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The New Hollywood Cinema Development Essay


Several historical and social factors contributed to the development of the new Hollywood cinema. The filmmaking industry has gone through numerous changes. The changes have led to the emergence of new business models in the industry. As such, modern filmmaking has emerged from the upgrading of earlier platforms.

The location of the major filmmaking companies in New York City remains a historical fact, which led to the development of Hollywood cinema. New York acted as the headquarters and financial base for the filmmakers. The earliest filmmaking took place in the late 19th century at Wall Street, New York (Allen 2003, p.4). During the time, Hollywood majorly relied on the finances from the Wall Street. However, it was disadvantaged that the production facilities were located 3000 miles away on the West Coast (Allen 2003, p.5).

It caused tension and disagreements during many occasions. Notably, the West Coast was responsible for major studio operations, integration of the company’s economy, and translation of fiscal policy in the filmmaking industry. Therefore, it was necessary for the West Coast to work together with New York City counterparts during the mid 20th century. By working together, new Hollywood emerged.

Another historical change that led to the development of the new Hollywood cinema is its major films. The major Hollywood film owners, which include Warner Bros, RKO, Paramount, Twentieth Century-Fox, and MGM, sold about 40-60 million films annually (Allen 2003, p.6). The above sales constituted 50% of the film industry in America. The above major film owners controlled 3000 of the total 23000 cinemas opened in the United States before World War II. Their shares accounted for a small percentage, but it was the best portion and formed a premiere cinema. With time, the owners of the major films imposed terms that forced the smaller cinemas to accept their decisions. The terms they imposed were prohibitive. The terms involved grouping the least attractive and most attractive films in what was known as a block booking.

Another historical change that was witnessed in the US filmmaking industry is the technological changes. Over several decades, the filmmaking has experienced technological changes, which include a change in the screen shape, format, and the audio quality (Allen 2003, p.3). Actually, such technological changes required a huge amount of money to keep the cinema industry entertaining and attractive. Further, the industry observed the development of new media platforms, which included digital, computer-based, and celluloid. The new media developed because of the interactions with traditional filmmaking. As such, the American filmmaking went through many stages and labels, which include classical, production line, mature oligopoly, and studio system.

Another historical fact, which led to the development of new Hollywood cinema, is the case between the United States and the Paramount Pictures. The case started in the 1930s and settled in court in 1948 (Allen 2003, p.8). In the case, the five major cinemas were charged for conspiring a monopoly in the industry, which led to discrimination of smaller cinema. Therefore, block booking was stopped following a court order. Exhibitors were allowed to get films from individuals.

Despite the Paramount case and court decision, the power remained a possession of the same companies. The effort of Paramount was to stop block booking and vertical integration of the major companies. In the 1950s and 1960s, the selling of films involved the block booking, which bundled out the smaller filmmakers. During the 1970s and 1980s, the block booking and vertical integration got revival as the major companies reinvested in the exhibition. For instance, the MCA purchased 49% of the Cineplex Odeon, while the Columbia Pictures took over the Loews Theatres (Allen 2003, p.10).

Several social changes ushered in the emergence of new Hollywood cinema. After the end of the Second World War, numerous changes in society emerged. The changes included leisure behaviors, liberations, nuclear family setup, and sexual relationships. All these factors contributed to the emergence of a new Hollywood cinema because they influenced the film industry. After the end of World War II, the figures of the cinema audience increased. When soldiers returned home to their families and wives, a number of them started attending cinemas as an effort to strengthen their relationships. It is estimated that over 60 million people went to movie shows every week in the year 1946 (Allen 2003, p.6). However, these figures dropped to around 46million people in the year 1951.

Another major social change that led to the emergence of new Hollywood films is that between the 1960s and 1970s, people started moving out of cities into the suburbs and stopped watching cinemas. The film industry could not afford to build new cinemas in the suburbs. Therefore, young married couples travel less to cities to watch movies.

Equally, other fun activities such as sports, bowl, and traveling brought competition to the movies. Therefore, the conventional movie industry had to change to retain this audience. The industry realized that the youth and teenagers who had financial and social freedom were their major audience.

Racial difference between the black and white was also observed in the cinema between the 1960s-1970s (Allen 2003, p.11). In 1971, the Black films such as Sweet Sweetback’s, which were directed by Melvin Van was produced and became popular among the black audience. All these social and historical changes led to the development of the new Hollywood cinema of the 1960s and 1970s.

Reference

Allen, M 2003, Contemporary US cinema. Longman. Harlow, England. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The New Hollywood Cinema Development." May 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-new-hollywood-cinema-development/.

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