Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Web-Only film: Microsoft's Halo 4

Cinemas have had to compete with TV, DVD, piracy and the increasing quality and affordability of home cinema setups. Now some film producers are ignoring cinema altogether and pioneering web-only releases for relatively high budget productions, with computing giant Microsoft's web-release of Halo 4 suggesting this could be a growing trend. Released as 5 15min episodes over a 5 week period (each launching once a week on YouTube), the budget is higher than for many films that will get cinema releases.
As the article notes, there have been several examples: 'Warner Brothers recently aired a web-only series based on Mortal Kombat, as did Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed, the latter currently being redeveloped as a film without a Hollywood studio. It is not only games, either. A new series of Arrested Development is under way for online distributor Netflix, as is a remake by David Fincher of the British series House of Cards.'

Halo 4: the film of the game

A web-only film based on the Halo series (previewed below) is the start of something special
Halo 4, film, games
Filming of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, which will air once a week on YouTube.
Given that both are such strong visual mediums, video games and films have endured a surprisingly fractious relationship. Yet it is one that neither seems willing to walk away from – the symbiotic allure at its heart is just too strong. The games industry brings ready-made scenarios, characters and a fanbase to movie producers, while exposure on the big screen feeds back into game sales.
Tempting, yes, but the relationship has been repeatedly tarnished, House of the Dead and Wing Commander being prime examples. Now, however, the very model of how film is made and distributed is being examined anew. In Microsoft's first foray into the market, it has chosen to debut its films based on the Halo games not at the cinema but in the form of a free-to-view online series that begins on Friday.

BFI replaces UKFC: 5 year plan announced

See below for full details (from this Guardian article), or go on to the BFI (British Film Institute) site (or the Wiki, or the Guardian's BFI microsite). Some key points:
  • BFI took on the UK Film Council's responsibilities in April 2011
  • by 2017 they'll be spending £24m a year on film production
  • that includes allocating the production finances which help many British films get made
  • they plan a 'BFiPlayer' for 2013, with 10,000 films to be digitised and made available by 2017
Here's a snippet of what they said about film production plans:
The BFI has also taken over responsibility for providing money for film production – The King's Speech, for example, benefited from £1m of lottery money.
In the five-year plan the money given out for production and development will rise annually to £24m by 2017 with "new opportunities for film-makers working in documentary and animation".
There is always lively debate about where money should be given, with David Cameron reported as saying it should be films that have wide commercial appeal.
The BFI's film fund head, Ben Roberts, said tough decisions had to be made. About 20 films a year will be funded, but another 300 will be turned down. But he said: "I don't believe commercial appeal and critical appeal can't co-exist. We can't underestimate how much audiences respond to strong, original film-making."
"The criteria for everybody is that we support film-makers with strong, original, inventive ideas," said Roberts. "It is up to us to have instincts about what we think is going to strike a chord with its audience."
He promised that the "doors are open to all kinds of film-makers" and that the process would be "very open and transparent".

BFI to launch online player with 10,000 films from its archives

Player scheduled for end of 2013 with experts and public helping to choose which films will be digitised over next five years
Still from the The Cumberland Story by Humphrey Jennings
The Cumberland Story by Humphrey Jennings (1945): the BFI's creative director says the online player will give the public access to films that have 'changed our understanding of our film culture'. Photograph: BFI
An internet "player", which will give unprecedented access to Britain's film heritage online, whether that's the innovations of the early pioneer RW Paul or the Mass Observation documentaries of Humphrey Jennings, was announced on Tuesday as part of a five-year plan for British film.
The British Film Institute, which has taken on a lead role for all aspects of film since the abolition of the UK Film Council outlined how it plans to spend over £500m over the next five years.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Film directors/studios turn to TV?

We've already seen many big name film directors produce and/or direct work for the small screen, not least Steven Spielberg and, recently, Martin Scorsese (with the excellent HBO series Boardwalk Empire). Now its the Coen brothers' turn, with an unexpected TV series of their early hit movie Fargo. Studio MGM has announced its intentions to use its back catalogue of films to spin off several new TV series over the coming years - see the article below for further details.

Coen brothers developing Fargo TV series

Joel and Ethan Coen to bring Oscar-winning film to the small screen, continuing the story of police chief Marge Gunderson
Frances McDormand in Fargo
Cohen crime caper … Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson in Fargo. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive
The Coen brothers are to bring their Oscar-winning film Fargo to the small screen, Deadline reports.
  1. Fargo
  2. Production year: 1996
  3. Country: USA
  4. Cert (UK): 18
  5. Runtime: 97 mins
  6. Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  7. Cast: Frances MacDormand, Frances McDormand, Peter Stormare, Steve Buscemi, William H Macy, William H. Macy
  8. More on this film
Joel and Ethan Coen will oversee the TV series, which will be in the one-hour episode format, as executive producers. Fargo, which was released in 1996, marked an early foray for the siblings into Academy award-winning territory: the Coens won best original screenplay and Frances McDormand was named best actress for her role as pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson. The film was also nominated in a further five categories.
The Fargo TV show is part of studio MGM's plan to adapt properties it owns for the small screen through MGM Television. A previous attempt to produce a Fargo show took place in 2003, with The Sopranos' Edie Falco starring as Gunderson. It never got beyond a Kathy Bates-directed pilot, and did not have the blessing of the Coens.
In the Coens' original crime caper the taciturn Gunderson is charged with investigating a homicide after a local car dealer with money problems (William H Macy) hires two hapless goons (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) to kidnap his wife as part of a ransom scam. The film is set mostly in North Dakota, which is populated largely by the descendants of Scandinavian and German settlers.
Gunderson is expected to once again be the main character in the TV series, which will be written and executive produced by Noah Hawley, creator of The Unusuals and My Generation.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Film4 Reimaginings: TisEng wins

Postmodern, comparable in some ways to sweding, an interesting reflection on the limitations of copyright and the importance of UGC for generating revenue for major film companies ... check out this story (with embedded clips):

(The key clip won't currently embed:!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hollywood encourages piracy?!

