The History of Film

  • MPPC Anti-Trust Case

  • Industry Merger

  • Famous-Players Lasky

    Established a pre-eminent position in the American film industry with the purchase of theatre chains throughout the US and Canada.
  • Distributions/Exhibition Giant First National becomes vertically integrated

    ...with the construction of a large production facility in Burbank, CA.
  • Loew's Inc. aquires Metro Pictures and Goldwyn Pictures

    ...and became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Loew's MGM)
  • Warner Bros. takes over Vitagraph Corporation...

    ...with distribution and production facilities.
  • Warner Bros. exclusively licenses Western Electric...

    ... sound equipment for "talking pictures".
  • Warner Bros. creates a corporate subsidiary for its sound productions called Vitaphone.

  • Warner Bros. purchases Stanley company cinema chain...

    ...along with its associated film company "First National".
  • Wall Street Crash

  • Big 5 and Little 3

    The US film industry was dominated by the "Majors"; the Big 5 and the Little 3. Warner Bros., Loew's MGM, Fox, Paramount, RKO. The little 3 were Columbia, Universal and United Artists.
  • Warner Bros. became one of the majors...

    ...after starting out as a small production company in the mid 1920s. This expansion was financed with loans, however.
  • The great depression affects Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. had its financial base weakened by the great depression. While big profits were being made at box office, They could continue to carry their enormous debt load. However, in 1930, box office takings fell sharply enough to stop the company bringing in any profits (or even cutting even) and had trouble meeting loan commitments until 1935.
  • Warner Bros. productions of the early 1930s highly critiqued social issues.

  • Hollywood Majors began to move away from the central producer system

    ...which had dominated since 1915. Columbia Pictures announced the adoption of a producer-unit system in October 1931. Not all firms adopted this new system.
  • Warner Bros. films started to support the Democratic Roosevelt administration...

    ...and stopped making social-critic films.
  • "Footlight Parade" was released... Warner Bros. It is a perfect example of their switch from social-critic films to government support, with its signature dance routine using images of the NRA eagle and Roosevelt, with its lead protagonist inspired by Roosevelt himself.
  • Warner Bros. begins to make profits again, after the Great Depression.

  • From the mid 1930s, Warner Bros. muted their films...

    ...radical streak, partly due to a management eager for middle-class respectability. They did, however, retain an edge that none of the other majors provided.
  • Warner Bros. switched from concentrating on low-budget contemporary urban genres... gangster, social conscience and fast talking comedy/dramas and costly musicals to new genres like biopic, film noir and melodrama.
  • "The Adventured of Robin Hood" by Tony Gaudio

    This film and its cinematographer made use of the low budget, and used low-key lighting and lots of night scenes. This suited Warner Bros. genres and disguised cheap sets.
    The non-diegetic music of Warner Bros. films was highly individual, and that is reflected in this film.
  • All surveys on the 1940s point to the fact that young people attended much more frequently than older people.

  • more 1940s statistics revealed that people with higher annual income and higher education were more frequent movie-goers.

  • "Now Voyager" by Sol Polito

    This film and its cinematographer made use of the low budget, and used low-key lighting and lots of night scenes. This suited Warner Bros. genres and disguised cheap sets.
    The non-diegetic music of Warner Bros. films was highly individual, and that is reflected in this film.
  • Profits for all the majors reached record levels immediately after WWII.

  • "Mildred Pierce" by Ernest Haller

    This film and its cinematographer made use of the low budget, and used low-key lighting and lots of night scenes. This suited Warner Bros. genres and disguised cheap sets.
    The non-diegetic music of Warner Bros. films was highly individual, and that is reflected in this film.
  • The Big 5's year of greatest profits

  • 1946 markes the peak in cinema-going in the US with the still unsurpassed weekly attendance average of 95 million.

  • 1946 was also the peak of Film-Going in the UK with an average weekly attendance of 31.5 million.

    The history of cinema attendance in the UK since the second world was mirrors US statistics to a large degree. High frequency cinema going was also predominantly the habit of youth. However, counter to US statistics, it was the working-class who went to the cinema more than others.
  • The number of TV sets in the US was 250,000.

  • The majors were forced to divest themselves of their cinema chains a result of the Supreme Court's decision in the Paramount anti-trust case.
  • The 1950s saw an explosion of idependant production in the US.

