29 mars 2012

Overfed Hollywood Economists

Should we cry for Hollywood?
  • Hollywood imports ONLY 8.4% of foreign films, and blames foreign countries (whose market is at least 40 to 80% from Hollywood) for being too "protectionists"
  • Hollywood gets 2/3rd of their BO from overseas, yet doesn't even give a chance to foreign films in the USA
  • Hollywood whines about the difficult economy of a 100 to 300 Million$ budget movie, while the rest of the world just makes fine popular entertainment with 1 to 30 Million$ max per production
Get real America!!! The World will not complain if you stop making movies budgeted over 100 M$ !!! Focus on quality, and forget about hiding your lack of talent behind piles of advertising money...

Look at South Korea, a market inspired by Hollywood in every way (except they have talents!), they make better entertainment than Hollywood, with a fraction of the Hollywood economy, and their best movies would deserve to get planetary blockbuster status over such failures as John Carter or The Green Lantern...
Look at the attendance of Bollywood movies, with budgets equals to your so-called "indie" market!
Face it Hollywood... you suck at this. Pouring more money into a bottomless pit, and bullying foreign markets into breaking their quotas, is all you know how to do to keep the appearance of a world-leading industry... 

The struggling World market spoon-feeding an oversized Cuckoo nestling (Hollywood) parasite who can't take care of itself

Kristin Thompson: "One summer does not a slump make. Nor does an entire year. Yet at the end of 2011, the press was trumpeting the fact that the film industry was suffering a slump that might become permanent. After all, “the movies are in a slump!” makes for more catchy copy than “the movies have sunk back to normal” or “the movies are in a downturn from which they will probably recover.” [..]
Hollywood box office has its ups and downs, which is only to be expected. One year the successful releases cluster together; another year, they spread out or drop off a little. Any decline will be seized upon by many reporters as a slump, a sign that people are souring on the movies and turning to the many other forms of pop-culture entertainment available in the digital age. [..]
We’ve seen that Avatar’s 2010 box office was comparable to two major blockbusters. [..] That’s the equivalent of having four very high-grossing films in one year. [..] These are exceptional years, so one would expect the box-office to sink afterward. Yet somehow the industry and the world of entertainment journalism see years with such big box-office spikes as forming the new norms against which all other years should be judged. Studio executives seem to think that 2002 or 2010 indicate a realistic goal that they could achieve all the time, if only they could put out the right films. Almost inevitably, articles on declines in box office end with the notion that the films released in that particular year or quarter were just not appealing enough. But of course, there’s no way to deliberately achieve such a combination of blockbusters."
Finally an American scholar with a reality check. She never mentions the indie market or the absence of foreign films (focusing essentially on 3D products, Digital conversion and commercial movies), but we're getting there baby step by baby step...
It's a little more reality-based economy than what David Bordwell did  2 years ago (my comment at the bottom of this post). However I notice that Kristin now pays attention to explain the jargon when she uses "worldwide gross", "international gross", and "North-American market". 
 It's important that more institutional authorities start to speak the truth about Hollywood self-deceiving PR, so that the press stop to report whatever memos they got from Hollywood tycoons writing their own history, and start pointing a CRITICAL eye at their fantasized accounting and wasteful economy. The emperor with no cloth is in Hollywood, not at major festivals!
 More theaters theoretically need more product. (More on that below.)
I was hanging on her promise to elaborate on this point, but she didn't actually go back to screens or distributed titles...

* * *
"[..] The $10.54 billion BO take in 2010 represented a small decline from the $10.6 billion in 2009, those missing grosses could be almost entirely chalked up to the lack of an Avatar-sized smash in that year's mix of titles and were perhaps only a mild source of concern for the industry. No such luck in brutal 2011, which saw an international BO dip of 3.5% to a mere $10.2 billion in grosses. Worse still was the continued evaporation in attendance. [..]"
The Great Slide (Donald Wilson; Film Comment; March-April 2012)
Supposedly this guy is an "industry veteran" (according to the byline), yet he still can't tell the difference between "international BO" ($22.4 billion in 2011) and "domestic BO" ($10.2 billion in 2011), please refer to Kristin Thompson article above, or directly to the MPAA theatrical report PDF. The international BO climbed, the domestic BO lowered. However, nothing to be alarmed about, the movie business is not an exact science... People buy tickets or not on an individual basis, and make this decision every week of the year... so even with quality entertainment it would be impossible to predict or to maintain the EXACT SAME number of consumers two years in a row. IT JUST NATURALLY FLUCTUATES!!!! As long as there is no dramatic drop of 50% of the previous average, there is no reason to even MENTION IT, because it has no relevance on the current quality of the offering or the state of mind of the consumers. Hollywood is not the Wall Street stock market, where nano-second variations of a fraction of 1% of the value mean a lot of business changes.
This "expert" blames the (insignificant) decline on a "dreadful winter" and the "Oscar race"... [insert rolling eyes] It's also ironic how he labels foreign titles (which production budget was paid-for by foreign producers) as "loss makers" in his table of all titles distributed by American studios (who only buy the rights to distribute foreign films, and pay for the minimal marketing costs, which are a fraction of what a normal American-made commercial movie costs, since foreign titles open on less than 10 screens in general)... 
"[..] There was a bright spot: Landmark Theatres, the specialty art-house chain that operates 63 venues in 17 states, saw a 4% uptick in attendance, without loads of 3D gimmickery.) [..]"
Did you see what the "arthouse" fare represents on the USA market? Scrap!
It's nice to show you care about how the industry works, from the business side, but Film Comment doesn't need to turn into The Hollywood Reporter... the MAJOR STUDIOS already have enough press dedicated to their self-congratulatory PR. Why don't you try to show some care for your target niche : EVERYTHING ELSE (American indies, repertory and FOREIGN CINEMA)? That's what the specialized "cinéphile" press is supposed to cover and champion, not to pat in the back the major studios who have staff hired to pat them in the back already... Apart from Gavin Smith, are there any readers of FC who care about the accounting side of BIG HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS??? 


