Cable Sankar



Let's talk Hollywood!, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios


We have seen film business in our country so far. Now let us discuss trade practices of overseas movies, especially Hollywood.

First, a few interesting facts about Hollywood:

* Hollywood provides employment for 10,80,000 full time employees and 2,30,000 freelancers (including actors and actresses)

* Average annual collection is US $ 9.5 Billion.

* Average income of employees stands at $ 73,000. This is 80% higher than an average American’s income.

* $ 30 Billion is issues in wages and salaries every year

* $ 30.2 Billion is the income of cinema industry allied organizations

* $ 60 Billion is the contribution towards American economy

* $ 10 Billion is the contribution in the form of income tax and $ 9.5 Billion through other trades

More than all, Hollywood provides indirect employment for 10,000,000 people through 160,000 subsidiary industries. It is a magical industry playing a key role in American economy. All the above statistics are from 2005. At present, all of them would have grown multifold.

Could you believe only six corporations control this colossal industry, with this kind of massive financials? Yes. The real heroes of Hollywood, the world number one in terms of investment and collections and number two in terms of film production count, are only six production houses known as Big Six. More than 90% of the Hollywood films are released only through Big Six!

Paramount Pictures (1912)
Paramount is the oldest of all Hollywood studios. It also owns the studio of 50 acres area. It is recently taken over by a company called Viacom.

Universal Studios (1912)
Universal is younger than Paramount by a month. The universal studio has studio and Theme Park at Orlando, Florida at a massive 875 acres area. This is second only to Disney. Universal also has one more studio and Theme park at California at 420 acres area.

Warner Brothers (1918)
Warner is USA’s third film production house started by a Polish immigrant. Has studio and headquarters in 140 acres area.

Columbia Pictures (1919)
Columbia started off as an independent entity. However, marred with multiple problems, it was taken over by Coca-Cola in 1984 to be spun off in a few years. Later Sony adopted the ownership. Columbia has a 44-acre studio.

Disney (1923)
Two brothers at a very small level started this production house. It attracted kids with creative animation films and grew to become the world’s largest entertainment enterprise. Disney has its own empire in Florida State with 27500 acre land. Disney’s headquarters in California alone measures 44 acres in area. With astonishing worth of real estate to the crafty tactics to acquire the Florida lands, Disney never ceases to amaze.

20th Century Fox (1935)
William Fox, who was running a set of theaters, started 20th Century Fox in 1935. This leads the pack with successes more than any other five houses in the past and present. 20th Century Fox own a 63-acre studio in Los Angeles.

Small players like Spyglass entertainment, Newline cinema, Lionsgate, Summit entertainment and IFC, make the rest of 10%. These are called ‘States-writers’ and also ‘Mini-majors’.

There is another group with a big list of producers like Crown, Croma, Trident, Concorde, Curb etc. They are known for their B rated movies. Their films could easily be identified with their titles. Zombie, blood, nightmare or massacre – any one of these words would be part of their movie titles without fail.

Rest of 1-2% movies is produced by enthusiastic and ambitious newbies called independents. They are mostly low budget films. During 2005-06, these independent productions formed a majority 65% of all Hollywood movies produced. But you can count the movies, which have made to the theaters with your fingers.

Independents, who are generally film geeks, tend to keep away from big production houses to protect their story and theme and to save their freedom of opinion. To the maximum possible extent they would complete the movie with their own money, and burn their fingers in the distribution business. However, surprisingly good movies, which are rare by nature, are originating from these independents only.

Hollywood Cinema is a corporate world. Unlike Indian producers who come from non-cinema background and struggle in movie production, Hollywood production houses are proficient in film business with more than 75 years of expertise to back.

These corporate houses control everyone from hero, heroine, villain, and director without any incongruity. They also control a rating system called MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America), which in turn decides who can and can not work in a film.

So how is a film brought to life in Hollywood?

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