Film Studies – Producers and Audiences Part 1
Producers and Audiences
Subject: Film Studies
Unit Title: Producers & Audiences
Assignment Title: Producers and Audiences Part 1
Genre – Comedy/Spoof
Producers and Audiences
Hot Fuzz (2007)
British Film. Box office takings $23,637,265* & $56,936,509 Worldwide
Hot Fuzz was released soon after the successful British Film ‘Shaun of the Dead’ but didn’t match its takings of $30,039,392*. Although using a similar cast was less successful at the American Box office possibly because of genre, it being a Comedy/Spoof rather than a Comedy/Horror?
One of the unique selling point of this film was the way in which it spoofs American Action Films but is located in a sleepy English Village setting.
The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)
Hollywood, Box Office Takings $51,132,598*
This sequel the third in a series builds upon the release of the two preceding films and their audience expectations. This sequel still manages to generate more than twice as much income at the American box office than it’s British comparison in this case ‘Hot Fuzz’.
Having a similar cast to the previous films, the same one line gags, the visual gags you come to expect from a film like this and importantly what the target audience expects to see.
The Naked Gun: From The Files Of Police Squad (1988)
Hollywood, Box Office Takings $78,756,177*
The original and first of the Naked Gun series released six years before the ‘The Final Insult’, chosen to help with the comparison in the differences between foreign and domestic productions. Compared with its sequels, it has taken more money at the box office as expected.
* Box Office figures are for American Domestic cinema
In considering the three example films from a perspective based purely on their production origin and American /Domestic box office takings it appears that foreign produced films fare less well in America than a film produced in America. This does not mean actually produced in America as such, as the Film could have been shot anywhere in the World but it must have a cast and feel of having been produced in America or by an American Studio.
Audiences in the American domestic market may well exclude foreign made films from their considerations’ when deciding which film to watch at the cinema.
Distribution (Exhibition) plays a significant part in the discrepancy between American domestic box office takings with ‘Hot Fuzz’ released to approximately half as many cinemas as ‘The Naked Gun 33 1/3’ and ‘The Naked Gun’
2.0 Changing audience tastes in cinema
Film genres go in and out of fashion and this is also seen in film trends where a successful film release may generate a trend and a number of similar genre films are released to capitalise on this success. This is certainly true in the Comedy/Spoof genre which gained in popularity in the 2000’s with the top four films taking more than $100 Million dollars.
3.0 Discuss the impact of Hollywood on the UK Film Industry
Hollywood’s impact on the UK Film industry has mainly been positive. Hollywood’s direct funding of UK Film productions, or alternatively in the direct employment of British Film crews while filming US productions in UK Film studios.
The biggest negative though is in Exhibition with the majority of cinemas showing Hollywood releases leaving few opportunities for home grown films to be seen outside of specialist cinemas, by this I mean Art House rather than Multiplex.
4.1 Different Sources of Funding available to the UK Film Industry
- UK Film Council – Funding for script development, film production, short films, film export and distribution, cinemas, film education, culture and archives, festivals and audience support schemes. They also fund Skillset, identifying new talent and training of professionals for the film industry. The Premier Fund listed as being run by Sally Caplan has been discontinued and replaced by the ‘Film Fund’
http://www.ukfilmcouncil.org.uk/funding [Accessed 12/04/2010]
- National Lottery – Funds Film through the UK Film Council – this is where the majority of funding for the UK Film Council now comes from.
- Arts Council of England – Previously funded up to 26% of a film the rest sourced privately or from other sources such as overseas and UK public sector but they now no longer fund Film directly passing this onto the UK Film Council although they do still assist with distribution that is helping to get your film seen.
- Scottish Screen – Another lottery funded organisation helping to assist film makers to produce films, animations and media. Funding is limited geographically to Scottish based production companies and funding limited to £500,000.
4.2 Film Distribution in the UK
Film distribution in Britain certainly favours the Hollywood productions more than any other partly due to the fact that the Hollywood studios own the majority of cinemas. There are a number of small independent cinemas, but too few to counterbalance the control exerted by the Hollywood owned cinema chains. This is unlikely to change without Government intervention which seems unlikely.
4.3 Three Marketing Strategies
Film Trailers are an established way of promoting a Film. They used to only appear at the beginning of the main feature of a film at the cinema or on television either as a commercial or part of a television program for example Film Night or Movie News. These days you can see film trailers on the internet at many sites including YouTube, Apple Movie Trailers and IMDB
The Movie Posters decorate the auditorium and the entrances to cinemas promoting currently showing films and future releases. They also appear anywhere you would expect to see a poster for example on bill boarding’s, the sides of buses and taxis and bus shelters.
Viral marketing is gaining in prominence not only because this is essentially a zero or low cost option but also because of its wide reach. Viral marketing mainly occurs on the Internet either on film specific and non film specific websites such as Facebook or as a distributed email. Viral marketing in this context is a form of word of mouth but with a very wide reach.
4.4 The differences between Art House and Multiplex cinemas
Multiplex cinemas tend to concentrate on mainstream films from Hollywood whilst Art House cinema looks at less mainstream examples, these would include subtitled foreign language films. Multiplex’s are also usually out of town/city centre venues although this is beginning to change due to planning regulations. Art Houses also tend to offer addition services and access to facilities such as Café’s, Bars etc. whilst the Multiplex’s concessions’ are usually overpriced and limited to soft drinks and the usual popcorn, packaged sweets and pick & mix sweets plus Movie Posters, T-Shirts etc.
Art house Cinema is sometimes based in a communal building (Poole’s Lighthouse for example) offering other Arts related activities including Live Performance, Theatre and Musical productions. In some areas buildings are taken over for an evening to show British and less mainstream film, although they do show the odd Hollywood film to rural audiences that do not typically have access to the Cinema – see Moviola website for more details.
The South and West’s Rural Multiplex. http://www.moviola.org/index.html [Accessed 12/04/2010]
5.0 Historical perspective:
Film marketing was initially limited to Film Posters and Film Trailers at the cinemas plus the usual media available to advertisers including newspaper advertising, radio and TV, and then with the growth of the Internet many new possibilities’ became available to the Film producers to be able to reach their potential audiences. Film trailers soon became one of the most popular searched for keywords on the internet causing the development and the growth of specialist sites to view these Film Trailers, examples being:- IMBD.com, Apple Movie Trailers and YouTube among many others. Marketers then realised they could generate interest in their Films through the power of Viral Marketing utilising the public to promote their products through word of mouth, email etc.
Art House and Multiplex development.
Cinemas before the introduction of the Multiplex’s in Milton Keynes 1985 were single screen and were basically well into decline at the time of what was to become a revolution in the cinema experience in the UK. The introduction of the Multiplex led to a reversal in the decline of cinema visitors and prompted many of the single screen cinemas to follow the Multiplex model by subdividing their internal areas to make them multi-screen. The most common way was by converting the stalls into two small screens and keeping the circle as the big screen. Recent changes to planning laws have encouraged the development of Multiplex cinemas in Town and City centres rather than the out of town developments that were previously the norm.
Art House or Repertory cinemas appeared from the mid 1920’s as a direct consequence of the Film Society to screen what they considered to be important foreign films that were not on general release.
The British Film Institute continues to support the Art House cinema scene. Today these cinemas still tend to screen less mainstream productions declining to compete against the Multiples’ and their predominantly Hollywood produced Films.