26 mars 2012

Charisma (Arnaud)

Enseignante en analyse et esthétique filmiques à l’université Paris Diderot, Diane Arnaud a publié “Mémoire de la disparition”, un ouvrage sur Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Éd. Rouge Profond, 2007).
Ce film de faux départs, qui a pour héros un inspecteur hagard, est une œuvre énigmatique, cérébrale et déconcertante, vaguement inspirée des Aventuriers de l’arche perdue. Elle élit la forêt japonaise comme terrain d’expérimentation pour arbitrer les conflits d’intérêts entre l’individu et son environnement, réinventer les “règles du monde” et réinscrire le trauma historique en pleine nature, à une heure de Tokyo. Diane Arnaud
Cours de cinéma (Forum des Images)  cycle "Mille et une forêts"

* * *

Kiyoshi Kurosawa par Kiyoshi Kurosawa : une leçon de cinéma
4 Avril 2012 (La cinémathèque française) 54'55"

"En ce qui me concerne, je ne ressens pas l'existence des fantômes même si je ne la nie pas à 100%. Je crois que ce qui apparaît dans un film existe, que ce qui ne s'y montre pas n'existe pas. Si le fantôme est à l'écran, il existe (...). J'essaie de montrer les évènements décisifs en un seul plan, comme par exemple le fait qu'un fantôme se tienne soudain debout à tel endroit. C'est un principe de base au cinéma, dans les films dignes de ce nom : l'évènement crucial se déroule sans montage." (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

+ Entretien avec Kiyoshi Kurosawa (14') à l'occasion de la rétrospective qui lui est consacrée à la Cinémathèque du 14 mars au 19 avril 2012.

Voir aussi :

22 mars 2012

Rohmer et philosophie

Philosopher avec Eric Rohmer (France Culture; 19-22 mars 2012)

Conte d'été (1996/Eric Rohmer)

Signe du Lion (1959/Eric Rohmer)
La Boulangère de Monceau (1963/Eric Rohmer)

La Dame du Vendredi (1940/Howard Hawks)
La Collectionneuse (1967/Eric Rohmer)

  • Les contes des quatre saisons (Eric Rohmer; 2001)
  • Analyse d'une oeuvre : Conte d'été, Eric Rohmer, 1996 (Martin Barnier, Pierre Beylot; 2011) 
  • Le laboratoire d'Eric Rohmer, un cinéaste à la Télévision scolaire (2012)
  • Roland Barthes, "L'entretien", Fragments d'un discours amoureux
  • Modernes flâneries du cinéma (Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues; 2009) 
  • Esthétique du mouvement cinématographique (Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues; 2005)
  • Le Goût de la beauté (Eric Rohmer; )
  • Pauline à la plage d'Eric Rohmer (Carole Desbarats; 1990)
  • Eric Rohmer, les jeux de l'amour, du hasard et du discours (Michel Serceau; )
  • Le Goût de la beauté (Eric Rohmer)
  • Fragments d'un discours amoureux (Roland Barthes; 1977)
  • Conte d'été, Eric Rohmer (Carole Desbarats; 2012)
  • Eric Rohmer, corps et âme : l'intégrité retrouvée (Violaine Caminade de Schuytter; 2011)
  • Le Hasard et les règles : Le Modèle du jeu dans la pensée de Pascal (Laurent THIROUIN; 1991)
  • Pensées sur la justice (Blaise Pascal; 2011)
  • Pensées (liasses II à VIII) (Pascal, Blaise)
  • Ma nuit chez Maud (Eric Rohmer)
  • Ma nuit chez Maud d'Eric Rohmer (Philippe Molinier; 2001)
  • Contes des quatre saisons (Eric Rohmer; 2001)

20 mars 2012

Reluctant Distribution for Foreign Films (USA) 2

Releases (opening weekend / max screens ) :
  • 15 Feb 2011 : Berlinale première (Golden Bear)
  • 16 March 2011 : Iran (?)
  • 8 June 2011 : France (105/250); Belgium (9/11)
  • 23 June 2011 : Thailand (?)
  • 1st July 2011 : UK (23/29); Turkey (3/3)
  • 14 July 2011 : Germany (50/159)
  • 11 Aug 2011 : Netherlands (12/14)
  • 25 Aug 2011 : Hungary (?)
  • 16 Sept 2011 : Sweden (8/9)
  • 29 Sept 2011 : Greece (3/5)
  • 7 Oct 2011 : Poland (8/?); Spain (25/28)
  • 13 Oct 2011 : South Korea (15/15)
  • 21 Oct 2011 : Italy (29/29)
  • 11 Nov 2011 : Finland (4/5); Austria (10/12)
  • 24 Nov 2011 : Denmark (3/3); Russia (5/5)
  • 15 Dec 2011 : Portugal (4/?)
  • 25 Dec 2011 : Norway (30/30)
  • 30 Dec 2011 : USA (3/282)
  • 20 Jan 2012 : Brazil (?); Canada (?) 
  • 3 Feb 2012 : Czech Rep. (3/?)
  • 9 Feb 2012 : Israel (?/?) 
  • 24 Feb 2012 : Lebanon (5/?)
  • 1 Mar 2012 : Australia (21/25); Hong Kong (5/?)
  • 8 Mar 2012 : Singapore (?)
American distributors don't think that this Golden Bear winner's narrative is "mainstream" enough to release it on wide release on opening weekend. Only 3 screens to probe the water... even though it won awards, it did a great (popular and critical; Roger Ebert placed it at number 1 on his 2011 top10 list) success in its country of origin (Iran), in France, or anywhere else in Europe. Even Israel is embracing this film from their archenemy! 
As of 4 Mar. 2012, A Separation has grossed $3,677,464 in Iran, along with $9,100,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $12,777,464

Related :

19 mars 2012

Theatrical Distribution Without Distributors (Tugg)

"The DIY movement may have a new champion with the launch of Tugg, a crowdsourced exhibition site whose partners include Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and AMC Theaters, and with Richard Linklater, Ben Affleck and Terrence Malick as board members.
Launched by "The Tree of Life" producer Nicolas Gonda and marketing executive Pablo Gonzalez, Tugg is designed to allow anyone the opportunity to book a film screening through one of the partner cinemas. If you want the theater to screen a film that's part of Tugg's library, you drive users to express their interest at Tugg.com.
Once the numbers hit a threshold, the screening's on. Tugg will handle the details with the theater, including print and theater rentals and ticketing; your viewers then pay only the ticket price. [..]
However, the most compelling elements of the Tugg model are what it could mean for indie films that do and don't have distributors. For example, will Tugg allow small cities to see indie films that would otherwise pass them by? [..]
Users have tested the service in Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Boulder."
Source: indieWIRE (22 Feb 2012) 

Finally, there are a few smart Americans who are actually trying to do something about that fucking lackluster distribution system! About time. Although this is the kind of operation designed for infrastructure-deprived nations such as in Africa (where they lack physical presence of a permanent, brick-and-mortar theatres, let alone arthouses). It is ironic that this kind of distribution method would be needed in the country with THE MOST SCREENS PER INHABITANT on Earth (except for Iceland). In fact, it is quite embarrassing...

