A P P R 0 A C H E S T 0 STUDYING FILM TEXTS
The history and evolution of cinematic narrative conventions allows us to distinguish Classic between, on one hand, 'classical Hollywood' or mainstream cinema, and on the other, Hollywood: this term refers art cinema, which has traditionally been the province of Europe. In other words, it is both to an possible to identify a series of narrative conventions which emerged out of the impera-historical period within Hollywood tives of commercial cinema, in which the project of entertainment for the purpose of cinema (which profit is paramount, and a series of narrative conventions which emerged in industries ended with the decline of the where state subsidies, and a tendency towards small-scale independent production, vertically facilitated an emphasis on aesthetic innovation and personal expression. integrated studio system in the 1950s), and to Obviously such generalizations require qualification. For example, in contemporary the narrative and formal Hollywood horizontal integration and increasing conglomeration have brought about conventions established and promoted during this the emergence of large independent producers and specialized production and distri-time; the terms 'classical bution wings within the major companies. This environment has resulted in films such narrative' and as The Usual Suspects (Bryan Singer, 1995), Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000) and 'Hollywood narrative' are frequently used Crash (Paul Haggis, 2004) which arguably use a number of art cinema characteristics. interchangeably Conversely European film industries have consistently produced films, such as comedies with the term and musicals, belonging to genres popularized by Hollywood, while the European “mainstream narrative,” since this constitutes propensity for art cinema may also be understood in commercial terms, with aesthetic cinema's dominant mode and national specificity proving a profitable means of product differentiation in a global of story-telling. market. As narrative categories, classical and art cinema are linked, each responding to Avant-garde the methods, creativity and competitive presence of the other. Thus French New Wave Meaning literally cinema pays homage to and parodies film noir (itself indebted to German Expressionism). 'advanced guard' (those Hollywood cinema, always particularly adept at cinematic 'borrowing', has tended to who'march ahead' of the troops in a military adopt art cinema aesthetics and conventions as a means of refreshing its own genres, campaign), 'avant-garde' and the inventiveness of the films listed above may be understood in these terms. has been taken up as an aesthetic term for art (and artists) seeking to Art cinema is also closely related to a further category, the avant-garde. The challenge, subvert or reinvent artistic tenets avant-garde is most readily distinguishable from art cinema in economic and and conventions. institutional, rather than aesthetic, terms, in that avant-garde films are distributed
outside the structures of the film industry (in film clubs, galleries or academic Modernism This refers to institutions). Art films, though frequently subsidized, are exhibited in commercially run a dramatically cinemas and their larger production scales demand greater financial success than do experimental trend avant-garde films. In terms of content and form the two categories are overlapping, and within the arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, both may be related to the rise of Modernism. literature, music and film) which grew up at the Both art cinema and avant-garde cinema may be understood in terms of responses start of the twentieth to - and reactions against - mainstream cinema. Indeed many critical accounts of art century, encompassing a wide array of movements cinema define its conventions as being opposite to Hollywood's, describing it explicitly (Expressionism, in terms of what Hollywood is not. As a means of getting to grips with art cinema's Vorticism, Symbolism, conventions this is a useful approach, but it is important to bear in mind that art cinema is Imagism, Surrealism) along with the not only this. In its relation to Modernism, and in its existence within different national innovations of individual cinemas, art cinema is varied, and has conventions of its own that are not simply 'other' artists not directly than what Hollywood does. affiliated with a particular movement. Modernism involved a The above definitions of both 'mainstream' and 'art' in cinema are admittedly rejection of Western and 'first-world centric', since the former is conceived in terms of Hollywood nineteenth-century styles, traditions and ideas, and the latter in terms of Europe. This reflects Hollywood's global domination of the film and a self-conscious (or industry, and the powerful influence American and European cinematic traditions have 'self- reflexive') approach to had worldwide. However, there are a number of other powerfully influential national and aesthetic forms, in which artistic expression was itself transcontinental cinemas which offer their own art and commercially orientated conven-explored, questioned and tions (the cinemas of India and Japan most obviously come to mind). reinvented.
