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Flashcards in lecture 6.1 Deck (18):

The Big Five

vertically integrated with production, distribution, and exhibition; Paramount (Chicago, New England, South), MGM, 20th Century Fox (West Coast), Warner Bros (East, Jersey Shore), RKO


Little Three

Universal, Columbia, United Artists; supplied 'B' films to the Big Five; similar to the Big Five except for the fact that they did not own theater chains



a market in which control over the supply of a commodity is in the hands of a small number of producers and each one can influence prices and affect competitors, group monopoly


Hollywood oligopoly

Big Five were in control of the motion picture industry; control first run regional theaters; each controlled a different area of the US; Big Five share films to fill the theaters' 100+/- films/year quota; Little Three supply 'B' films


first run theater chains

regional; owned by Big Five; where new movies first appear; have the most seats; determine the fate of a film in the market; made up 15% of all theaters; 70% of them were owned by the Big Five


supplying films to first run theaters

made movies to entertain every group; ticket prices still cheap into the 1950s (25¢ or less); films must be shown nationwide to be successful; shared films to meet the 100 films/year through a rental system; never block booking with one another; helped each other instead of being competitive; Little Three supply 'B' films to the majors which were used to fill theaters and compliment double bills


hollywood major

PRODUCTION-companies were not based in Hollywood, only production facilities were, use money to make movies; DISTRIBUTION and EXHIBITION-remain in New York, bring in the money; New York headquarters determine budget, type, and quantify of films; Hollywood expenditures has to be approved by NY HQ; companies wanted popular novels and plays because they were cheaper; were criticized for being unoriginal


hollywood studio

production; studio boss; head of production; story department



production lots; back lots-exterior standing sets; ranches-wide open properties where studios could construct huge open sets


Louis B. Mayer

studio boss at MGM; first person in the US to earn a million dollar salary; built MGM into one of the most financially successful motion picture studios in the world


studio boss

in charge of keeping the movie operation moving forward; usually not the owners of the companies; liaisons, usually, between the studios in Hollywood and the NY HQ; Louis B. Mayer was the most high-salaried but he did not own MGM; main tasks were negotiating labor contracts with stars making sure that studio ran well


Head of Production

made sure that films were being made; producers were specialized in different films and they all worked under the head of production; example: Irving Thalberg


Story Department

churned out synopses, shooting scripts, and screenplays; maintained offices in NY, London, and LA so they would have people to read ideas and come up with raw materials for films; ideas were brought to Hollywood to be made into screenplays for films; Writers Guild allowed only so many writers to receive credit for scripts


Long Term Option Contracts

stars became associated with certain studio because of long term contracts; usually 7 years in length and exclusive; every year of so contracts were canceled; those not cancelled would receive a salary raise; contracts were specific about credits and billing


Creating New Stars

no uncommon to have 70-80 stars under contract at once; put them in films and tried to turn them into stars; would evaluate them at the end of the year to see if the public responded to them well; most people were not picked up; if you were you were put in bigger roles and paid more


James Cagney

spent 7 years at Warner Bros; was tired of playing gangsters so he went to a 'B' movie company after his contract ended; found out he couldn't do well with them so he went back to Warner Bros


Joan Crawford

didn't want to ice skate in a film but was picked to star in Ice Follies; took a couple days off; contract was extended by that number of days


Publicity Department

things came out of NY and Washington, DC; everything from Hollywood was a publicity stunt; controlled media buzz