Hollywood's Road to Riches / Edition 1

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Out-of-control costs. Box office bombs that should have been foreseen. A mania for sequels at the expense of innovation. Blockbusters of ever-diminishing merit. What other industry could continue like this--and succeed as spectacularly as Hollywood has? The American movie industry's extraordinary success at home and abroad--in the face of dire threats from broadcast television and a wealth of other entertainment media that have followed--is David Waterman's focus in this book, the first full-length economic study of the movie industry in over forty years.

Combining historical and economic analysis, Hollywood's Road to Riches shows how, beginning in the 1950s, a largely predictable business has been transformed into a volatile and complex multimedia enterprise now commanding over 80 percent of the world's film business. At the same time, the book asks how the economic forces leading to this success--the forces of audience demand, technology, and high risk--have combined to change the kinds of movies Hollywood produces.

Waterman argues that the movie studios have multiplied their revenues by effectively using pay television and home video media to extract the maximum amounts that individual consumers are willing to pay to watch the same movies in different venues. Along the way, the Hollywood studios have masterfully handled piracy and other economic challenges to the multimedia system they use to distribute movies.

The author also looks ahead to what Internet file sharing and digital production and distribution technologies might mean for Hollywood's prosperity, as well as for the quality and variety of the movies it makes.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education Supplement

[Hollywood's Road to Riches] provide[s] a thorough economic account of how American film studios and their predecessors have exploited our appetite for movies over the past 60-plus years.
— David Ondaatje


No less artful are the inspired, often Byzantine economics that have sustained the film industry for more than a century, which prove a surprisingly engrossing topic in David Waterman's Hollywood's Road to Riches.
— J. David Slocum

Steven S. Wildman
Hollywood's Road to Riches focuses on the details and peculiarities of the film business with a depth and breadth that no one else provides. Combining knowledge of facts and institutions with insightful economic analyses makes the book exceptional.
Michael Riordan
Hollywood's Road to Riches is informative, intelligent, and even entertaining.
Times Higher Education Supplement - David Ondaatje
[Hollywood's Road to Riches] provide[s] a thorough economic account of how American film studios and their predecessors have exploited our appetite for movies over the past 60-plus years.
Playboy - J. David Slocum
No less artful are the inspired, often Byzantine economics that have sustained the film industry for more than a century, which prove a surprisingly engrossing topic in David Waterman's Hollywood's Road to Riches.
Library Journal
With box office returns slumping, Waterman (telecommunications, Indiana Univ.) has produced a timely study of Tinseltown's development since the end of World War II. Special attention is paid to how Hollywood has managed to sustain its world domination of cinema and, perhaps most interestingly, what it does with all its money. In 1946, the studios had their most successful year economically, but the imminent rise of television changed the public's viewing habits forever. At first combative toward its rival, Hollywood eventually acceded to the adage "if you can't beat them, join them" and began producing its own TV series and then investing in pay television. These measures, the author reveals, did not prove to be the industry's salvation, and it began to look more aggressively at issues like movie release patterns and new technologies. Replete with numerous charts, tables, and appendixes, this scholarly (and correspondingly dry work) is geared toward economists and academics. General readers may find other current books more accessible, among them Dade Hayes and Jonathan Bing's Open Wide and Edward Jay Epstein's The Big Picture. Recommended for inclusive economics and cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, Los Angeles P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674019454
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Waterman is Professor, Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables


Introduction: American Success

1. The Players

2. Television: A Parting of the Ways

3. The Pay Media: A Shower of Money

4. Controlling the Release Sequence

5. Rising American Dominance

6. What Has Hollywood Done with the Money?

7. Hollywood's Digital Future


A. Market Shares of Domestic Box Office/Rentals and Video Revenues

B. Stability of World Theatrical Rentals, 1948-1975

C. U.S. Distributor Revenue by Source

D. Prices, Distributor Revenue, and Viewing Estimates, 1948, 1975, and 2002

E. Video Windows, 1988-2002

F. Comparative Analysis of Movie Industries and Trade in the United States and the EUJ5 Countries, Statistical Data, 1950-2003

G. Determinants of U.S. Box Office Market Shares in the EUJ5, 1950-2003

H. Movie Production Costs and Animated Movie Data

I. Motion Picture Industry Employment

J. Movie Credits Analysis, Top Ten Movies, 1971 and 2001

K. Movie Genre Analysis



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