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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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  1. Movies Mass-Producing Entertainment

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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?

  10. 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.”

  11. 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

  12. 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)

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. The Future of Movies • 2005—U.S. box office down by 6 percent from 2004 • first decline since 1991 • too many sequels and remakes

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