For further discussion of Indian cinema see Chapter 13, pp. 336-62. Story and plot Russian formalism In order to understand the fundamental components of any narrative it is first necessary A literary theory which developed in Russia in to make a distinction between a narrative's 'story' and its 'plot'. 'Story' (labelled 'fabula' the early 1920s, which by Russian formalist literary theorists) refers to the events of the narrative, and the sought to establish a actions and responses of characters. 'Plot' (or 'syuzhet') refers to the ways in which the scientific basis for the study of literature and literary effects.
- M TEXTS M FORM AND NARRATIVE 63
us to distinguish story is presented to us in terms of its order, emphases and logic. A succinct distinction and on the other, between these two ideas has been provided by Seymour Chatman, who suggests that other words, it -the story is the what in a narrative that is depicted', and plot 'the how' (Chatman 1980: is )Ut of the 19). impera)r the The most conspicuous way that the plot shapes how the story is told is in terms purpose of rged in of ,-is chronology. One way in which a plot may present a story is the order in which industries ~dent we presume events take place and the characters experience them. Thus the film production, )n. Bambi (David Hand, 1942), which is essentially the story of the central character's in contemporary life from birth to parenthood, has a narrative in which the story and plot order are the te brought about same. By contrast, Marcel Carne's Le Jour se leve (1939) has a plot which begins close uction and to the end of the story (and the hero's life), with Francois (Jean Gabin) committing a districted in films murder. There then follow three separate flashbacks, which show us the events that led such Nolan, to the murder. This plot structure clearly has the effect of creating intrigue by raising the 2000) and a question of how Francois could have descended to such desperate measures. It also characteristics, imbues the film with a pervasive air of pessimism, since even as flashbacks show us a such as comedies burgeoning romance, we know that the liaison must be ill-fated. ille the European Thus our responses to the story are shaped by the manipulations of the plot. Plot 'Is. with aesthetic strategies which play with the story's chronology demand that we piece together the nation in a global order in which we presume the events take place. The ease with which this can be done Ich responding to depends on the method and degree of connection between one story-moment and the ranch New Wave ripple-dissolve next. Le Jourse lave, for example, employs cinematic codes (such as the ripple-dissolve) A dissolve is an n Expressionism). to make such links clear. (Of course, these only work because there is a shared under-editing technique 1% has tended to standing between filmmakers and viewers that ripple-dissolves introduce characters' using superimposition, 9 its own genres, memories.) The plot can also emphasize or de-emphasize moments of the story through which produces a gradual 'ese terms. transition between one other types of temporal manipulation. The least important moments of story are liable to garde. The image be missed out of the plot altogether (as when, for example, a character travels from one and the next, during avant-and story-location to another). The omission (or ellipsis) of a portion of the story from the plot which the two shots institutional, )Utsidmay have a number of other effects, such as the evocation of mystery. In Bambi the plot for a time occupy the frame e the strucstions). simultaneously, appearing does not dramatize the period of Bambi's life immediately after the death of his mother, Art films, s and merged together; a a gap which eases our shock and allows us to assume, without having to witness it, that ripple-dissolve their larger ::e Bambi has recovered from his grief. The film's tone is immediately lifted with the lively, emphasizes this transition films. In terms be comical 'Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song' number; thus the plot manipulates our through the introduction of related to the emotional responses to the story, providing a musical interlude as recovery-time and as a ripples, or waves, within the image. means of cheering us up. ms of responses Film plots also operate in conjunction with film running times; where an ellipsis I accounts of art occurs the portion of the film's running time assigned to the incident in question is none; ribing it explicitly however, a story-incident can be emphasized if a large portion of the film's running time vith art cinema's is devoted to it. Thus, Robert Mulligan's To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) devotes thirty-five J that art cinema minutes of its 129-minute running time to the trial of Tom Robinson. The plot's uneven different national distribution of the story across the running time of the film gives us time to appreciate C' simply 'other' Atticus's (Gregory Peck) defence tactics, the injustice of the racially motivated conviction,
and the profound effect the trial has on Atticus's children. The relationship between the are admittedly three temporal categories of story, plot and running time can be further manipulated by -S of Hollywood such cinematic codes as editing and fast- or slow-motion photography. —_:ion of the film The plot also stages the story across space as well as across time. In Bambi the -raditions have al story takes place in the two distinct spaces of the forest and the meadow, and we are national and -fated guided as to the type of story-incident liable to occur in the meadow on Bambi's first conven- visit there, when his mother warns him that 'Out there we are unprotected'. When the
plot next dramatizes a scene in the meadow Bambi is stranded while gunfire sounds
off-screen, and in the third meadow scene Bambi's mother is shot. The plot therefore s first necessary
uses the spaces of the story to alternate between periods of safety (represented by the labelled 'fabula'
forest) and danger (represented by the meadow). The climax of the narrative is signalled inative, and the
by a breaking of this pattern, and we are alarmed by the threat of the hunt and the fire ays in which the
precisely because they invade the safe spaces of the forest.
