HOLLYWOOD: THE GLOBAL MARKET
By Arindam Bhunia
“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world”
Yes, you got it right and above lines are famous dialogues from 1999 Hollywood blockbuster Fight club. From the early years of the twentieth century, right down to the present, the United States has been the world’s major commercial producer of motion pictures. The long-standing success of Hollywood can be accounted for in terms of the competitive advantages generated by its unrivalled technical and organizational capacities (in the form of a dense regional cluster of specialized but complementary producers) and its unique pool of talent drawn from many different countries. Like numerous other dynamic industries today, Hollywood is caught up in an insistent – and problematical – process of globalization. Indeed, the commercial weight and cultural impact of Hollywood films is now felt in virtually every corner of the world.
At 2016, the global box office for all films released in each country around the world reached $38.6 billion, up one percent from 2015. More than two-thirds (71%) of the U.S. population – or 246 million people – went to the cinema at least once in 2016. At 2016, the global box office for all films released in each country around the world1 reached $38.6 billion, up one percent over 2015. U.S. box office ($11.4 billion) grew two percent, while the international box office in U.S. dollars ($27.2 billion) held steady compared to 2015. International box office accounted for 71 percent of total box office in 2016, equivalent to 2015. The international box office in U.S. dollars is up 14 percent compared to five years ago. The global box office is up 11 percent in the same time period.
The Latin America box office decreased 18 percent in U.S. dollars when comparing 2016 to 2015, despite many markets in the region increasing in local currency. Brazil’s box office was an exception, increasing five percent in U.S. dollars from 2015. However, the depreciation of several currencies against the U.S. dollar in 2016, including Mexico (-15%), Argentina (-37%), and Venezuela (-31%), contributed to the overall decline in regional box office.
In 2016, U.S. box office was $11.4 billion, up two percent from $11.1 billion in 2015. The 3D box office ($1.6 billion), down eight percent from 2015, comprised 14 percent of the total box office. Admissions, or tickets sold (1.32 billion), held steady compared to 2015.
Hollywood was a small community in 1870 and was incorporated as a municipality in 1903. It was consolidated with the city of Los Angeles in 1910, and soon thereafter a prominent film industry emerged, eventually becoming the most recognizable film industry in the world. Director D. W. Griffith was the first to make a motion picture in Hollywood. His 17-minute short film In Old California (1910) was filmed for the Biograph Company. Although has Hollywood banned movie theatres—of which it had none—before annexation that year, Los Angeles had no such restriction. The first film by a Hollywood studio, Nestor Motion Picture Company, was shot on October 26, 1911. The Whitley home was used as its set, and the unnamed movie was filmed in the middle of their groves at the corner of Whitley Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.
The first studio in Hollywood, the Nestor Company, was established by the New Jersey–based Centaur Company in a roadhouse at 6121 Sunset Boulevard (the corner of Gower), in October 1911.
Movie theatres continue to draw more people than all theme parks and major U.S. sports combined. A movie still provides the most affordable entertainment option, costing under $35 for a family of four. The average cinema ticket price nationwide increased by 22 cents (3%) in 2016, compared to the one percent increase in inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
From 2012 to 2016, the total number of frequent moviegoers increased by 2.1 million. The number of frequent moviegoers increased among all age groups, except 40-49 year olds and 60+ year olds. Individuals 12-17 years old and 18-24 years old continue to be overrepresented among frequent moviegoers relative to their population size.
In 1923, the Hollywood sign was erected in the Hollywood Hills, reading “HOLLYWOODLAND,” its purpose being to advertise a housing development. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce entered a contract with the City of Los Angeles to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that “LAND” be removed to spell “HOLLYWOOD” and reflect the district, not the housing development. During the early 1950s, the Hollywood Freeway was constructed through the northeast corner of Hollywood. The Capitol Records Building on Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard, was built in 1956, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame was created in 1958 as a tribute to artists and other significant contributors to the entertainment industry. The official opening was on February 8, 1960. In June 1999, the Hollywood extension of the Los Angeles County Metro Rail Red Line subway opened from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley, with stops along Hollywood Boulevard at Western Avenue (Hollywood/Western Metro station), Vine Street (Hollywood/Vine Metro station), and Highland Avenue (Hollywood/Highland Metro station). The Dolby Theatre, which opened in 2001 named as the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center mall, is the home of the Oscars. The mall is located where the historic Hollywood Hotel once stood.
The top-grossing movies of Hollywood for each year, based on tickets sold for each movie during the course of the year. Hollywood is set up as a large studio system which splits into 6 major companies; these are Walt Disney studios, 20th century Fox, Columbia, Warner Bros, Universal and Paramount Pictures. These all produce, distribute and exhibit films on a regular basis, Hollywood release around 120 films each year, which is a massive amount compared to British films which only release around a small handful of films. Most of these Hollywood films are major blockbusters of high production values.
Total cinema screens increased eight percent worldwide in 2016 to nearly 164,000, due in large part to continued double digit growth in the Asia Pacific region (+18%). Global digital cinema continued to grow (+10%), although at a slower rate than past years given limits to market penetration. Today, 95 percent of the world’s cinema screens are digital, up two percentage points from 2015 (93%). Among individual regions, Asia Pacific has the lowest percentage of digital screens at 90 percent.
The best movies have a transformative power. They allow us to see the world from a different angle and appreciate what it might be like to live as someone else. It’s hard not to think about all the things previous generations lacked. From cell phones to twenty-four hour grocery stores, the world our forefathers inhabited was absent many of the comforts we use daily, but without any knowledge of what was to come, they lived just as happily as we. A great movie set in a bygone era shows that and allows the viewer to experience all the wonder and joy our parents, grandparents and earliest descendants saw.
So what did it all add up to? We can rest assured that Hollywood will keep making bank from the nostalgia of millennial, and I, for one, will go and see most of those movies no matter how much I’d hate it. But it can also be seen that nostalgia does not always have to be used as a weapon or currency – when used in the right way and in the right context, it can enhance the viewer’s experience and add extra flavor to the work. In the end, it all depends on the creators’ intentions.