The British And American Film Industry
In Europe and around the world, the European film industry produced quite a large number of films that were famous before the commencement of the First World War. The British film industry was responsible for coming up with new improvements such as the feature film together with the newsreel (Curran & Porter, 1983). Their innovations ensured European film companies achieved enormous profits even in the American market. After the First World War, the emerging Hollywood studios dominated the film industry and were the main film suppliers in Europe. During this time in recent times, few movies were being supplied to America from the European film industry. This paper will analyze the sudden drop of film making in Europe and the sudden dominance of the American film industry.
According to statistics, Hollywood movies make double the amount of money British films make in one year. By the commencement of 1925, the production of British films had dropped from a high of one hundred and fifty annual movies in the previous years to about forty movies (The British Film and Television, 2010). Due to sunk costs, a large number of British film industries had sold almost all their foreign subsidiaries and then exited from the film making business in Europe (Bakker, 2003). The main reason was that most European film companies had lost the monopoly they had before the First World War to America. The British film companies held an insignificant share in the American market and at the same time, they had smaller shares at their own home film market. The American film industry had become an expansive market during that time and the Hollywood studios that had emerged to take over the foreign networks among them the European film network (Bakker, 2003). One attribute was the fall of the market during the world war (Smith, 1996). Both the British film industry shares at home and in America declined significantly at the same rate throughout the period of the First World War as most cinema halls were closed during this period. This stagnation of cinemas led to the collapse of the cinema industry due to the stagnation of the film industry. While Britain was struggling with this period of stagnation, the American film industry took advantage of the war to come up with films that served as entertainment especially for those who wanted to escape their daily misery (Bakker, 2003).
When Europe was at war because of the quality of race, the production costs of most film companies were not projected to the maximum expected levels therefore leading to large financial crisis. The few companies that survived were used to produce and distribute short films containing half truths and in the process making a lot of money (Bakker, 2010). Also during the world war, large a number of European film companies were used to propagate propaganda. In other cases, these companies subsidiary hardware were used in the production of war materials including bomb fuses (Bakker, 2003). An example is the French film company, which was prosecuted from amassing wealth during the First World War.
The other explanation for the British film market to lose interest in American scene was the fact that most Americans lost interest in watching the foreign films (Richard, 1999). This made the European companies especially the British companies lose enormous amounts of money in the form of revenue from the American market. According to Bakker, 2003; learning the attitudes of the American film industry with respect to the European film industry, for example, the Pathé Frères, the largest and leading French film production house, there is that the emergence of an external feeling against foreign motion pictures. Most Americans preferred watching long films that have a wide array of dramatic features instead of the multitude of the shorter film version having different formats that the British film industry provided (Bakker, 2003). Adaptation to the consumer’s tastes and preference matters in the film industry but according to the British film production, they lacked the capacity to become accustomed to their audience tastes.
Hollywood has a bigger budget as compared to Britain (The British Film and Television, 2010). When it comes to the production of a film, the American film industry has the finances to develop a much better film as compared to Britain. The American film production involves purchasing of expensive gadgets, good lighting, costume the perfect setting, famous actors among other things that cost a lot of money. When this is compared to the British film industry, their filming budgetary allowance cannot allow the production of a good movie (The British Film and Television, 2010). The European film council has limited resources when it comes to funding films. This means the largest film companies in the United Kingdom cannot afford to produce more movies at once (The British Film and Television, 2010). According to the British Film and Television report on 2010, finance has always been a significant problem for the fully independent British film companies even after several attempts by the British companies to try and follow the American model of a vertically incorporated film industry (The British Film and Television, 2010). This incorporation included financing their own film production, the distribution of their films both overseas and locally, and exhibition. Even though, the government has tried to intervene either by encouraging the producers or at times encouragement to potential investors, the problem about finance will still remain a problem in the industry (The British Film and Television, 2010).
Quite a large number of Hollywood producers, actors and movie directors are extremely ambitious in making debut in the film industry. They usually work hard in order to get to the top and achieve success. In contrast, most British movies do not have the ambition and are generally underachievers in the film market scene (Dudley, 2009). Even though, there are up and coming producers in the European film production, most British producers lack ambition and creativity as well. While producing a film, the Hollywood producers and directors strive to ensure the theme of the film is broad enough to capture the attention of even the least interested people so as to ensure they have to watch the appealing film (Dudley, 2009). Owing to the large financial budgets provided, the majority of these producers tend to market and distribute their movies to greater heights that are noticeable. Hollywood tends to employ the use of sophisticated marketing strategies, as opposed to the British film industry.
Summarily, during the twentieth century, the success in the film making industry was mainly due to changes in demand. One of this in the fact that the financial demand had had a drastic turn from the early period when the British film industry had the monopoly of most film making. This change together with the introduction of diverse multicultural filming around the world and presence of sufficient capital has pushed Hollywood up the ladder in the film industry.Reference
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Bakker, G. (2010). The Economic History of the International Film Industry. Retrieved January 05, 2013, from http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/bakker.film
Curran, J. & Porter, V. (1983). British Cinema History. New York: Barnes and Noble Books.
Dudley, J. (2009). Hollywood vs. Britain. Retrieved January 05, 2013, from http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2009/12/hollywood-vs-britain.html
Richard, A. (1999). The Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American, 1900-1910. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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