  • The 1950s saw United Artists (created by Actors like Charlie Chaplin) led the industry with its distribution of independant films.

    ...Because of this, they were able to adjuct to the effects of the Paramount case easier than the other majors.
  • Throughout the early 1950s, the exponential growth of the TV industry shocked the film industry...

    ...The number of household TV sets in the US rose from 14,000 to 4,000,000 in just 3 years, between 1947 and 1950. The film industry had to change in two ways to stay relevant and keep bringing in profits; differentiation and collaboration with TeleVision.
  • before the 1950s, film-going was the #1 recreational activity in wartime america.

  • by the 1950s, cinema attendances were in rapid decline.

    In just four years, the average weekly attendance had dropped from 95 million to just 60 million.
  • By now, there were 8,000,000 TV sets in US homes, compared to 250,000 in 1947.

  • The film idustry had to differentiate the "Cinema Experience" and make it better than what people were beginning to get in their homes...

    ...Widescreen, Colour, 3D and stereophonic sound were all ued to keep people coming to the cinema. But, they realised that they couldn't just rely on this; they had to collaborate with "the Enemy". Films companies began to sell and lease their films to TV companies, as well as make films direct-to-TV, and eventually merge with TV companies.
  • There were 3,800 drive-in cinemas in the US. Their box office grosses accounted for 16% of the total US box-office.

  • By 1956, the weekly attendance to cinema numbers had drtopped to just 46.5 million.

    Causes of this are cited as the change in lifestyle of americans post-war, and also the establishment of Television.
  • There were now 42,200,000 TV sets in the US, compared to 8,000,000 in 1950.

  • During the 1950s, UK attendance figures also dramatically fell.

    By 1956, weekly attendance was down to 21.1 million in the UK.
  • 58% of films distributed by the majors were independant productins that they only financed and distributed.

  • Only Columbia pictures distributed more films that United Artists, even though Columbia was part of the Big 5 and United Artists part of the little 3.

  • American Multi-Cinema (AMC) realised early on the potential of purpose-built, multi-screen theatres throughout the 1960s.

  • UK viewing figures dropped even further, now 9.6 million per week.

    There was a correlation here with the rise of Television.
  • By the late 1960s, the Film and TV industries were inextricably linked.

  • Weekly cinema attendance figures were now down to 19.9 million.

  • Cineplex's first theatre (18 screen) opened in Toronto in Canada.

  • AMCs success with the multi-screen formula was so great that by the 1980s AMC was one of the five largest cinema chains in the US.

  • throughout the 70s and 80s, VCRs and Video games became increasingly popular, all of which weakened movie-going as a commercial leisure activity.

  • Statements by AMC's senior management, its target audiences appeared to be the same as those of the exhibitors right back to the days of the Nickelodeon theatres.

    "We prefer to locate theatres in middle-class areas inhabited by college-educated families... These groups are the backbone of the existing motion picture audience and of our future audience."
  • The TV/Film situation had become much more complicated...

    ... the two industries had become integrated into multimedia conglomerates where they represented just two of the many associated interests of their parent corporations.
  • around the mid 1980s, Cineplex bought the Odeon chain of Canada. It then began US acqusitions.

  • from the mid 1980s, Cineplex-Odeon led the exhibition industry... its introduction of several "mini picture palaces" and the introduction of Cafes and film-related kiosks.
  • By the mid 1980s, weekly UK attendance had plummeted to just over 1 million.

  • Only 12 cinema circuits controlled 45% of the cinema exhibition of the US, and 29% of the market was accounted for by the four leading circuits alone.

  • The majors aqcuired interest in 14% of US and Canadian theatre screens. History does repeat itself.

  • Cineplex was now the largest theatre chain in North America...

    ... In may of 1988, they began to buy in UK by purchasing the 10 screen Maybox theatre in Slough. Within a year, its Gallery cinema chain in the UK consisted of 11 multiplexes.
  • Universal, Columbia, Paramount and Warners were subsidiaries of parent copanies owning 3,185 screens in the US and Canada

  • Cineplex-Odeon was now in a fragile financial position...

    ...but by then the company' style and innovation had set the tone for mainstream exhibition practise for the 1990s.
  • Weekly UK attendance figures rose from 1.1 Million in 1984 to 2.4 million in 1996.

  • TODAY: Distribution is the dominant sector of the film economy, compared to the Studio era (and pre-studio era) when Exhibition was the most powerful sector.