The international market is central to the profits of the studios in 'New' Hollywood. Blockbusters, such as Fatal Attraction ( 1987), Rain Man ( 1988), and Cocktail ( 1988), all grossed more money overseas than in theatres in the United States, and stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Eddie Murphy are able to command multimillion-dollar salaries, in part because of their international appeal. Hollywood moguls are concerned about the possible volatility of international film markets, and this has led, in recent years, to joint deals between Hollywood and foreign companies to build theatres in Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Spain, and France, even in major cities across the former Soviet Union. In Britain alone, Hollywood companies (led by MCA's Cineplex Odeon) helped sponsor the construction of more movie screens than had been seen in a generation. This move back towards total vertical integration is seen as an ideal way for studios to protect their interests abroad and maximize their profits.
Some nations have been able to deal with the influx of Hollywood product by offering their own, culturally identifiable, genre films. In India, for example, a remarkable 250 film-making companies, using more than 60 studios, continued to produce 700 feature films a year throughout the 1980s. The central government encouraged the making of Indian films by requiring all commercial cinemas to screen at least one Indian film per show. The government also offered grants, loans, and a system of prizes to reward the 'best' films. A star system, much like Hollywood's of the 1930s and 1940s, continued to be strong. Indeed Indian stars work on several productions at the same time and can become enormously wealthy.
Other Asian countries have also been strong producers of film. Hong Kong, a country of only 5 million people, produces more films than Hollywood. Into the 1990s Hong Kong's citizens watched Hollywood and native productions in about equal numbers, and in the 1980s Hong Kong martial arts films were distributed world-wide in large numbers (often straight on to video).
Given the rise of cable and satellite broadcasting, Hollywood's ability to penetrate even these markets seems inevitable, and its future limitless. Throughout most of the world, Hollywood film-makers and stars, such as Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have become the cultural idols of a generation. With the economic stranglehold of Hollywood corporations and the return to classical principles of film-making and genres, the 'New' Hollywood looks (and functions) remarkably like the 'old' Hollywood.
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Gomery, Douglas ( 1992), Shared Pleasures.
Lees, David, and Berkowitz, Stan ( 1981), The Movie Business.
Pye, Michael, and Myles, Lynda ( 1979), The Movie Brats.
Squire, Jason E. (ed.) ( 1992), The Movie Business Book.
E.T. prepares to return home in Steven Spielberg's simple tale of a cute alien. It became the biggest grossing film of all time, not to be surpassed until Jurassic Park more than a decade later
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Oxford History of World Cinema. Contributors: Geoffrey Nowell-Smith - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 482.
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