44 CINEMA AS INSTITUTION
TV money for UK film production
For twenty years Channel 4 was the British channel most actively engaged in film production. From its launch in 1982, it participated in well over 300 films including My
Beautiful Launderette (1986), The Crying Game (1992), Four Weddings and a Funeral
(1994), Trainspotting (1996) and Secrets and Lies (1996). And, like the BBC - its terrestrial
rival in film production - it favoured co-productions. But in 2002 Channel 4 announced a
huge cutback in film finance, partly as a consequence of the failure of its big-budget films
at the box office: films such as Charlotte Gray (co-produced with Warner, 2001). In the
past few years its old rival, BBC Films, has enjoyed a moderate success with films such
as Match Point (2006), directed by Woody Allen. And the Corporation looks like 'upping the anti' with the announcement, in 2006, of a minimum investment of ?150 million in domestic film production over ten years (up from ?10 million a year). Many in the UK
industry are banking on this, and on the words of BBC creative director Alan Yentob, when he says, `the relationship between TV and film [in the UK] is a very potent one'.32
The UK Film Council
This agency, which was set up in May 2000, has replaced the Arts Council as the coordi-
nator of National Lottery funds earmarked for British film. The Film Council puts money into development (?4 million per year), the production of small-budget innovative film
(funded at ?5 million per year), and the production of big-budget film (funded at ?8 million
per year). It has also set itself the challenge of overseeing structural changes in the UK industry, by facilitating the exhibition of a broader range of films in UK multiplexes than is normally the case (see 'Exhibition' above).
Wherever the money comes from, many commentators on the British film scene would suggest that what is needed is popular film that is also distinctive and personal. British filmmaking needs to break away from its own somewhat entrenched position
of pigeon-holing film as either 'cultural' or 'genre' (as per the Richard Curtis romantic comedies, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999) and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), produced by Working Title Films)."
