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Movies Mass-Producing Entertainment The Movie Industry 1920s-40s Major studio system dominated production All talent under contract Studios made “assembly line” films Studios controlled what was made Controlled distribution--owned theaters (vertical integration)

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movies

Movies

Mass-Producing Entertainment

the movie industry 1920s 40s
The Movie Industry1920s-40s
  • Major studio system dominated production
  • All talent under contract
  • Studios made “assembly line” films
  • Studios controlled what was made
  • Controlled distribution--owned theaters (vertical integration)
  • US Supreme court ruled against these monopolies in 1948
the movie industry 1950s
The Movie Industry: 1950s
  • Competition from Television
  • Movies shift to color film
  • Epics, musicals, film noir
  • Multiplexes appear
  • The Blacklist: House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) (1947)
        • Investigated communism in Hollywood
        • Hollywood Ten: (mostly screenwriters)
          • refused to testify
          • found in contempt, jailed, blacklisted
        • In 1953—blacklist contained 324 names
the movie industry the blockbuster era
The Movie Industry: The Blockbuster Era
  • Jaws (1975):
        • first movie to gross more than $200 million
        • good direction and music score
        • based on a popular novel
        • giant television advertising campaign
        • summer release
  • 2008: Dark Knight, Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Quantum Solace
profits in movie making
Profits in Movie-Making
  • Blockbusters: high budget means must have high ticket sales
  • Other revenue sources: tie-ins, int’l tickets, DVD rights, cable rights, toys, product placement
  • 1980s: 50% revenue = ticket sales
  • 1995: fallen below 15%
  • Low-budget films cost less, need less to turn profit
the blair witch project 1999
The Blair Witch Project: 1999
  • Promotion on the Internet
  • low-cost promotion like production style:
        • mock documentary on cable television
        • “creepy” website
        • handlettered posters looked like “missing” posters
  • sold to Artisan Entertainment for $1.1 mil
  • Made $50 million in first week of release
home video
Home Video
  • 1994: 85% of U.S. homes had a VCR
  • 2006: 81% had DVD player, 79% VCR
    • The Incredibles—$261 million in theater, $368 million in DVD sales
    • opened up a world of older movies to today’s audiences
movies and society
Movies and Society

How Much Influence Do Movies Have?

  • The Payne Fund:
    • series of thirteen studies
    • found repeating themes
    • 3/4 of all movies involve crime, sex, or love
    • high level of recall
movies and society10
Movies and Society
  • Herbert Blumer
    • studied how young people thought movies affected them:
    • imitating the behaviors
      • copying actions in games and play
      • Considered source of ideas about action, romance, and standards of beauty
      • Social learning theory: movies show how to behave as an adult
  • What effects do you see? Do films give young people behavior to imitate? Fashion? Language? Actions? Others above? Examples?
the production code
The Production Code
  • Theater owners formed the National Board of Censorship (1909):
    • establish national standard for movie
    • prostitution, childbirth, drug use banned
    • stars’ off-screen behavior seen as equally offensive
    • Hollywood viewed as a mass of “wild orgies,” “dope parties, “kept men,” and “kept women.”
birth of the production code
Birth of the Production Code
  • Morality guidelines set & passed in 1927
  • The Code controlled movie content from the 1930s-1968:
    • evil not be made to look alluring
    • villains and law breakers not go unpunished
    • no profanity or blasphemy
    • passion needed to be handled carefully
the ratings system
The Ratings System
  • Jack Valenti, MPAA President
  • Eliminated Production Code in 1968
  • Ratings assigned by panel of twelve parents
    • Screen and discuss three movies a day
    • G: General audiences. All ages admitted
    • PG: Parental guidance suggested
    • PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned
    • R: Restricted. Under 17 must be accompanied by adult
    • NC-17: No one under age 17 will be admitted
    • NC-17 does not mean “obscene” or “pornographic” in the common or legal meaning of those words (mpaa website)
content that prompts ratings
Content that prompts ratings
  • drug use requires at least a PG-13
  • sexually oriented nudity = R
  • rough and persistent violence = R
  • “F-word” requires a PG-13
  • “F-word” used more than once or in a sexual sense=R rating
the x problem
The X Problem
  • MPAA did not trademark the X rating
  • Porn industry labeled its unrated films XXX
  • Midnight Cowboy:
    • first and only X-rated movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture
    • rating eventually changed to R, after award
    • Saving Private Ryan rating debate
        • graphic depiction of Normandy landing troublesome to some
discussion
Discussion
  • Are movies hurt by directors cutting scenes in order to get an R rating?
  • Should there be an A rating that indicates adults only but milder than NC 17?
  • Why have ratings? Nonstigmatized adult rating? mpaa.org
the future of movies
The Future of Movies
  • 2005—U.S. box office down by 6 percent from 2004
    • first decline since 1991
    • too many sequels and remakes