You gotta wonder how bad is the normal distribution when big (cinephile/universitary/cosmopolitan/densely urban) megapoles such as San Fransisco, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston... need to resort to "grass-root begging" in order to get a certain film screened (assuming these events didn't ask for a repeat screening of a title that already came out there). Don't they get it automatically with everyone else, when distributors plan their release circuit... why would distributors want to exclude these cities full of students and cinephiles??? This is mind-boggling.

Anyway, this is a constructive endeavour that will hopefully get the full support of theatrically deprived fans of independent and foreign cinema (which unfortunately gets embargoed by the official American distributors without American film journalists giving a shit!)
If it works for this start-up, then maybe the major distributors will pay attention to the Long Tail consumers and revise their "protectionist" distribution planning that only gives exposition to Hollywood-made products (well done deservedly distributed widely or utter failure forced down the "take-the-money-and-run" getaway).

Related :

17 mars 2012

Popular Spanish-language Movies in the USA

Will Ferrell in Spanish (subtitled in English) on Jimmy Kimmel Live (12 March 2012) part 1-2-3

Source: The Promotion of U.S. Latino Films (Henry Puente; Aug 2004) [PDF]

The "blockbuster" release is Spy Kids (a Hollywood movie directed by Roberto Rodriguez), included for some Spanish-speaking parts.
9 films get a normal "mainstream" release (between 1000 and 3000 screens)
37 films are stuck in limbo, between niche release (between 100 and 1000 screens) and straight up invisible (less than 100 screens), which is 80% of these Spanish-language movies on this 20 years period.
That is a very poor representation for Hispanics which became the largest minority demographic in the USA in the XXIst century. (see the proportion of Hispanic viewers in the USA)
The survey ends before Y tu mamá también (released in the USA in 2002), which opened on 40 screens and expanded to a maximum of 286 screens.
There must have been 4000 movies made in the Spanish language within this 20 years period (Spain, Mexico, South America and Central America), and while USA distributors cherry-picked only 47 titles (supposedly the best ones, or at least the most marketable to the American audience...) 80% of those chosen ones don't get a normal commercial distribution!
What about Pedro Almodovar, Alex de La Iglesia, Alejandro Amenábar, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Arturo Ripstein, Fernando Solanas‎, Carlos Saura, Julio Medem, Luis García Berlanga, Isabel Coixet...?
If you look at the level of Spanish language films imports in Spain (from Central and South America), there is a certain interest shown by distributors and probably the audience too. The reverse is also true, films from Spain tend to fare well on the Latin American market, because they share the language and the latin culture, even if the stories take place in a different country (or continent). Obviously, Spanish is not as directly importable in the USA, or at least not to the same extent... but there is a definite potential, due to the proximity of Mexico, the cultural exchanges, the mutual mix of populations (migration for work, or vacation for tourists respectively). There should be at least a minimal market share for Spanish-language movies within the USA population (and not only the demographic with a direct latino heritage, the American population at large too)!

The American distributors and the American audience are very very bad indicators of what is "popular" or "worthwhile entertainment" (let alone great art cinema) in the Spanish-language cinema, or else we would see a much higher rate of great Spanish-language films being bought/screened/viewed on the American market. Because there are OBVIOUSLY more great Spanish-language films made during this period that are NOT SCREENED nor VIEWED or DEMANDED by the American audience.

* * *

The Grind House of My Father (Manohla Dargis; NYT; 15 March 2012)
If movie reviewers at the NYT were JOURNALISTS they would take the opportunity of Will Ferrell's mock-latino entertainment movie release to at least address the elephant in the room of Spanish-language distribution in the USA... Unfortunately, they aren't aware of their surrounding, sticking to deliver the marketing talking points on the assembly line of industry-approved weekly-batch distribution. What Dargis cares to talk about is "genre" and "performance"... Always blind to a significant, structural, socio-cultural CONTEXT that explains a lot of the shortcomings in the American distribution system. If only they cared about these problematics, and had the motivation to engage with ways to solve this pernicious type of self-censorship of the American film culture. 

"It's not obvious what language Will Ferrell's new film, Casa de Mi Padre, is speaking. [..] Is it a deft in-joke for the US's movie-mad Hispanic audience? Or does Ferrell's presence just crank up the irony factor for the urban-hipster crowd to indulge yet another cultural fetish? [..]
As well as the largest ethnic minority, Hispanic-Americans are perhaps the US's keenest, most youthful and fast-growing film demographic. Forty-three million Hispanics bought 351m tickets in 2010 (out of a total 1.34bn) – up from 37m buying 300m the year before. People of that ethnicity in the key 18-34 group are 44% more likely to see a film on its opening weekend than non-Hispanics. [..]
Part of the problem is that the Latino market is difficult to pin down. The US's South and Central American immigrants come from over 20 countries, with different subcultures, tastes and dialects. The second, third and fourth generations don't necessarily have the same attitude to the mother countries (which is why Casa de Mi Padre risks splitting its audience) – or even agree on where the mother country is. One generalisation that might stand is that they don't like being patronised: even stereotypes of a more contemporary kind don't go over well. [..] "
Will Hollywood ever speak Hispanic audiences' language? Hispanic-Americans are among the US's keenest film-goers, but Hollywood offers them little more than stereotypes (Phil Hoad; The Guardian; 13 March 2012)
Could you explain why it's the BRITISH newspaper, The Guardian, that does a better job at contextualizing and analyzing the problematics brought forth by such a movie like Casa de Mi Padre?

Because American movie reviewers are numbed by the Hollywood brainwashing self-affirmation.