; CASE STUDY 2: A US BLOCKBUSTER' PRODUCTION,
,ate It derma Script development and pre-production -In 1996 David Franzoni (producer-writer) approached Dreamworks SKG with a story 7a- Z"W4 about gladiators in ancient Rome. The story was then developed by him in collaboration TillmrC', with head of Dreamworks Pictures Walter Parkes and producer Douglas Wick. In the • - scout process they revived the 'ancient epic' genre, one that hadn't really seen the light of day Y-i-ociale r since the mid-1960s, with such films as The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). This older film, in
fact, was to share many of the same protagonists as the future production Gladiator. --ts 1K
For further discussion The producers felt that their planned film needed a director who could manage the Q, I r___z wem of Gladiator see Chapter pcinematic sectacle that would feature in it. Hence, they approached Ridley Scott 3, pp. 82-4 and Chapter
'150 million in
any in the UK
il as the coordi
d at ?8 million
jes in the UK -1tiplexes than
:h film scene
and personal. :had -late 2.6 from Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000). Maximus (Russell Crowe) and his fellow gladiators — tensile, hard-muscled and armoured — salute the position lirtis - ng crowds in the Colosseum as they and their Dreamworks/Universal picture enjoy the sweet smell of success romantic dget
is akin to orchestration, with incident, sound, movement, colour, sets and computer
graphics all knitted together under his watchful eye .34
The film would be jointly produced, financed and distributed by Dreamworks and J C T 10 N, iversal - the former having had a long-standing distribution arrangement with the
35 er. It was decided that location shooting would bring down the cost of the production,
her than trying to construct everything in Hollywood. However, filming on the with a story e of historical monuments was impossible because of the likely damage incurred collaboration ring filming, and because of the often poor condition of the sites to begin with. Wick. In the --erefore scouting commenced in Europe and North Africa for locations that could I the light of accommodate new sets. Such was the scale of the production that individual design (1964). This a -apartments were assigned to each of the major locations (UK, Morocco and Malta) production Arthur Max, the film's overall production designer. In each location, 'sets, props and
-ostumes were custom-made for the film', or sets were added to existing buildings uld manage andau 2000: 66). -Ridley Scott The biggest set, that of 'ancient Rome', was built at Port Mifisalfi, Malta, over nineteen t that would ,-eks in the winter of 1998-99, immediately prior to filming. The set included a full-scale own terms, ich :ction of the Roman Colosseum (the rest would be filled in using computer graphics), as Alien :e the =s well as sets for the emperor's palace, the Forum and the Roman marketplace. This great --ge complex of sets was built on to disused nineteenth-century barracks on the site
add an air of authenticity to the look of the production. This is a favoured technique and William Scott's to add verisimilitude to the world he is creating, as per the sets of Blade the Roman -er which were built on to old Warner Brothers' city sets to legitimise the film's noir ~nths before ~~_-en-scene. boards with
CINEMA AS INSTITUTION I 46
Production and post-production
From the beginning, the shoot was a very complex affair. The scale of the production -with a mammoth budget of over US$100 million, scenes involving thousands of extras and a four-month shoot in four countries - necessitated the use of four different crews.
Principal photography commenced at the beginning of February 1999 in Bourne Woods, Farnham, Surrey, after the construction of a Roman encampment, a stake barricade and a forest dwelling. The opening battle scene - set in Germania in the film
-was a hugely involved affair incorporating replicas of Roman war machines and an army 11of 1,000 extras. Shooting was finally wrapped up in the UK on 24 February 1999 from
where the production moved to Morocco.
Morocco was the setting in the movie for the gladiator school. In preparation for
filming, the local production crew had been busy for nine weeks, since December, 371998. In all, the shoot took three weeks here, after which the production moved to Malta for the 'Rome' scenes.
Again, preparation of the sets had begun long before shooting: because of the scale
of the set, construction had begun nineteen weeks earlier. And despite bad storms damaging the set," filming commenced around mid-March and was completed by the 39end of May 1999. This part of the shoot involved the large-scale Colosseum scenes
incorporating 2,000 extras.
Finally, there followed a two-day shoot in Tuscany, which was the chosen location
for the home of Maximus in the film. This work - involving Ridley Scott, the main crew
(which travelled from location to location), doubles and stunt doubles - marked the end
of the long location schedule .40
The film was then completed at Shepperton studios, but not before the extraordinary computer visual effects work of Mill Film (London) was incorporated into the film to
create the composite shots of the Colosseum. Computer-graphic imaging (CGI) was
used to complete the circumference of the first tier of the stadium and to create the second and third tiers. CGI was also used to increase the number of spectators in the
Colosseum from 2,000 to 35,000, and to extend other vistas on the Rome set.41
The film was edited by Ridley Scott and Pietro Scalia, and scored by Hans Zimmer (head of Dreamworks' film music division) and Lisa Gerrard. With the completion of post-production, Scott delivered the picture to Dreamworks on time and on budget (US$106 million).42
Distribution and exhibition
For the film's marketing poster, Dreamworks SKG (responsible for marketing the film in the US-Canada territory) and United International Pictures (Universal's marketing arm
and responsible for international distribution) promoted a low-angled, medium-long shot
of the film's star, Russell Crowe, in costume as Maximus. Here for all to see was the towering presence of a rectilinear, hard, tough male action star with classical adornments of armour and phallic sword. At his feet, literally, lay the Colosseum, across the base of the poster. The powerhouse epic, Gladiator, had been launched!
