Working title


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  • Channel 4 films unable to survive their big flop
  • Working title

    1. 1. Year 12 Audience & Institutions Case Study: Working Title Films
    2. 2. How many of these films can you name? Empire Movie Awards – Working Title
    3. 3. Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have achieved the near impossible They’ve created a wildly successful production company in a country where the film business is subject to repeated predictions of imminent doom. Eric Fellner Tim Bevan
    4. 4. 1984 Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe Now the most successful British film production company
    5. 5. Film maths Films + American stars = Appeal to international market (& success for the British film industry) This approach has provoked criticism about the ‘mid- Atlantic’ nature of the films.
    6. 6. The British film industry dilemma: Do you: A) Make culturally specific films which appeal to a limited audience? OR B) Make broader, generic films with a wider appeal?
    7. 7. The British film industry dilemma: Working Title want to make European films for a worldwide audience. They want to imbue them with European ideas and influences and they couldn’t do these things without the backing of a major Hollywood studio.
    8. 8. The Working Title Movie Template British Film + American star = $$$$$ Appeal to international market (& success for the British Film Industry) This approach has provoked much criticism about the ‘mid-Atlantic’ nature of the films.
    9. 9. Working Title Films began life co-producing the short film The Man Who Shot Christmas (1984). This led to their first film for Channel Four and the first of many landmark Working Title Films - My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Directed by Stephen Frears. In 2009 still the most successful British film production company ever. “Their films have grossed more than £1.2 billion Since 1984, and that is a conservative estimate.”
    10. 10. Why UK/US Co-productions? According to Bevan: "Before co-productions we had been independent producers, but it was very hand to mouth. We would develop a script, that would take about 5% of our time; we'd find a director, that'd take about 5% of the time and then we'd spend 90% of the time trying to juggle together deals from different sources to finance those films. The films were suffering because there was no real structure and the company was always virtually bankrupt."
    11. 11. History of WT: 1984 Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe 1985 First Working Title film My Beautiful Laundrette (The first of a series of collaborations with Channel Four Films) 15 Number of WT films produced in the 1980s
    12. 12. History of WT: 1988 Production deal with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment 1991 WT sets up Hollywood office
    13. 13. 1992 PolyGram (a European music and media company) buys Working Title. Sarah Radclyffe leaves to set up her own production company She’s replaced by Eric Fellner History of WT:
    14. 14. History of WT: 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral A big box office success due to the access to the US market provided by Polygram
    15. 15. History of WT: 1998 Polygram bought by Universal, a Seagram company 2000 Seagram is bought by Vivendi, the French multimedia conglomerate WorkingTitle is now owned by Universal, which is in turn owned by Vivendi
    16. 16. $35m The amount of money WT can spend on a film before consulting with Universal WT2 Set up to encourage new British filmmakers. Billy Elliot (Dir. Stephen Daldry, 1999) WT2 did not need the approval of Universal WT2 no longer exists
    17. 17. Unique: There is no other British Film Company like Working Title It is allowed freedom to make creative decisions but it is owned by a conglomerate
    18. 18. Safety Net: £13m Budget for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin £9.8m UK Box Office takings The protection of Universal means that Working Title was able to survive this disappointing performance
    19. 19. Some key Working Title films: Film Budget (£m) Box Office UK (£m) Bean (1996) 16.2 17.9 Elizabeth (1997) 13 5.5 Notting Hill (1998) 15 31 Bridget Jones (2000) 14 42 About a Boy (2001) 13.5 16.8 Love, Actually (2004) 30 36.2 Wimbledon (2004) 20 (est) 6.8
    20. 20. Some numbers: 4 or 5 The number of films Working Title produce each year 1 Number of ‘risk free films’ Working Title will invest in each year 2 Number of mainstream films WT will invest in each year 2 Will invest in projects they feel passionate about (which have risk factors involved)
    21. 21. Some numbers: 95 Number of films made (to date) by Working Title $4.5 billion Amount of money made by these films 6 Number of Academy Awards won 26 Number of BAFTA Awards won
    22. 22. Successful Relationships Working Title make films with 3rd parties e.g. the Coen Brothers and people they know well and have built up a good working relationship with e.g. Richard Curtis
    23. 23. Notable films TheSoloist State of Play The Boat That Rocked Wild Child Burn After Reading, The Interpreter About a Boy Notting Hill
    24. 24. Elizabeth Fargo Dead Man Walking Bean High Fidelity Johnny English Billy Elliot Four Weddings and a Funeral
    25. 25. Bridget Jones's Diary Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason O Brother, Where Art Thou? Love Actually Shaun of the Dead Pride & Prejudice Nanny McPhee United 93
    26. 26. What does Eric Fellner have to say? Working Title focus on character and narrative (as opposed to action/ special effects etc.) They often create films of cross-genres Fellner feels the simple essence of a successful film is a really good screenplay and sense of humanity; that the most important thing is for the audience to identify and empathise with characters
    27. 27. What does Eric Fellner have to say? Working Title have aimed to create an industry that is exportable and global There is an active aggressive industry in Hollywood that we can never compete with What we should focus on is making films we believe in and exporting them
    28. 28. What does Eric Fellner have to say? We should dissipate the notion of the British Film Industry just being British Instead we should work with home grown material and work with others to distribute, market etc Characters should be fun and engaging; you should want to spend time with them (regardless of whether they’re simplistic or stereotypical) This is the focus for Working Title, rather than trying to package films/ characters for American audiences Fellner says that the British film industry is “thriving” and can ride out recessions
    29. 29. Homework: Next lesson you will pitch your own film idea. You need to produce a synopsis of a film you think would fit into the Working Title production style.
    30. 30. You must explain why it is suitable for a Working Title production. Your synopsis should include comments on: Genre Plot Setting Stars Intended audience.