Related :

16 mars 2012

Andreï Tarkovski (Jean Douchet)

Le critique et historien du cinéma Jean Douchet a consacré son stage annuel à l'un des cinéastes russes les plus célèbres, Andreï Tarkovski. (Institut Lumière; Lyon; France; Vendredi 9-10 mars 2012)

Stage Jean Douchet sur Andreï Tarkovski -1- "Andreï Roublev" (40'40")

Stage Jean Douchet sur Andreï Tarkovski -2- "Une journée d'Andreï Arsenevitch" de Chris Marker (49'38")

Stage Jean Douchet sur Andreï Tarkovski -3- "L'Enfance d'Ivan" (46'02")

Stage Jean Douchet sur Andreï Tarkovski -4- "Le Sacrifice" (16'15")

Toutes les séances sont suivies d’une analyse des films par Jean Douchet

Vendredi 9 mars
  • Le Rouleau compresseur et le violon (A. Tarkovski) 
  • Andreï Roublev (A. Tarkovski)
Samedi 10 mars
  • Une journée d’Andreï Arsenevitch (C. Marker)
    Suivie d’une conférence sur Andreï Tarkovski, extraits de films à l’appui
  • L'Enfance d'Ivan (A. Tarkovski) 
  • Le Sacrifice (A. Tarkovski)

15 mars 2012

Assumed obscurity in "art cinema" (USA)

Art house and repertory titles contribute very little to the $9 billion in ticket sales of the domestic theatrical market. Of the 100 top-grossing US theatrical releases in 2011, only six were art-house fare: The King’s Speech, Black Swan, Midnight in Paris, Hanna, The Descendants, and Drive. Taken together, they yielded about $309 million, which is $40 million less than Transformers: Dark of the Moon took in all by itself. And these figures represent grosses; only about half of ticket revenues are passed to the distributor.
More strictly art-house items like Take Shelter, Potiche, Bill Cunningham New York, Senna, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Certified Copy, Page One, The Women on the 6th Floor, and Meek’s Cutoff took in only one to two million dollars each. Other “specialty titles” grossed much less. Miranda July’s The Future attracted about half a million dollars, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives grossed $184,000, and Godard’s Film Socialisme took in less than $35,000. For the distributors, art films retrieve their costs in ancillaries, like DVD and home video, but the theatres don’t have that cushion.
David Bordwell; Pandora’s digital box: Art house, smart house (30 January 2012)
When a mainstream commercial American movie comes to France, it is not labelled "artfilm" just to bank on the subsidies and secure an arthouse circuit distribution... if the movie appeals to a large audience (despite being in a foreign language), with a conventional narrative, and famous actors, there is no reason why it couldn't play the multiplex circuit like a grown up. You know, the artfilm circuit is for challenging film that are HARD to sell to the general population, that only appeal to a NICHE audience.

But to American distributors, a blockbuster that is mass-appeal in the UK (a country which used to share the same language as the USA...) like the King's Speech goes straight to the "arthouse" category! And even David Bordwell thinks so too! It opened on 4 screens (you never know, this "kind" of narrative might not connect with the American audience, it's extremely RISKY business, right?) and expended on 2584 screens (which is the threshold between wide release and blockbuster release).

Midnight in Paris gets a wide-release distribution in France (406 screens; reached over 1.6 million 
spectators), where it is a FOREIGN film, you know, playing in multiplexes everywhere! But at home in the USA (OK, it is only an American co-production) it is considered an "art-house" fare? It opened on 6 screens and reached a whooping 652 screens eventually (not even a "wide release" fare). Yeah, it's set in Paris, but this didn't turn off the general American audience when Gene Kelly and Vincente Minnelli did it... It is in ENGLISH, with HOLLYWOOD stars, no reason not to get home advantage in the USA.

Black Swan opened on 18 screens and then reached 2407 screens. Again a timid distribution that goes near blockbuster level. I imagine how stressed the American distributor must have been when deciding whether this "edgy" love story about ballet with horror elements might repel the core teen demographic... what a tough call to make! 

Hanna opened right away on 2535 screens, it is clearly a "wide release", why would David Bordwell consider it "arthouse fare" when there are only 250 art houses in the USA?

The Descendants (opened last month on 235 screens in France) and Drive (363 screens with nearly 1.5 million spectators in France) are also mainstream narratives with Hollywood stars and a wide potential appeal. No problem.

OK, these might be considered "low budget" at the production level, but they are marketable just like any other MASS APPEAL entertainment movie, because they are genre coded, with funny dialogues and moving moments, familiar faces and sugar-coating music! This is not the type of "art films" that are only targeted at snub cinéphiles because of an acquired taste... Well in the USA they are apparently, because HOLLYWOOD pigeon-holes movies according to their BUDGET, and scholars pursue the marketing rhetoric inherited from the studios. 

Meanwhile Sahara (2005) opened right away on 3154 screens for opening weekend cash-in time, and maximum public awareness. Only to cash half its budget domestically... Because distributors don't know what is a "potentially successful" movie, they just know how much its budget was!
Major studios may play around with exhibition "monopoly" to prevent or minimize flops (even though they shouldn't spend inordinate sums of money in unsound projects to begin with...), but art films with low budgets cannot afford to compensate the lack of appeal with an ubiquitous advertising presence and a global presence in all cities of the world market...

The logic is : huge budget means "take-the-money-and-run" type of carpet-bombing release for the opening weekend to recoup the cost. Low budget means it'll be profitable without a proper distribution, or we don't care if we lose that few money. They don't even consider the potential audience or the artistic value, which each would demand a sufficient number of screens. Supply doesn't adjust to demand, it's more like a FORCED supply that the demand has no choice but to cope with and move on to the next weekly batch (hoping the title they want would be distributed in a theatre near them). It's forced cash-cow milking... even from a business point of view, it's a childish approach to understanding a market's needs. They could cash in so much more efficiently with a distribution that knows more than 2 types of releases : either blockbuster (we put all our money in it) or pity release (if we didn't have to we wouldn't even consider distributing those).

The USA is a big country, with a diverse population, many talents and plenty of money to come by, famous for its entrepreneurial pursuit... so why isn't there anyone, NO ONE, to come up with an ALTERNATIVE PLAN to distribute art films decently???????????????????* There is humongous profits to scrap from! There are enough screens! There are enough festivals! There is an audience for it! There is a press for it! Why countries that don't have such a privileged situation manage to do better than the USA, with less money, less screens, less festivals, less audience, less media... and I'm not talking about France. The UK has a better art-house circuit than the USA! Belgium, Lebanon, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Malaysia too... This isn't normal. The USA should not, must not settle with this status quo. They deserve a better art house circuit! The world deserves the access to the American market too.

(*) Apparently an alternative "one-off on-demand" distribution system was finally inaugurated at SXSW 2012! Tugg.com It's in beta stage. Hopefully its eventual success will change the mentality of American distributors and everyone else depending on them to evaluate how "mainstream" a movie might be... [see following post here : Distribution without Distributors (Tugg)]

The "more-strictly arthouse items" : 
Potiche (542 screens and nearly 2.3 million spectators in France) and Les Femmes du 6e étage (449 screens and 2.2 million spectators in France) are mainstream in France, thus get a wide release. Why are they marketed as "niche" in the USA, apart the fact they are subtitled???

