company in a country where the film business is subject to repeated predictions of imminent doom.

Eric Fellner

Tim Bevan

slide3

1984

  • Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe
  • Now the most successful British film production company
film maths
Film maths
  • Films + American stars = Appeal to international market (& success for the British film industry)
  • This approach has provoked criticism about the ‘mid-Atlantic’ nature of the films.
the british film industry dilemma
The British film industry dilemma:
  • Do you:

A) Make culturally specific films which appeal to a limited audience?

OR

B) Make broader, generic films with a wider appeal?

the british film industry dilemma1
The British film industry dilemma:
  • Working Title want to make European films for a worldwide audience.
  • They want to imbue them with European ideas and influences and they couldn’t do these things without the backing of a major Hollywood studio.
history of wt
History of WT:
  • 1984
  • Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe
  • 1985
  • First Working Title film My Beautiful Laundrette (The first of a series of collaborations with Channel Four Films)
  • 15
  • Number of WT films produced in the 1980s
history of wt1
History of WT:
  • 1988
  • Production deal with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
  • 1991
  • WT sets up Hollywood office
slide9

History of WT:

  • 1992
  • PolyGram (a European music and media company) buys Working Title.
  • Sarah Radclyffe leaves to set up her own production company
  • She’s replaced by Eric Fellner
history of wt2
History of WT:
  • 1994
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • A big box office success due to the access to the US market provided by Polygram
history of wt3
History of WT:
  • 1998
  • Polygram bought by Universal, a Seagram company
  • 2000
  • Seagram is bought by Vivendi, the French multimedia conglomerate
  • WorkingTitle is now owned by Universal, which is in turn owned by Vivendi
slide13
$35m
  • The amount of money WT can spend on a film before consulting with Universal
  • WT2
  • Set up to encourage new British filmmakers.
  • Billy Elliot (Dir. Stephen Daldry, 1999)
  • WT2 did not need the approval of Universal
  • WT2 no longer exists
unique
Unique:
  • There is no other British Film Company like Working Title
  • It is allowed freedom to make creative decisions but it is owned by a conglomerate
safety net
Safety Net:
  • £13m
  • Budget for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
  • £9.8m
  • UK Box Office takings
  • The protection of Universal means that Working Title was able to survive this disappointing performance
some numbers
Some numbers:
  • 4 or 5
  • The number of films Working Title produce each year
  • 1
  • Number of ‘risk free films’ Working Title will invest in each year
  • 2
  • Number of mainstream films WT will invest in each year
  • 2
  • Will invest in projects they feel passionate about (which have risk factors involved)
some numbers1
Some numbers:
  • 95
  • Number of films made (to date) by Working Title
  • $4.5 billion
  • Amount of money made by these films
  • 6
  • Number of Academy Awards won
  • 26
  • Number of BAFTA Awards won
successful relationships
Successful Relationships
  • Working Title make films with 3rd parties e.g. the Coen Brothers and people they know well and have built up a good working relationship with e.g. Richard Curtis
notable films
Notable films
  • TheSoloist
  • State of Play
  • The Boat That Rocked
  • Wild Child
  • Burn After Reading,
  • The Interpreter
  • About a Boy
  • Notting Hill
slide21

Elizabeth

  • Fargo
  • Dead Man Walking
  • Bean
  • High Fidelity
  • Johnny English
  • Billy Elliot
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
slide22

Bridget Jones\'s Diary

  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Love Actually
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Pride & Prejudice
  • Nanny McPhee
  • United 93
what does eric fellner have to say
What does Eric Fellner have to say?
  • Working Title focus on character and narrative (as opposed to action/ special effects etc.)
  • They often create films of cross-genres
  • Fellner feels the simple essence of a successful film is a really good screenplay and sense of humanity; that the most important thing is for the audience to identify and empathise with characters
what does eric fellner have to say1
What does Eric Fellner have to say?
  • Working Title have aimed to create an industry that is exportable and global
  • There is an active aggressive industry in Hollywood that we can never compete with
  • What we should focus on is making films we believe in and exporting them
what does eric fellner have to say2
What does Eric Fellner have to say?
  • We should dissipate the notion of the British Film Industry just being British
  • Instead we should work with home grown material and work with others to distribute, market etc
  • Characters should be fun and engaging; you should want to spend time with them (regardless of whether they’re simplistic or stereotypical)
  • This is the focus for Working Title, rather than trying to package films/ characters for American audiences
  • Fellner says that the British film industry is “thriving” and can ride out recessions
homework
Homework:
  • Next lesson you will pitch your own film idea. You need to produce a synopsis of a film you think would fit into the Working Title production style.
you must explain why it is suitable for a working title production
You must explain why it is suitable for a Working Title production.
  • Your synopsis should include comments on:
    • Genre
    • Plot
    • Setting
    • Stars
    • Intended audience.
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