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, talent agents, and trade unions and guilds - provides access to hard-to-find statistical information on the industry While many books describe the film production and marketing process, they usually do so from an industry perspective and few look at Hollywood critically from within a more general economic, political and social context. By offering just such a critique, Janet Wasko's text provides a timely and essential analysis of how Hollywood works for all students of film and media.




Motion pictures are sold in many retail markets, including theaters, home video, cable, and television. The Internet and video-on-demand also are looming as new retail markets (see Table 3.1). These various markets interact in building consumer awareness and contribute to the overall revenues for a film. In other words, Hollywood films continue to make money for the major studios in various platforms, known as “windows of exhibition,” years after their theatrical release. These markets have unique attributes and characteristics, which will be discussed in this chapter, although more detail will be offered on theaters because of their role as the traditional retail sector of the film industry.

TABLE 3.1 Release patterns and markets


The introduction of new outlets for motion pictures has continuously been accompanied by ...

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