Take Shelter (91 screens in the USA; 103 in France), Meek’s Cutoff (45 screens in the USA; 71 in France) are American "indie", and maybe a bit unconventional in their form, but nothing cryptic or incomprehensible, it's accessible to the general audience (if they make the effort). So maybe not a wide release, but at least a few hundreds screens. If we multiply the numbers in France (where it is a FOREIGN FILM) by 7, to adapt to the American market size, it should correspond to 721 screens for the former and 497 screens for the latter. We are not even close. How do you explain Americans are incapable to market their own indie films to a domestic audience??? Why France could find more spectators for them???

The Future (like Certified Copy) is clearly an indie, with a quirky, unconventional storyline, fine, but if the blockbuster crowd will never be interested in this in a million years, there is still a niche market for original storytelling, for acquired taste, for adventurous cinephiles! Can't it do better than 31 screens nationwide in the USA? 

Uncle Boonmee and Film Socialisme, are definitely into the art territory, because the narrative becomes really challenging, and unlike all the examples above, you can't just follow if you're not prepared culturally, aesthetically to these idiosyncratic universes. So these types of art films truly need the protected environment of an art-house circuit, the educational support of the specialized press and the help of ciné-club introduction/discussions. But given their historical importance and their critical acclaim they do deserve MORE than their potential audience, which is not 1 or 5 screens. If there was a cinéphile community in the USA, Uncle Boonmee should get at least 150-200 screens, for the Palme d'Or alone. Well, these alleged 250 art-houses should ALL book it (maybe not all at the same time)!

I'm sorry but if less than 10 exhibitors book Uncle Boonmee for its opening week-end... THEN THERE ARE LESS THAN 10 ARTHOUSES IN THE USA. Period. I have no idea what the other 240 so-called "arthouses" are doing...

When you release major films such as Uncle BoonmeeThe SunLa Libertad, Le quattro volte, The Turin Horse, A Separation... on single digit screens (out of 250 supposedly art-friendly screens!), you're not trying, you're just sticking your head in the sand. We can't speak of a proper "art-house" circuit... it's not "art-house fare" oriented, and it's not large enough to be a "circuit" for a country of that size...

14 mars 2012

Forgotten Obsolete English Words #7 : Reactive

Etymology : From French réactionnaire. Used in the time of the French revolution to refer to a person opposing the revolution; as in a person favoring a reaction to the revolution.
(1) A person who vehemently, often fanatically opposes progress and favors return to a previous condition [synonymous : die-hard, mossback, ultraconservative]

REACTIONARY (adjective) :
(1) Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative. Vehemently, often fanatically opposing progress or reform. [Synonymous : die-hard, mossbacked, ultraconservative]
(2) Clinging to obsolete ideas [Synonymous : backward, conservative, unprogressive]

Not to confound with : 

REACTIVE (adjective) :
(1) that reacts or responds to a stimulus. Reacting to things that happen, rather than making things happen yourself. Tending to be responsive or to react to a stimulus.
(2) Reacting to the past rather than anticipating the future, not predictive.

PROACTIVE (adjective) :
(1) relating to, caused by, or being interference between previous learning and the recall or performance of later learning
(2) acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes [Synonymous : farseeing, farsighted, forehanded, foreseeing, forethoughtful, forward, forward-looking, prescient, provident, visionary]

13 mars 2012

Switzerland Diversity - World Cinema Stats (27)

L’analyse détaillée de la provenance des films montre clairement une diminution du nombre de titres originaires des Etats-Unis: sur les cinq dernières années, ceux-ci sont passés de plus de 40% à moins de 30% du nombre total des films de sortie. Ce sont les films européens (français et allemands entre autres) mais aussi d’autres régions comme l’Amérique du Sud ou l’Asie qui ont le plus profité de cette baisse.
La tendance est similaire si on considère maintenant le nombre total de films exploités. La diversité, mesurée en nombre de titres disponibles par pays d’origine, est donc assurée compte tenu du fait qu’aucun pays n’a de majorité, même si la position des films «made in USA» reste forte.

L’analyse de la part de marché des films selon leur origine, sur la base de la fréquentation, montre une situation bien différente:
Les deux principales constatations que l’on peut retirer de [la figure 10] sont: d’une part la position clairement dominante des films américains, avec une part de marché toujours majoritaire, alors que c’est loin d’être le cas en terme de nombre de films comme on l’a vu, et d’autre part la part de marché très faible du cinéma suisse sur son propre territoire. Même en tenant compte des co-productions suisses, les résultats de fréquentation ne sont jamais très élevés, avec un maximum de 6% de part de marché pour la Suisse en 2003.

Pour qu’un film soit disponible simultanément dans plusieurs cinémas, il faut pouvoir disposer de plusieurs copies de celui-ci. En analysant le rapport entre le nombre de copies et le nombre de films selon leur origine (cf. tableau T3), on relève un écart très important entre les données pour les films américains et celles des autres provenances, en défaveur de ces dernières. Cet écart est d’autant plus marqué si on ne considère que les premières visions. La comparaison 2003-2004 montre aussi que cet écart entre les USA et les autres pays s’est accentué en 2004.
La présence dominante des films d’origine américaine sur le marché n’est donc pas tellement due au nombre de films (titres) à disposition des exploitants et donc du public, mais bien au nombre de copies de films. L’importance de ce paramètre est primordiale si on considère les besoins de couverture pour la diffusion d’un film sur un territoire donné.
Source: FSO (Federal Statistical Office) [PDF]


10 mars 2012

Lazyass Moviegoers (ironic)

The culture that came up with the absurd idea that you could go watch a movie without leaving your car, can't really be expected but to watch formulaic movies targeted at kids... Of course, they find anything non-Hollywood boring!


