Producing Films The issues involved in producing films. Production Company Case Studies
Production refers to the actual process of making a film.
This covers everything from buying a script to securing funding to overseeing the film’s ‘shoot.’
This is done by the production company such as Universal, Working Title, Warp Films.
A company such as Working Title or Warp Films oversees the physical production of the film
They may be responsible for raising funds
They may be a small company (like Warp) selling its product to a Film Studio for distribution
They may be the Film Studio itself (like Universal)
Conglomerates are a combination of two or more companies engaging in different businesses, often large and spanning many countries ( Multi-nationals)
Media conglomerates use synergy and cross-Promotions to allow different media companies to benefit from each other
E.g. Time Warner AOL owns internet, film, music and Publishing companies which provide each other with content and advertising.
You need to develop knowledge of different production companies and how they develop their products (Hollywood, Working Title, Warp)
The history of the company
Their primary audience
Who distributes their films
How successful (critical/box office) they have been
Case Study: Vivendi
VIVENDI is a French Telecommunications Conglomerate owning companies in many countries and in several industries, including
Working Title Films is owned by a large multi-national conglomerate. This is likely to allow them to invest more heavily in big budget and prestigious films like Atonement (2007)
This helps them feature prominently in the International Market, as they will have specific Institutional funding and support in non UK territories.
Pre-Sales – Selling the rights to distribute a film before it is made, Often dependent on certain key features, like a well known actor
Working Title is likely to receive the majority of its funding through pre-sales.
Look into the history of Working Title
How has it developed from an independent company?
How has it benefitted from horizontal integration?
Gross a percentage of the ticket sales, paid to the distributor
Ancillary Sales ‘Sale’ of the film not directly tied to the cinema release e.g. DVD or TV sales
Merchandising sale of items related to the film. Often done through a parent company – an example of horizontal integration and synergy.
Product Placement selling ‘advertising’ of a product by placing it prominently in the film e.g. Omega Watches Casino Royale (2006)
Has had several major international successes
What were they and what did they gross?
WT are also likely to utilise large scale marketing campaigns, such as the blanket-like coverage given to the Boat That Rocked (2009)
Working Title would expect to turn a profit upon initial release due to the prominence of their films and reliability of their ‘brand.’
Through media they produce, film studios and production companies can be said to have specific ideologies.
Disney promote ‘family values’ and traditional (Christian) morality through films like High School Musical.
Working Title demonstrate a more liberal ideology through its portrayal of sensitive, liberal upper-class characters and their approach to issues such as homosexuality & pre-marital sex, but largely ignore any serious socio-economical issues such as class or poverty.
The process of deliberately appealing to a specific group or demographic.
This can be done through the inclusion of specific elements, or the utilisation of certain genres.
Also, the use of specific marketing techniques and marketing in specific locations can affect the audience appeal of a film.
WT films address large ‘tent pole’ audiences; this is evident in the scale of their successes and nature of their films.
E.g. Four Weddings… (1994) $224m worldwide.
Now enhanced by being tied to a multi-national conglomerate.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner said their philosophy is to produce films that ‘play in the multiplex.’
The creation of a recognisable style that will be similar from film to film, independent of director, star or even genre.
Branding the transition of the company name to a recognisable ‘brand’ with a specific audience expectations, whereby the target audience is appealed to because they ‘know what to expect’ from a film by that company.
WT films have now developed a recognisable house style, building on their successes in the romantic comedy genre.
This is at least partly dependent on Richard Curtis, the writer-director behind many of their most successful films. Curtis himself is now something of a ‘brand’, with a high level of audience recognition.
Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (Working Title Co-Chairman) have said for a long part of their history ‘90% of the time [was] spent trying to secure financing’
WT films funds their films primarily through pre-sales, which is made much easier as they are part of the same conglomerate as their distributor, Universal Pictures.
WT films are also able to secure Pre-Sales because their films contain many ‘commercially sound’ elements:
Popular, mainstream genres
They are increasingly known as ‘prestige’ film makers, with films such as Atonement.
You must develop detailed case studies into these two production companies
Working Title and Warp.
Their company history, distributor and brief details of some films they have made over the years. (1 st , most successful, name, yr, box office takings…)