How Hollywood Works
Publication Year: 2003
This is a book about the US motion picture industry - its structure and policies, its operations and practices. It looks at the processes that are involved in turning raw materials and labor into feature films. It describes the process of film production, distribution, exhibition and retail - a process that involves different markets where materials, labor and products are bought and sold. In other words, this is a book about how Hollywood works - as an industry. How Hollywood Works: - offers an up-to-date survey of the policies and structure of the US film industry - looks at the relationship between the film industry and other media industries - examines the role of the major studios and the other 'players' - including, law firms, ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
© Janet Wasko 2003
First Published 2003
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 0 7619 6813 X
ISBN 0 7619 6814 8 (pbk)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2003102339
Typeset by Mayhew Typesetting, Rhayader, Powys
Printed and bound in Great Britain by TJ International, Padstow, Cornwall
List of Tables[Page vii]
- 1.1 Leading Hollywood talent agencies 21
- 1.2 Feature films released in the USA, 1990–2002 27
- 1.3 Pacts 2002 29
- 1.4 Average negative and marketing costs for feature films 33
- 1.5 Trade unions active in the US film industry 43
- 2.1 AOL Time Warner 62–63
- 2.2 The Walt Disney Company 65–66
- 2.3 The News Corp. 67–70
- 2.4 Viacom 72–73
- 2.5 Sony Corp. 74
- 2.6 Vivendi/Universal 75
- 2.7 MGM 77
- 2.8 Independent releases, 1998–2000 79
- 2.9 Studio, affiliate and independent releases and box office, 1998–2000 81
- 2.10 Film divisions' contributions to corporate owners 82
- 2.11 Summary of receipts and expenditures 88
- 2.12 Typical distribution fees 92
- 3.1 Release patterns and markets 105
- 3.2 Average US ticket prices and admissions, 1990–2001 113
- 3.3 US cinema sites, 1995–2001 117
- 3.4 US movie screens, 1987–2001 117
- 3.5 Top 10 theater circuits in the USA 118
- 3.6 Top DVD/VHS distributors' market shares (%) 129
- 3.7 Top video retailers by estimated revenue, 2001 131
- 3.8 Leading US cable networks and conglomerate ownership 137
- 4.1 Product placement agencies 160
- 4.2 Top ten video game based films 168
- 4.3 Estimated global distributor revenues for US films, 2000 175
- 5.1 Advertising costs of individual films, 2000 196
- 5.2 MPAA member companies' advertising costs, 2002 196
Appendix A: The Ratings[Page 226]
General Audiences – All ages admitted. Signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.
PG Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. Signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children – material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; some use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words may be heard.
R Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some jurisdictions). Signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated may contain some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film's use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.
NC-17 No One 17 and Under Admitted. Signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is [Page 227]patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, and/or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic in terms of sex, language or violence.
Appendix B: Top 50 All-Time Domestic Grossers[Page 228][Page 229]
Appendix C: Variety-Speak[Page 230]Excerpts from Variety's Slanguage Dictionary
- ad-pub relating to the advertising and publicity department of a motion picture studio.
- Alphabet web the ABC television network.
- ankle a classic (and enduring) Variety term meaning to quit or be dismissed from a job, without necessarily specifying which; instead, it suggests walking.
- anni anniversary.
- arthouse motion picture theater that shows foreign or non-mainstream independent films, often considered high-brow or
- “art” films.
- aud audience.
- Aussie Australian. (See also Oz)
- ayem a Variety coinage meaning morning (a.m.).
- BeantownVariety slanguage for Boston, Mass.
- BeertownVariety slanguage for Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- BevHills Beverly Hills.
- b.f. an abbreviation for boyfriend, usually used in reviews (also g.f. – girlfriend).
- biopic a Variety coinage meaning biographical film.
- bird a Variety term for satellite.
- biz shorthand for business or “the business” – show business.
- Blighty Britain.
- blurb TV commercial.
- B.O. box office or box office receipts.
- boff (also boffo, boffola) outstanding (usually refers to box office performance). (See also, socko, whammo)
- bow (n.) opening or premiere; (v.) to debut a production.