08 mars 2012

KONY 2012

KONY 2012 (5 March 2012/Jason Russel/USA) DOC 30' YouTube [FR] / Vimeo / Official websiteWikipedia
KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Donate to Invisible Children: causes.com/donatekony2012 Purchase KONY 2012 products: invisiblechildrenstore.myshopify.com/Sign the Pledge: causes.com/konypledge
For members of the PRESS and celebrity REPRESENTATION ONLY: Monica Vigo pr@invisiblechildren.com


06 mars 2012

Reluctant Distribution for Foreign Films (USA)

  • 22 May 2011 : Palm for Best Actor (Cannes) 
  • 13 January 2012 : AFI Special Award
  • 15 January 2012 : 3 Golden Globes
  • 29 January 2012 : SAG Award 
  • 12 February 2012 : 7 BAFTA awards
  • 19 February 2012 : Best European Film (Goya)
  • 24 February 2012 : 6 Césars 
  • 25 February 2012 : 4 Independent Spirit Awards
  • 26 February 2012 : 5 Oscars

If Harvey Weinstein knew The Artist was (1) a good movie, (2) a potential Oscar winner, (3) a crowd-pleaser why did he wait almost 4 months to give it more than 1000 screens (which is the lower level of a typical "wide release" on the USA market for a commercial movie)??? I know, being silent AND foreign hardly makes it a totally universal crowd-pleaser... it's already amazing such a film gets a commercial distribution at all on USA soil, outside of a couple of repertoire house (which is what would happen to a contemporary silent - gangster genre - film like Kaurismaki's Juha). but once you've overcame these lazy resistances (the latter being almost imperceptible since all the intertitles are seemlessly translated in English, it could very well be an American movie for all that matters) the movie is a typical genre, and/or a pastiche of a genre, a musical, a romance, a comedy, about Hollywood history... what is there that the American audience couldn't connect with? In retrospect, it looks quite shy, or rather cowardly, to open such a box office winner  (not of major-studio-blockbuster proportion of course) on only 4 screens for its American première.

If an easy movie like The Artist doesn't make American distributors feel confident enough to give it a decent distribution equivalent to its Hollywood production counterparts... then what will? Do you really need to get to this exceptional situation (to win Oscars, Golden Globes, Spirits, SAG...) to get the normal exposition that any other Hollywood movie gets automatically whether they are good or bad? Couldn't you lower this unattainable bar that one foreign film in 50 years may reach to get the chance privilege of a "normal commercial distribution"? Can't you just put faith into international purchases and invest/risk your money on foreign films deserving to meet a wider American audience because there is nothing wrong with them (except for the fact they are not in ENGLISH).
If the average Hollywood flick would have to wait till they get 5 Oscars to get distributed on wide-release... there would be a lot more room on American screens. See what am sayin'?

And if a FOREIGN SILENT FILM can ultimately appeal to the mainstream American audience, why a more comformist mainstream genre movie (i.e. NOT silent), like A Separation, Poetry, Melancholia, Mysteries of Lisbon, La piel que habito, City of Life and Death, Carancho, Le garçon au vélo, Habemus Papam... could not become popular amongst American moviegoers, therefore being treated like a "commercial release" for Hollywood movies and get a decent number of screens on opening weekend? Let alone world-class artfilms (that might have a more challenging form to access for the average moviegoer)!

Why is the American market so fucking skimpy and reluctant to foreign cinema??? What a lame, insular industry. 

Related :

05 mars 2012

European Art-houses (Jäckel)

"Threats to the Art-house Sector
When the first multiplexes opened, it was feared their development would be detrimental to existing cinemas, particularly in the art-house sector. Yet countries such as Belgium and the UK have enjoyed a resurgence of activity both in mainstream and art-house cinemas. [..] It was also noted that the resurgence of cinemagoing in a multiplex's cathchment area had 'given the older establishment an incentive to modernise, and in certain cases, to increase their capacity'. [..]
Over the last decade, independent exhibitors across Europe have felt squeezed by the tendency of the major industry players to build their own circuits and/or forge programming alliances with smaller distributors. The impact of multiplexes on smaller exhibitors is not only evident in areas of low-density population but also in major cities, even in countries that operate support mechanisms for independents. Smaller exhibitors operating sites are now finding that, in certain regions close to overcapacity, they are in direct competition with multiplex operators who have started to screen art-house product to attract new audiences.
[..] 'What happened in the food distribution sector and in the music world should have served as a warning to art et essai cinema operators' [..] Even in Paris, a city reputed as enjoying 'the widest menu of films on offer at any given moment to the public in any city in the world' is now being affected. [..]
Many independent exhibitors, on the other hand, emphasise the cultural, social and educational role of the cinema rather than profitability, seeing their role as programmers rather than managers. [..]"

"The state of film exhibition in the East is very different to that of the European Union. Declining levels of local production since 1990, along with the progressive closure of dilapidated cinemas, has led to a dramatic fall in admissions in most Central and Eastern territories. Between 1989 and 1998, average cinema visits per person per annum dropped from 6.6 to 1.4 in Hungary, 6.7 to 0.6 in Latvia, and from 8.8 to 0.3 in Romania. This pattern meant that by the end of the millennium, the Bulgarian and Romanian markets had almost entirely collapsed.
[..] Poland has been the fastest-growing market. [..] Romania saw its first multiplex cinema open on the outskirts of Bucharest in 2000. [..]"

"With several European films now receiving the same scale of release as US blockbusters, the criticism made by French commentators in the mid-1990s that multiplexes are 'les porte-avions du cinéma américain' (aircraft carriers for American films) may seem partly debatable."

"Length of Release
In recent years the theatrical life expectancy of a film has been considerably reduced as distributors tend to consider the opening weekend as a key indicators of success or failure, with the effect of subsequently determining a film's future run. This climate has tended to favour mainstream Hollywood releases aimed at 15-to-24-years-olds, who represent the major share of the audience in Europe's national markets. This trend can be particularly damaging for European films which rely on word of mouth and good critical reviews to help build admissions.
[..] 'European films in circulation usually take longer than American films to reach their full potential throughout the European market.' [..]
In the past, over a period of a few months or even years, these films managed to filter down into the marketplace. During the 1980s and early 90s, Alain Resnais, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer, the most elitist masters of the old French New Wave, along with Peter Greenaway and other European auteurs, had little difficulty inexporting their artistically oriented films. [..] However, despite a number of retrospectives in several large European cities, it is now on television rather than the big screen where auteur films are more likely to be seen as the demise of the art circuit has greatly affected their visibility in cinemas.
[..] When word-of-mouth fails to develop rapidly, films get pulled from cinemas before they realise their full potential. This would suggest that lack of visibility is a major problem facing new directors in Europe."