The movie's marketing campaign was the standard one for a blockbuster: saturation
booking technique with simultaneous media promotion on a massive scale. The film opened superwide in the US-Canada market on 5 May 2000 in approximately 3,000
screens. With such a big opening, the film caught the imagination of the punters even
before the reviews came out - which is of course the purpose of a big opening. But the makers needn't have worried, since the reviews were very favourable. In its opening weekend the film grossed around US$35 million and went straight to number one at the
box office. This success was repeated the following weekend in the UK, where the film opened in around 400 screens and grossed approximately 23.5 million .43
Merchandising was kept to a minimum so as not to undermine the 'quality' message
of the marketing campaign. Available to buy were the soundtrack, books on the film's
k LS T I T U T 1 0 N HE INDUSTRIAL CONTEXTS OF FILM PRODUCTION 47
suction and the movie poster - which was soon becoming an iconic image. Tie-ins
eed Sega games and offers of holidays to Rome. 1 the production - By the end of the film's box-office run, Gladiator had grossed around US$452 million ousands of extras 44s ide, with takings of $188 million in the US market alone. But the story didn't ir different crews. there. On 21 November 2000, the DVD and video were released in the US/Canada ( 1999 in Bourne et. The DVD two-disc set included the following extras: audio commentary by mpment, a stake -y Scott, eleven deleted scenes from the movie, a behind-the-scenes documentary, mania in the film - history of gladiatorial games and a theatre trailer, among others. iines and an army Evidently, large sales of the DVD were anticipated for the forthcoming holiday season oruary 199936 from -.-use prior to the release date 2.6 million copies of the DVD were shipped to retail
-ts. Gladiator sales more than met expectations, since it went on to become the In preparation for -zest selling DVD in the US. Sales everywhere were remarkable: in the UK too it since December, me the biggest selling DVD. Eventually, worldwide sales clocked in at around 4.5 duction moved to Ion units - the biggest selling DVD up until that time.
And so, with the financial and critical momentum afforded the film, nothing could :__se of the scale ent it from being nominated for twelve Oscars or from winning five in March 2001: spite bad storms oest film, best actor (Russell Crowe), best costume design (Janty Yates), best sound completed by the
arc best visual effects. blosseum scenes
The film was, of course, distributed to pay-per-view channels, and subsequently to ,pen ium cable/satellite movie channels. In the UK, the film debuted on Sky Premier movie e chosen nel in October 2001, and announcements were made in 2001 of a deal having been location )tt, the k for its terrestrial TV debut in 2003. The keenly contested battle among UK broad- main crew - ers for the first-run terrestrial rights was further evidence - if indeed further evidence marked the end vas necessary - of the global distribution phenomenon that Gladiator had become.
I the extraordinary In summary, the UK distribution windows for Gladiator are to date as follows: d into the film to 1 st commercial theatrical release 7aging (CGI) was 12 May 2000 and to create the
the )me set.41
by Hans DVD/video release date Zimmer )mpletion 20 November 2000 of post, budget
Premium satellite movie channel premiere rketing the film in Sky Premier 's marketing arm
27 October 2001 nedium-long shot
11 to see was the sical adornments ulti-media empires -rocs the base of ay, it is not adequate to consider the film industry in isolation, for it is only one part network of media, entertainment and communications industries controlled by verti-)uster: saturation and laterally integrated multi-media conglomerates, a scale. The film
roximately 3,000 synergy strategy company controlling a vast empire of media and entertainment properties that amounts to a the punters even Combined or related distribution system .45 opening. But the action by a group of e. In its opening individuals or ples of such organisations are Time Warner, Viacom (owner of Paramount), Sony Limber one at the corporations *ration of Japan (owner of Columbia Pictures) and News Corporation (owner of tieth towards a common K. where the film 43 goal, the combined Century Fox). effect of which exceeds quality' message Time Warner merged with AOL (America Online) in January 2001. The new global sia the sum of the oks on the film's giant is the largest in the world, and has interests in the internet, film and TV, individual efforts.
