By Edward Jay Epstein
Throughout the heyday of the studio method spanning the Nineteen Thirties, ‘40s, and ‘50s, nearly all of the American movie industry’s funds, energy, and status got here from a unmarried task: promoting tickets on the field place of work. this present day, the motion picture enterprise is simply a small, hugely seen outpost in a media universe managed by way of six corporations–Sony, Time Warner, NBC common, Viacom, Disney, and NewsCorporation. those conglomerates view motion pictures as a part of an incredible, synergistic, vertically built-in money-making undefined.
In The massive Picture, acclaimed author Edward Jay Epstein supplies an unparalleled, sweeping, and carefully interesting account of the genuine magic in the back of moviemaking: how the studios make their cash. Epstein exhibits how, in Hollywood, the single paintings that issues is the artwork of the deal: significant motion pictures flip large earnings, now not from the films themselves yet via myriad different organisations, reminiscent of video-game spin-offs, fast-food tie-ins, soundtracks, or even theme-park rides.
The studios could compete with each other for stars, exposure, box-office
receipts, and Oscars; their company mom and dad, besides the fact that, make fortunes
from cooperation (and collusion) with each other in much less glamorous markets, akin to cable, domestic video, and pay-TV.
But cash is simply a part of the Hollywood tale; the social and political milieus–power, status, and status–tell the remaining. along amazing monetary revelations, the large photo is full of eye-opening actual Hollywood insider tales. We learn the way the promise of loose cowboy boots for a manufacturer not on time a huge movie’s capturing agenda; why stars by no means practice their very own stunts, regardless of what the grocery store tabloids declare; how video clips deliberately form political sensibilities, either in the US and in another country; and why fifteen-year-olds dictate the type of low-grade fare that has flooded displays around the nation.
Epstein additionally deals incisive profiles of the pioneers, together with Louis B. Mayer, who helped construct Hollywood, and introduces us to the visionaries–Walt Disney, Akio Morita, Rupert Murdoch, Steve Ross, Sumner Redstone, David Sarnoff–power agents who, via dint of innovation and deception, created and keep watch over the media that mildew our lives. while you're attracted to Hollywood at the present time and the complicated and engaging method it has advanced so one can live on, you haven’t obvious the massive photo till you’ve learn The great Picture.
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Extra info for The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood
Murdoch, who had prided himself on controlling his personal future, now needed to positioned his destiny within the fingers of a banking consortium led via Citibank. He had a trump card, in spite of the fact that. The banks couldn't come up with the money for to liquidate his empire. a lot of his assets—such because the complicated mosaic of satellite-systems items, the Fox community, television consultant, and the Fox studio—were established for his or her worth on his personal imaginative and prescient of a world supply process for leisure and information. If the banks took them over they'd most likely endure significantly, promoting them piecemeal to events missing the totality of his imaginative and prescient. This was once a few comfort, yet he additionally wanted a backup plan. On December 20, 1990, he flew in his deepest Gulfstream jet from Aspen, the place one in every of his best executives had simply been badly injured in a snowboarding twist of fate, to Cuixmala, Mexico, to the property of the financier Sir James Goldsmith. He meticulously defined his serious state of affairs to Goldsmith for you to bring up transitority financing within the occasion that the Citibank consortium failed. Goldsmith, regardless of his admiration of Murdoch, was once no longer capable of support. because it grew to become out, Citibank did achieve arranging the refinancing, and Murdoch, having kept away from financial disaster, made up our minds to merge his Sky tv satellite tv for pc corporation with its purely genuine rival in Britain, BSB. Murdoch referred to as it an “opportunistic” determination. by way of doing so, he eradicated the contest in Britain. In 2003 Murdoch controlled to get keep an eye on of the ultimate piece of his extraterrestrial layout: the Hughes digital corporation, whose DirecTV unit’s satellites beamed tv courses to American shoppers. based in 1932 by way of the industrialist (and motion picture wealthy person) Howard Hughes to supply airplanes, bombs, and electronics, the corporate used to be obtained in 1985 via basic vehicles and reworked right into a state of the art communications corporation that pioneered satellite tv for pc tv within the usa and to which over 1/2 the audience with satellite tv for pc receivers subscribed. whilst basic vehicles first promote it in 2001, EchoStar, the single different satellite tv for pc broadcaster within the usa, outbid Murdoch with a suggestion of $27 billion. yet operating behind the curtain in Washington, Murdoch’s lobbyist argued effectively merger of DirecTV and EchoStar could create a monopoly in restraint of alternate, and after the EchoStar bid used to be rejected, Murdoch obtained keep watch over in a sophisticated deal for under $6. 6 billion—a tribute to his political acumen, if now not his connections. along with his acquisition of DirecTV, Rupert Murdoch used to be speedily forthcoming the belief of a imaginative and prescient that had a decade previous appeared quixotic, if no longer from the world of technological know-how fiction: satellites orbiting within the Clarke Ring, seamlessly beaming videos, tv, and activities occasions to a paying worldwide viewers. to make sure, it had taken tens of billions of bucks in precarious loans to rocket those satellites into area, construct flooring stations, provide shoppers with antennas, and outmaneuver opponents; and due to the large money owed incurred within the method, the corporate was once nonetheless wasting cash.