"Unreleased films
Research in the UK has shown that, in the late 1990s, between a 1/2 and 2/3 of British films did not have a theatrical release within a year of production. As many as 43.1% of films produced in 1997 remained unreleased and, 2 years later, there remained no plans to show them. Only 15.5% of UK films managed to have a wide release in 1997 compared to 50% in 1984. In Germany and Italy, the situation is slightly better, yet a third of German and Italian feature films go straight to television or video. France, where only films that have a statutory theatrical release can qualify for cinema funding, should provide a brighter picture. However, in 1999, French producer Alain Terzian quoted figures according to which, of the 147 French- or majority-French-produced films announced for 1998, between 30 and 40 films still did not have a distributor the following year, and of the rest, 1/3 had a minimal release."

"Continuing investments in multiplex development across Europe indicates that operators believe that theatrical exhibition will survive competition from home entertainment. [..] Admissions may have increased, but in most cases, this does not appear to have resulted in a greater choice of films in the multiplexes. In many cases, it has almost had the reverse effect: exhibitors are fighting battles with an ever-larger number of prints for fewer films in order to attract audience attention, creating a situation in which it is increasingly difficult for the vast majority of films to exist.
Domination of cinema ownership by companies combining exhibition with distribution interests has left smaller exhibitors struggling for survival and access to films. At the EUROPA CINEMAS annual gathering of exhibitors in December 2000, a number of delegates expressed the hope that, with the Internet, they would be able to access films directly from producers. the more pessimistic thought there was little chance of this happening while the power of the larger players continues to increase as a result of concentration and integration trends in the industry.
Strategies such as networking arrangements among domestic exhibitors, and European support to exhibitors (e.g. EUROPA CINEMAS), have provided opportunities for smaller operators. In several territories where multiplex development has almost reached saturation point, some exhibitors have started to show a greater variety of films on their increasing number of screens. This situation, along with the development of artplexes, could help the exhibition of European films, even though it will be of little comfort to the small exhibitors who [ have little hope retaining their independance or their theatre. Moreover, at a time when profits, if any, are more likely to come from television, video rental, video sell-through and DVD, the question needs to be raised whether recent efforts to help the theatrical distribution and exhibition of European films may be misguided.
With the industry excitedly entertaining the prospects for digital distribution, whereby films will be delivered to cinemas electronically, cinemas may be set for another heavy injection of capital. A key hurdle to such a development is the conflict between distributors and exhibitors over who should meet the cost of installing the necessary hardware. Only those who stand to benefit are likely to make the investment. If Europe's exhibition sector does see a large-scale move towards digital distribution in the future, it can be anticipated that this change will serve only to strengthen the position of the existing large US and European chains, as they will be the only operators in a position to raise the levels of capital required for the transition."
Source: European Film Industries (Anne Jäckel; BFI; 2003)

In Europe, producers, filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors, audiences, academics, critics care and worry about the comparative health of the art-house sector, they study it, analyse it, follow it, support it, fix problems little by little, call for the attention of media and public opinion, to regulate the market, to reassign governmental funds... 
In the USA, where the situation is incomparably worse, they've passed the stage of caring... it's like nothing happened, they turn a blind eye and move along, on they go religiously following the worship of Hollywood and its endless award shows... 

Related :

03 mars 2012

USA imports of foreign films 1913-1925

Source : American Films Abroad. Hollywood's domination of the World's Movie Screens (Kerry Segrave; 1997)

There is a gap in data between 1913 and 1917, but we get an idea of how was the import-export balance before and after World War 1. It's not counted in number of films or in spectators, but in exposed film (negative and positive) footage, so we can assume it's the available number of hours for American films outside the USA (USA exports) and the number of hours of foreign films available on the American market, regardless for the runtime of each title (which varied a lot back then). What is evident is that the American film culture was just as insular back then than it is today. Remember that back then, in the late Silent Cinema era, most films were commercial and narrative by nature. What was later called an "art cinema" category, like Chaplin, Keaton, Griffith, Lubitsch, Flaherty, Stroheim, Walsh, Vidor... (for the USA) and Feuillade, Perret,  Clair, Tourneur, Wiene, Dreyer,  Bauer, Eisenstein, Murnau... (for the rest of the world) were all popular genre widely commercially released in their respective countries. So the USA market didn't release foreign films because they were "non-commercial" or appealing only to a niche audience... they just embargoed the great masters of the commercial silent genres for selfish reasons only, to boost the box office of their domestic productions! And we know that this mentality and practice didn't move an inch for the consecutive 90 years... 
If there was an operative film criticism back then, and now, certainly some people (at least a minority of alternative press) must have taken some measures (with governmental aid or not) to defend a larger import of the cinema culture coming from abroad... Unfortunately, this kind of culturally-conscious journalism didn't exist then, and still doesn't exist today in the USA... because the level of cinema imports is still under 10 %. Hollywood never gets tired of getting richer than any other film industry/film market in the world, and continues to maintain a totalitarian grip on protectionism like a brand new struggling industry attacked by more powerful competitors would. I don't know why anyone smart enough to hold a pen would think that Hollywood is threatened by foreign competition... but apparently there isn't a single American film magazine who believes that this anti-foreign-cinema glass ceiling should be denounced (at the very least) and firmly opposed (at best) until the import-export discrepancy becomes more reasonable (20-80%).
Making one headline per year about it, without following through and see if the situation evolves... and just doing the same the next year, as if they never talked about it before, as if it wasn't like that for the past 100 years without improvements... is not enough. After a century of unsuccessful "headlines", maybe American critics should start thinking about taking more efficient actions... but that would assume they know what is going on, and what is there to do. which they clearly don't, indulging year after year into redundant, shallow Oscar coverage, and ignoring the fact the best films are released on less than 10 screens nationwide. All this is normal to them. They've been numb by the Hollywood P.R. and are too happy to watch entertainment for free to risk to lose their perks. 
Oblivious, ignorant, incapable and cowards. They might think it is a bit harsh, poor little things... but after 100 years of uselessness, I believe it is fair for the world to feel impatience, frustration and resentment, and start calling things as they are. The nice way didn't work until now... maybe we should consider an embargo of Hollywood products (since they rely so much on their international sales to avoid bankruptcy), even the good flicks, only then would they get a taste of their own medicine and feel what it's like to be denied exports on major markets and forced to make do with your domestic audience.

Let's see if they can manage to build a decent specialized film press before the next 100 years... (I'm not too hopeful though). Their current concern is to figure whether the Oscars are a ceremony relevant to world cinema! We are in 2012 and they didn't stop expecting, 50 years ago, for an industry-centric award spectacle to have canonical relevance outside of their borders... Don't forget to ask yourself again next year if the Oscars is relevant internationally! We never know, the rules changes might turn its foundations upside down... Hopeless. 