- chantoosie female singer (chanteuse).
- Chi (also Chitown) Chicago.
- chopsocky a martial arts film. [Page 231]
- cleffer a songwriter.
- click a hit.
- cliffhanger a melodramatic adventure or suspense film or TV show; usually a serial with a to-be-continued ending.
- (the) Coast Hollywood, Los Angeles.
- coin money, financing.
- Col (also Colpix) Columbia Pictures.
- commish commissioner, commission.
- competish competition.
- confab convention or professional gathering.
- conglom conglomerate.
- corny a term in common usage originally coined by Variety, meaning sentimental, obvious or old-fashioned, out of it.
- crix critics.
- deejay (also d.j.) commonly used term originally coined by Variety meaning disc jockey.
- distribbery distribution company.
- ducats tickets.
- exec, exex executive, executives.
- exhib exhibitor (movie theater owner).
- Eye web the CBS television network.
- fave favorite.
- feevee pay TV.
- fest film or TV festival.
- flop (also floppola) failure at the box office.
- f/x special visual effects.
- Gotham New York City.
- hardtop indoor movie theater.
- helm direct a film or TV program.
- helmer(n.) a director.
- hoofer dancer.
- horse opera Western film.
- hotsy strong performance at the box office.
- huddle (v.) to have a meeting; (n.) a meeting.
- indie independent film, filmmaker, producer or TV station.
- infopike information superhighway (Internet).
- ink to sign a contract.
- kidvid children's television.
- Kiwi New Zealander.
- KudocastVariety term for an awards show.
- legs stamina at the box office.
- lense to film a motion picture. [Page 232]
- (the) Lion (also Leo)Variety-ese for Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studios, so referred to because of the company's legendary “Leo the Lion” logo.
- meller melodrama.
- mitting applause.
- moppet child, especially child actor.
- Mouse (also Mouse House) the Walt Disney Co. or any division thereof.
- nabe a neighborhood theater.
- netlet fledgling networks UPN and the WB; any network with less than a full weekly schedule of programming.
- nix reject, say no to; as in the famous Variety headline “Sticks Nix Hick Pix,” meaning that audiences in rural areas were not interested in attending films about rural life.
- oater Western film, referring to the preferred meal of horses.
- Oz Australia.
- ozoner drive-in movie theater.
- pact (n.) a contract; (v.) to sign a contract.
- passion pit drive-in theater, so called owing to their privacy factor and romantic allure for teenagers.
- Peacock web the NBC television network, named for its colorful mascot.
- pen (v.) to write.
- percenter (also tenpercenter) agent.
- pic(s) (also pix) motion picture(s).
- pinkslip to lay off or fire from a job.
- pour cocktail party.
- powwow a meeting or gathering.
- PPV pay-per-view; “The fight will be presented as a PPV event in the spring.”
- PR (also p.r.) public relations
- praiser publicist.
- praisery public relations firm.
- preem (n.) an opening-night or premiere performance; (v.) to show a completed film for the first time.
- prexy (also prez) president.
- scribbler writer.
- sesh session or meeting; also a time frame, such as a weekend.
- sex appeal a term coined by Variety now in common usage, meaning to be attractive to audiences owing to sexual aura. [Page 233]
- sleeper a film or TV show that lacks pre-release buzz or critical praise, but turns into a success after it is released, usually due to good word-of-mouth.
- sock (also socko) very good (usually refers to box office performance).
- sprocket opera film festival.
- sudser soap opera.
- tabmag tabloid-style TV magazine show.
- tix tickets.
- toon cartoon.
- topper the head of a company or organization.
- tubthump to promote or draw attention to, from the ancient show business custom of actors wandering the streets banging on tubs to drum up business.
- veep (also veepee, VP) vice president.
- web network.
- weblet fledgling networks UPN and the WB; any network with less than a full weekly schedule of programming.
- whammo a sensation (bigger than boffo).
- whodunit a mystery film (or show).
- wrap to finish production.
- yawner a boring show.
- zitcom a television comedy aimed at teenagers.
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