CINEMA AS INSTITUT1
• Plate 2.7 Still from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001). Madam Hooch looks on as Neville Longbottom awkwardly takes to the skies. Box-office and merchandising. on the other hand, had no problem soaring due to the synergy strategy adopted by AOL Time Warner for the film's promotion
publishing, cable and satellite systems and the music industry. The underlying philosopr-
behind the merger is to work across the corporation's holdings to create new business
opportunities/associations; in other words a synergy strategy. A good example of this
is the Time Warner 'marketing council' set up in 2001.
AOL Time Warner synergy and marketing
After the merger with AOL, Time Warner set up a 'marketing council' to optimise
marketing opportunities across the whole corporation. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone (US title, 2001) was the first substantive evidence of this new synergy strategy in operation. Marketing was planned carefully across all media to take into account the fact that a series of films was planned for 'Harry Potter' (anywhere from three to seven 46films in the series), and the Corporation didn't want the series to suffer from overkill in
the early stages.
As was noted in the Financial Times on the film's opening weekend (16-18 November. ),47 2001 the film was being promoted on the HBO and Warner networks in the USA, the music was being issued on Warner Music's Atlantic Records label, and a series of
articles was appearing across the Corporation's print media empire. Of particular note. however, was the promotional activity of AOL itself. The online service was offering merchandising (with ninety licensing partners and 700 products), ticket promotions and qgiveaways tied in with suh(-.rinti— — -- -
1 S T I T U T 1 0 IN E I IN D U S T R I A L C 0 IN T E X T S 0 F F I L M P R 0 D U C T 0 IN 49
For further discussion of e UK scenario new technology see rt Murdoch's News Corporation is the media conglomerate with the highest visibility Chapter 9. UK. As an example of its synergy strategy we need only look at its UK Sky (satellite) I
service comprising hundreds of TV, CD quality radio and pay-per-view channels,
ctive services, e-mail and so on. This service uses press media and film and TV
iction companies owned by News Corporation across Europe, Asia and America
as the film company, Twentieth Century Fox and the US terrestrial TV Fox Network)
help promote it and provide programmes for it.
communications revolution is being orchestrated by only a handful of global players.
:,igh in the recent past some of these multi-media conglomerates, such as Viacom,
decided to break themselves up (in an attempt to unlock value in some of their
ons), the fact remains that most of them have not. Unless these firms are properly
ated by the international community - an unlikely event given the powers behind
gooal market liberalisation - they stand to enjoy an oligopolistic power not dreamed of
r :he far-off days of the MPPC and the studio era.
=tying _-damental to the study of cinema as institution is a study of cinema audiences. This philosophy :e section reviews the changes in cinema audience patterns/profiles from the end of the new business Second World War to the present day, and considers their likely causes.
example of this The section ends with a review of how film companies attempt to build audiences for —eir films.
CA' to From the late 1940s onwards ::optimise '__-ore the 1950s, cinema-going was a very major recreational activity. According to —50f the Sorcerer's one :icial report, it was the number one recreational activity for most people in wartime US _e year 1946 marked the peak in cinema-going in the USA, unsurpassed to ergy strategy in
this day. In :-at year, the average weekly attendance in the US was 95 million.5' o account the
three to seven Studies of the composition of audiences in the 1940s identify certain key trends. 52from overkill in 2 .hough men and women registered the same average monthly picture attendance, a
-,-eater percentage of men were very high-frequency cinema-goers . 53 -18 November, Age was the major determinant in the frequency of attendance. All surveys of the ks in the USA, -940s point to the fact that young people attended much more frequently than older and a series of cersons. 54 Particular note, Statistics from the 1940s also indicate that expenditure on motion pictures increased with e was offering annual income and that those with higher levels of education (i.e. high school and/or college) •ornotions and ere more frequent cinema-goers than those with only a grade school education.55
By the 1950s, cinema attendance was in rapid decline. Average weekly attendance I the opening zgures had dropped in 1950 to 60 million (from their 95 million peak four years earlier), approximately .56 and by 1956 the number had slipped to 46.5 million What happened to bring about ilm audiences' --is sudden decline? Two reasons are most often cited: the first is the change in living
zatterns of Americans following the Second World War, and the second is the n of Japan of estabshment of TV. wribia to boost 'Being at home' explains the drop in cinema attendance after the peak of the mid- n its software to :ate 1940s. There was a radical change in social trends in the US after the war: the studio to i -ome ownership, suburbanization of metropolitan areas, traffic difficulties, large families, TV, 'Blu-ray'
family:;entred leisure time activities, and the do-it-yourself movement.