Related :

01 mars 2012

Hollywoodworld Monoculture (Segrave)

Hollywood Dream of Hollywoodworld (1980-1995)

"[..] Foreign films in America continued to fare dismally. In 1991, films from other countries (including English-language ones) took less than 2% of US box office gross. Their best year was in 1973 when they reportedly took around 9%. For 1993 the foreign take was again less than 2%. At the end of 1993 the highest grossing foreign film of all time in the US was I Am Curious Yellow (1968) with $22.5 Million. La Dolce Vita (1961) with $19.5 M. and Like Water for Chocolate (1993) with $19.5 M. while the latter film was likely to become the all-time leader since it was still in first-run release, it had sold only 1/5th as many tickets, to that date, as did La Dolce Vita. The higher earnings were due to higher admission prices. total domestic box office receipts in 1992 were $4.9 billion with foreign-language films grossing just $22 million of that. English-language foreign imports grossed $44 million that gear (arm-length films only, excluding such releases as Lawnmower Man nominally a UK product but filmed in the US with American financial involvement.) Thus the total and true import gross amount to $66 million of the $4.9 billion domestic gross, just 1.3%, which (said Variety) was 'a typical result over the past decade'"


"[..] When European writer and contributor to The Nation Daniel Singer observed in 1994 that Rambo was splashed all over Asia, that recent American soaps, sitcoms and movies dominated the TV screens of Western Europe while older (and cheaper) US material did the same in Eastern Europe, he warned :
'If this trend is allowed to continue, we will be sentenced to a sinister uniformity of heroes and models, metaphors and dreams. Mastery of the image may well become both the instrument and the symbol of leadership in the new world order.'
Hollywood likes to claim that the world is dominated by American films because the world selects them and loves US movies best of all, but as Alexander Cockburn wrote :
'It has actually been force-fed to the world through the careful engineering of taste, ruthless commercial clout, arm-twisting by the US departments of commerce and State, threats of reverse trade embargoes and other such heavy artillery'
Hollywood's cartel has worked through a combination of economic and political pressure rationalized mainly in terms of free trade - but also as a Cold War weapon - driven all the while by the insatiable greed of the producing studios for more and more profits.
People in foreign countries did not exercise free choice in selecting US films over local productions since those local movies were normally foreclosed by unfair trade practices used by the US producers. Through  at least the 1970s most Australians had never even seen an Australian movie; most Canadians had never seen a Canadian film. As Canadian film historian Manjunath Pendakur wrote :
'Audiences can only be formed for films that are effectively available to them. The free-choice argument is no more than the myth of consumer sovereignty which masks the demand created by film-distributing companies through massive advertising and promotion. furthermore, the free-choice argument assumes free and open competition between American and Canadian film production companies for theatrical markets.'
With its huge domestic base and quick-to-develop cartel, Hollywood's handful of major studios went on to dominate in fully integrated fashion, producing, distributing and exhibiting at home and abroad. The star system, publicity machinery and huge, plush cinemas were put into place and extended with the large profits flowing to the cartel. It was a business strategy suited to a wealthy cartel, forced into cinemas around the world, which produced more profits and led to greater control. Nations fought back but with little effect. One tactic was for a country to impose restrictive measures (indirect government supports) through such things as screen quotas, import limits and high tariffs. Support measures were direct government aid through film subsidies, easier bank loans, and so forth. Comprehensive steps involved a government simultaneously using both restrictive and supportive tactics. Yet there always seemed to be a snag. When a screen quota was imposed, the exhibitor often turned to a pool of cheaper foreign movies, declining to show any more local movies once he met the quota. Thus the screen quota which was meant to be a minimum often became at the same time a maximum quota. When imports were limited to a certain number per year, extended runs by those films severely curtailed local access. And extended runs could be imposed on local exhibitors through contracts as well as through the practice of block booking wherein an exhibitor was compelled to take a certain number of films from a studio in order to book the single film he was really interested in. Although illegal in America for close to 40 years, the Hollywood cartel members imposed it on nations around the world, and had since 1915.
US mass culture is the most prolific disseminator of images in history. If films are viewed as a medium of expression, then the context for judging its purpose changes from one of profit to one of communications. In board terms film is a conveyor of a society's values and beliefs. It is a medium through which artists, allied with their culture and their own perceptions, can provide the public with views of life and its problems. It carries images of people and society - all carry ideas and have the power to impart them to the viewers. This is especially so when there are no other images and ideas of other cultures with which to compare them. Often the ideas may be in direct conflict with those of the importing nations.
Hollywood myth is that an individual can change society and can even change the world. complex reality is simplified. US films cannibalize history and present it through a prism that simply entertains Americans but does not move them into action. Reclaiming and reinterpreting history should be a high priority for decolonized nations. Films can play a vital role in that process but if those films are made to profit from US market they can hardly serve such purpose. the state is responsible for the maintenance and perpetuation of national heritage and culture; the authority of the state gives it the missions to preserve and encourage art and culture for it is the only institution representative of its people and their traditions.
State support has been necessary everywhere because of Hollywood's domination of the local markets. Foreign control is in the interests of certain national groups (such as large exhibitor chains) who benefit financially from cooperation with foreign producers and distributors. Hollywood integrates its consumers from top down; producing a product for mass consumption, then creating a demand for it. There is no common demand from the bottom up, forcing the cartel to produce certain types of movies. The US industry is not subject to public demand, rather the public is the subject of calculation and manipulation by the industry. Film, and all cultural material, are of course, also commodities but to Hollywood they are only commodities with no cultural or artistic facets, no different from ball bearings. Movies such as Jurassic Park are programmed for release around the world even before the first script stage. Originality was and is the enemy of this instrumental efficiency, unless co-opted. Thus individuality is reduced to formula. What parades as progress in Hollywood, as the ever new, remains a cloak for an unchanging sameness of the product. [..]"
Source : American Films Abroad. Hollywood's domination of the World's Movie Screens (Kerry Segrave; 1997)
  1. In the beguining was Europe, especially France (1895-1919)
  2. Consolidating control (1920s)
  3. The Eagle Screams in English (1928-1930)
  4. One Film Suits All (1930s)
  5. Another War, Another Opportunity (1939-1945)
  6. Under the Celluloid Boot (1945-1952)
  7. Hollywood Sells Everywhere (1952-1975)
  8. Hollywood Dream of Hollywoodworld (1980-1995)
  9. Monoculture