High Concept: Movies and Marketing in Hollywood (Texas Film and Media Studies Series)

Overview

Steven Spielberg once said, "I like ideas, especially movie ideas, that you can hold in your hand. If a person can tell me the idea in twenty-five words or less, it's going to make a pretty good movie." Spielberg's comment embodies the essence of the high concept film, which can be condensed into one simple sentence that inspires marketing campaigns, lures audiences, and separates success from failure at the box office.

This pioneering study explores the development and ...

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Overview

Steven Spielberg once said, "I like ideas, especially movie ideas, that you can hold in your hand. If a person can tell me the idea in twenty-five words or less, it's going to make a pretty good movie." Spielberg's comment embodies the essence of the high concept film, which can be condensed into one simple sentence that inspires marketing campaigns, lures audiences, and separates success from failure at the box office.

This pioneering study explores the development and dominance of the high concept movie within commercial Hollywood filmmaking since the late 1970s. Justin Wyatt describes how box office success, always important in Hollywood, became paramount in the era in which major film studios passed into the hands of media conglomerates concerned more with the economics of filmmaking than aesthetics. In particular, he shows how high concept films became fully integrated with their marketing, so that a single phrase ("Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .") could sell the movie to studio executives and provide copy for massive advertising campaigns; a single image or a theme song could instantly remind potential audience members of the movie, and tie-in merchandise could generate millions of dollars in additional income.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 A Critical Redefinition: The Concept of High Concept 1
The Entertainment Industries on High Concept 8
The Critics on High Concept 13
Economics, Aesthetics, and High Concept as "Post" Classical Cinema 15
Micro- and Macro-Analysis: Style, Marketing, and Differentiation of Product 16
"The Look, the Hook, and the Book" 20
2 Construction of the Image and the High Concept Style 23
Advertising as an Influence on Style 24
"You've Got the Look": Perfect Images in High Concept 26
Stars and Style 31
Music as an Element of Style 36
Excess in High Concept: The Promotional Music Video 44
The High Concept Image: Character Types and Genre 53
Style, Classical Hollywood, and the Art Cinema 60
3 High Concept and Changes in the Market for Entertainment 65
The Marketplace and Traditional Definitions 65
Conglomeration and Film Content: The Roadshow, The Youth Picture, The Blockbuster 69
Uncertainty in the Marketplace: The Development of the Contemporary Industry Structure 81
Differentiation of Product 94
High Concept as Product Differentiation 104
4 Marketing the Image: High Concept and the Development of Marketing 109
Changing Distribution Patterns 110
Awareness Marketing: High Concept in Print 112
Maintenance Marketing: Selling through Music and Product 133
Merchandising and Ancillary Tie-ins 148
5 High Concept and Market Research: Movie Making by the Numbers 155
The Growth of Market Research 156
The Model of Market Research within the Film Industry 158
Case Study: Determining Boxoffice Revenue 161
Theorizing the Positive Influences on Boxoffice Gross 162
Specification of the Model 164
Estimation of the Model and Results 167
Manipulation, Control, and High Concept 172
Factors Influencing the Decline of Market Research 176
6 Conclusion: High Concept and the Course of American Film History 188
The Transformation of the Auteur 190
Television and the Ideological Agenda of High Concept 194
The Alternatives to High Concept 198
Notes 203
Index 227
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