(Bernstein 1957: 74)
i S T I T U T 1 0 N
- - z INDUSTRIAL CONTEXTS 0 F F I L M P R 0 D U C T 1 0 N 49
For further discussion The UK scenario of new technology see R.pert Murdoch's News Corporation is the media conglomerate with the highest visibility Chapter 9. in the UK. As an example of its synergy strategy we need only look at its UK Sky (satellite) digital service comprising hundreds of TV, CD quality radio and pay-per-view channels,
interactive services, e-mail and so on. This service uses press media and film and TV
production companies owned by News Corporation across Europe, Asia and America Isuch as the film company, Twentieth Century Fox and the US terrestrial TV Fox Network) to help promote it and provide programmes for it.
7e communications revolution is being orchestrated by only a handful of global players. Although in the recent past some of these multi-media conglomerates, such as Viacom,
have decided to break themselves up (in an attempt to unlock value in some of their divisions), the fact remains that most of them have not. Unless these firms are properly regulated by the international community - an unlikely event given the powers behind
global market liberalisation - they stand to enjoy an oligopolistic power not dreamed of wi the far-off days of the MPPC and the studio era.
:_ndamental to the study of cinema as institution is a study of cinema audiences. This -. g philosophy section reviews the changes in cinema audience patterns/profiles from the end of the ite new business Second World War to the present day, and considers their likely causes. I example of this The section ends with a review of how film companies attempt to build audiences for --eir films.
From the late 1940s onwards loll' to optimise Eefore the 1950s, cinema-going was a very major recreational activity. According to one J the Sorcerer's 50-fficial report, it was the number one recreational activity for most people in wartime US 'ergy strategy __e year 1946 marked the peak in cinema-going in the USA, unsurpassed to this day. In in rito account -.-at year, the average weekly attendance in the US was 95 millions' the I three to Studies of the composition of audiences in the 1940s identify certain key trends. seven r from 52Although men and women registered the same average monthly picture attendance, a overkill in —eater percentage of men were very high-frequency cinema-goers.53 Age was the major determinant in the frequency of attendance. All surveys of the i-18 November, 940s point to the fact that young people attended much more frequently than older rks in the USA, oersons.54 and a series of Statistics from the 1940s also indicate that expenditure on motion pictures increased with Particular note, annual income and that those with higher levels of education (i.e. high school and/or college) 'e was offering were more frequent cinema-goers than those with only a grade school education.55 Dromotions and By the 1950s, cinema attendance was in rapid decline. Average weekly attendance figures had dropped in 1950 to 60 million (from their 95 million peak four years earlier), m the opening I 56and by 1956 the number had slipped to 46.5 million. What happened to bring about approximately --is sudden decline? Two reasons are most often cited: the first is the change in living =ilm audiences' oatterns of Americans following the Second World War, and the second is the estab- ,ishment of TV. on of Japan of `Being at home' explains the drop in cinema attendance after the peak of the mid- to umbia to boost late 1940s. There was a radical change in social trends in the US after the war: I nits software I
the studio to fl -ome ownership, suburbanization of metropolitan areas, traffic difficulties, large families, TV, 'Blu-ray' family-centred leisure time activities, and the do-it-yourself movement.
(Bernstein 1957: 74)