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Question: Sex and violence in the movies, necessary for commercial success? CPNN article: Sunshine State: Developers vs community
Posted: Dec. 04 2002,11:21

Does a movie have to have sex and violence to be shown for a long time in the movie theaters?  CPNN carried my review of a good movie, Sunshine State, which didn't have much sex or violence.  Is that why they didn't keep it very long before it disappeared?  

Who makes the decisions about how long a movie runs?  

How much does it depend on the decisions about how much publicity to give a new movie and what movie theatres to distribute it to?
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Posted: Dec. 08 2002,17:05

To briefly address your questions:

For the most part, hollywood executies determine how long a movie stays in circulation and how many theaters play it.

From limited conversations with people in "the business" (i.e. writer/director Kevin Smith), I think it goes something like this:

*First, you need the backing of a major motion picture studio such as Miramax, Fox, or Time Warner.
*Second, you have your movie screened in front of a series of randomly-selected test audiences to determine the public's response.
*Third, you need to convince your studio's producers that the flick is worthy of millions of dollars in advertising. The executives will look over the results of the screenings and make a decision about how much to spend on marketing. Generally, the more your movie is advertised, the more theaters will pick it up for opening day.
*Finally, the opening day box office gross willl determine how long your movie stays in the circuit. This is "make or break." If it tanks (i.e. does not recoup at least 70 percent of the production and marketing costs) on the first two nights, you're through.

That was extremely simplified. But, as you can see, it's a difficult and biased process.

However, it can be done. Just look at the success of "independent" films like Life is Beautiful and Roger and Me (the most successful documentary of all time).

In terms of the violent content, this is a culturally manufactured demand. See Michael Moore's new film Bowling for Columbine for an excellent commentary on this process.
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Posted: Dec. 19 2002,11:12

What always strikes me about the movie industry is that when executives defend the prevalence of violence in film, they say they are just "responding to demand" as if this uncontrolable force is responsible for their actions and explains our propensity towards violence. What they refuse to acknowledge is that their multi-million dollar advertising campaigns are largely responsible for creating that demand, and that consumers cannot "choose" a less violent alternative if one is never offered. These arguments are also used by many in the TV industry.
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3 replies since Dec. 04 2002,11:21 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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