Presentation on theme: " Hollywood Movies as a form of American Culture A look at two examples: Dances with Wolves Lawrence of Arabia Dances American Culture & Society Spring-Summer."— Presentation transcript:
Hollywood Movies as a form of American Culture A look at two examples: Dances with Wolves Lawrence of Arabia Dances American Culture & Society Spring-Summer 2012/ Scott
Hollywood system We use Hollywood to mean U.S. film industry. Two main types today: 1. The Big Six studios Produce the large-scale movies Often distributed around the world 2. Independent film producers Smaller films More artistic, more serious Aimed at smaller markets Sold to or distributed by Big Six
Hollywood facts World leading filmmaking center for a century. The huge consumer market in U.S. provides economic scale to support expensive productions. Films and related products earned $11 billion in Big Six studios specialize in blockbusters. Columbia (Sony) 20 th Century Fox (News Corp.) Disney (Disney) Paramount (Viacom) Universal (Comcast) Warner Bros. (Time-Warner)
What makes a blockbuster? Huge budget Famous actors Visual and audio spectacles (big moments) High-quality special effects Marketable to international audiences
What works internationally? Recognizable actors and characters Emphasis on action and emotion Non-verbal story lines; minimum of dialogue Humanitarian themes Limited amount of cultural context
How do films make money? Theater ticket sales DVD sales Related merchandise (toys, clothing, video games) International sales Growing market: Asia. Studios are beginning to release films internationally before showing them in the U.S. Examples: Battleship, The Avengers
Example: The Avengers Total production cost: $220 million (Disney) Total ticket income: $1.42 billion U.S. market income: $588 million International: $833 million Foreign markets: At least 56 Percent watching in 3-D: 52% Source: Los Angeles Times newspaper, June 17
What is an epic? GGrand dramatic (and musical) themes. HHistorical values (based in real history) BBroad, expansive scenes that capture great works EEmphasis on human actions that affect big outcomes. (Winning wars, saving peoples, solving humanitarian crises.)
Lawrence of Arabia Considered one of best epics. Director: David Lean Year released: 1962 Studio: Columbia Story: Dramatizes true story of T.E. Lawrence, an unusual scholar and poet who helped Arab tribes to defeat the Ottoman Turks in World War II.
Movies as popular culture The movie industry helps to shape popular culture. Think: Emphasis on anime. Fashions and styles. It’s also shaped by culture and society. Consumers decide what is popular. Audiences comfortable with their ‘kind’ as heroes. Movies also reveal the basis of cultural values. Sometimes they question social trends. Or offer a different approach to understanding. Example: Dances with Wolves.
Dances with Wolves Example of a blockbuster made by actor- director to offer his own ideal interpretation of U.S. history. Director: Kevin Costner Year released: 1990 Studio: Tig Productions (Costner’s company) An Army lieutenant befriends Indians and even wolves as he seeks to defend a natural life that cannot last as white settlers are moving west into the Great Plains.