Working Title Case Study


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Working Title Case Study

  1. 1. Year 12 Audience & Institutions Case Study: Working Title Films
  2. 2. <ul><li>Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan have achieved the near impossible </li></ul><ul><li>They’ve created a wildly successful production company in a country where the film business is subject to repeated predictions of imminent doom. </li></ul>Eric Fellner Tim Bevan
  3. 3. <ul><li>1984 </li></ul><ul><li>Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe </li></ul><ul><li>Now the most successful British film production company </li></ul>
  4. 4. Film maths <ul><li>Films + American stars = Appeal to international market (& success for the British film industry) </li></ul><ul><li>This approach has provoked criticism about the ‘mid-Atlantic’ nature of the films. </li></ul>
  5. 5. The British film industry dilemma: <ul><li>Do you: </li></ul><ul><li>A) Make culturally specific films which appeal to a limited audience? </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>B) Make broader, generic films with a wider appeal? </li></ul>
  6. 6. The British film industry dilemma: <ul><li>Working Title want to make European films for a worldwide audience. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  7. 7. History of WT: <ul><li>1984 </li></ul><ul><li>Working Title founded by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe </li></ul><ul><li>1985 </li></ul><ul><li>First Working Title film My Beautiful Laundrette (The first of a series of collaborations with Channel Four Films ) </li></ul><ul><li>15 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of WT films produced in the 1980s </li></ul>
  8. 8. History of WT: <ul><li>1988 </li></ul><ul><li>Production deal with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment </li></ul><ul><li>1991 </li></ul><ul><li>WT sets up Hollywood office </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>1992 </li></ul><ul><li>PolyGram (a European music and media company) buys Working Title. </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah Radclyffe leaves to set up her own production company </li></ul><ul><li>She’s replaced by Eric Fellner </li></ul>History of WT:
  10. 10. History of WT: <ul><li>1994 </li></ul><ul><li>Four Weddings and a Funeral </li></ul><ul><li>A big box office success due to the access to the US market provided by Polygram </li></ul>
  11. 11. History of WT: <ul><li>1998 </li></ul><ul><li>Polygram bought by Universal, a Seagram company </li></ul><ul><li>2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Seagram is bought by Vivendi, the French multimedia conglomerate </li></ul><ul><li>WorkingTitle is now owned by Universal, which is in turn owned by Vivendi </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>$35m </li></ul><ul><li>The amount of money WT can spend on a film before consulting with Universal </li></ul><ul><li>WT2 </li></ul><ul><li>Set up to encourage new British filmmakers. </li></ul><ul><li>Billy Elliot (Dir. Stephen Daldry, 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>WT2 did not need the approval of Universal </li></ul><ul><li>WT2 no longer exists </li></ul>
  13. 14. Unique: <ul><li>There is no other British Film Company like Working Title </li></ul><ul><li>It is allowed freedom to make creative decisions but it is owned by a conglomerate </li></ul>
  14. 15. Safety Net: <ul><li>£13m </li></ul><ul><li>Budget for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin </li></ul><ul><li>£9.8m </li></ul><ul><li>UK Box Office takings </li></ul><ul><li>The protection of Universal means that Working Title was able to survive this disappointing performance </li></ul>
  15. 16. 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
  16. 17. Some numbers: <ul><li>4 or 5 </li></ul><ul><li>The number of films Working Title produce each year </li></ul><ul><li>1 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of ‘risk free films’ Working Title will invest in each year </li></ul><ul><li>2 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of mainstream films WT will invest in each year </li></ul><ul><li>2 </li></ul><ul><li>Will invest in projects they feel passionate about (which have risk factors involved) </li></ul>
  17. 18. Some numbers: <ul><li>95 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of films made (to date) by Working Title </li></ul><ul><li>$4.5 billion </li></ul><ul><li>Amount of money made by these films </li></ul><ul><li>6 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of Academy Awards won </li></ul><ul><li>26 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of BAFTA Awards won </li></ul>
  18. 19. Successful Relationships <ul><li>Working Title make films with 3 rd parties e.g. the Coen Brothers and people they know well and have built up a good working relationship with e.g. Richard Curtis </li></ul>
  19. 20. Notable films <ul><li>TheSoloist </li></ul><ul><li>State of Play </li></ul><ul><li>The Boat That Rocked </li></ul><ul><li>Wild Child </li></ul><ul><li>Burn After Reading, </li></ul><ul><li>The Interpreter </li></ul><ul><li>About a Boy </li></ul><ul><li>Notting Hill </li></ul>
  20. 21. <ul><li>Elizabeth </li></ul><ul><li>Fargo </li></ul><ul><li>Dead Man Walking </li></ul><ul><li>Bean </li></ul><ul><li>High Fidelity </li></ul><ul><li>Johnny English </li></ul><ul><li>Billy Elliot </li></ul><ul><li>Four Weddings and a Funeral </li></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>Bridget Jones's Diary </li></ul><ul><li>Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason </li></ul><ul><li>O Brother, Where Art Thou? </li></ul><ul><li>Love Actually </li></ul><ul><li>Shaun of the Dead </li></ul><ul><li>Pride & Prejudice </li></ul><ul><li>Nanny McPhee </li></ul><ul><li>United 93 </li></ul>
  22. 23. What does Eric Fellner have to say? <ul><li>Working Title focus on character and narrative (as opposed to action/ special effects etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>They often create films of cross-genres </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>
  23. 24. What does Eric Fellner have to say? <ul><li>Working Title have aimed to create an industry that is exportable and global </li></ul><ul><li>There is an active aggressive industry in Hollywood that we can never compete with </li></ul><ul><li>What we should focus on is making films we believe in and exporting them </li></ul>
  24. 25. What does Eric Fellner have to say? <ul><li>We should dissipate the notion of the British Film Industry just being British </li></ul><ul><li>Instead we should work with home grown material and work with others to distribute, market etc </li></ul><ul><li>Characters should be fun and engaging; you should want to spend time with them (regardless of whether they’re simplistic or stereotypical) </li></ul><ul><li>This is the focus for Working Title, rather than trying to package films/ characters for American audiences </li></ul><ul><li>Fellner says that the British film industry is “thriving” and can ride out recessions </li></ul>
  25. 26. Homework: <ul><li>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. </li></ul>
  26. 27. You must explain why it is suitable for a Working Title production. <ul><li>Your synopsis should include comments on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plot </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intended audience. </li></ul></ul>