This is the claim of a well-argued article at
Good + useful points on the inferior nature of download 'rental' (Netflix etc), all part of the digitisation debate

From a more conventional perspective, here's news of Google bowing to pressure from Hollywood and the music industry to effectively hide search results from certain download sites.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Co-Ops + Indie Cinemas in UK

The iPad isn't great for blogging, so at another time I'll develop a links list on this - a topic you need to be able to say something on for your exam, and to be able to claim to truly understand the business of British Cinema and how it interacts with the audience. Whilst the warehouse style and scale multiplexes have now long dominated UK cinemas, there are 1500 Indie cinemas, with 500 supported by the BFFS ('the British Federation of Film Societies (BFFS) which represents more than 500 community cinemas and film societies across the UK'). This article seems to be advertorial (it's not made entirely clear, but looks like it to me), but is useful to get a broader understanding of the diversity of exhibition beyond the multiplexes ... and the role, once more, of digitisation in fostering this change and enabling Indie exhibitors (as digital projection is less skilled and cheaper, and crucially financially supported by a UK Film Council fund - at least until that body was scrapped by the coalition government, a questionable decision on economic or cultural grounds):

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

IMAX: The Future or a Con?

As I'm sure many of you did I went to see TDKRises on the NMMs IMAX screen, and enjoyed the visceral experience that the screen size and sound quality offers. 3D has been widely pointed to as the saviour of a cinema business under threat from two results of digitisation: cheap digital home cinema and piracy. Whether the public will continue to pay huge premiums for the questionable benefit of 3D is debatable. We've seen 3D rise before as a fad, back in the 1950s. IMAX nails one of the threats of digitisation though, offering a scale beyond he reach of home cinema.
Director Nolan insisted on shooting over 70mins of TDKRises in IMAX, an incredibly slow, thus expensive, production method, but several recent IMAX releases haven't been shot for IMAX, leading to a similar debate to that raging about digitally rendered 3D conversions of movies shot in 2D. There is even a LIEMAX campaign opposing inferior, potentially misleading IMAX screens.
Have a read through the article below, and some of the comments that follow, to get a grasp of this topic, a very useful case study to show your grasp of industry and consumption trends today.

The Dark Knight Rises, and takes Imax with him
Christopher Nolan is singlehandedly transforming the prospects of the biggest picture show of all
Imax screening of The Dark Knight Rises
Truly immersive? ... an Imax screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP
It may be that the awful events at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, Colorado, will forever cast a shadow over cinema-going. Yet The Dark Knight Rises could also point the way to a brighter future for an increasingly troubled industry. It could help reshape the way we watch movies.
The film includes 72 minutes of footage shot on the Imax system, the most ever for a studio narrative feature. For director Christopher Nolan, that meant working with cumbersome, jitter-sensitive and noisy cameras capable of only three-minute takes and requiring 20 minutes to reload. Still, he's in no doubt that the extra effort was worth it. He believes he has secured in return "the best quality image that has ever been invented".
In an Imax ("image maximum") camera or projector, 70mm film runs sideways, taking up 15 sprocket holes per frame instead of 35mm's four. The resulting picture is 10 times larger with 10 times the resolution. Ideally, it's displayed at up to twice the usual brightness, on a curved screen that can be as tall as an eight-storey building. Together with 360-degree surround sound and stadium seating, it's supposed to provide the "most immersive motion picture entertainment" available.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

How Audience became Movie-Makers

How cinema audiences have become movie-makers The film industry used to have all the power over filmgoers. But home video and the internet have changed that relationship

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cinema-to-DVD release gap to narrow?

I've blogged on this before, back in 2010, but a major studio head has once more raised the prospect of whats currently a 17-week gap between (US) cinema release and DVD release narrowing significantly to combat piracy. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says the current system simply "create[s] a gap for piracy".
There's another growing trend just now: the widening of the key 'summer' blockbuster season (recognised terminology), with Alice in Wonderland released in March 2011, and Hunger Games in March 2011, a full two months before the traditional May starting point.

Time Warner CEO predicts release date shift to combat piracy

Jeff Bewkes says making films available on all platforms early in their runs will reduce piracy, despite cinemas' objections
Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland provoked a battle between Disney and UK cinemas over its release window. Photograph: Disney /Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar
A powerful media mogul who oversees one of the most successful studios in Hollywood, Warner Bros, has predicted the demise of the longstanding "window" between cinema and home video releases in order to combat internet piracy.
Interviewed on the US PBS network's Charlie Rose show, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the entire film industry, "including theatre owners" had "an interest" in ensuring that new movies were available early in their runs for consumers to view on any platform, whether at the cinema, on DVD or view-on-demand (VOD). His comments will cause consternation among the owners of cinema chains, who have fought a running battle with studios to retain the traditional 17-week window before new films shift from the big screen to home video.
Bewkes accepted that the issue was a "dangerous" one, and said studios would "be as thoughtful as we can to do it in a way that doesn't undermine the theatre experience". But he nevertheless appeared to indicate that the window's demise was a done deal because the alternative was to "create a gap for piracy". He also predicted that the price of DVDs would come down further in future.
Cinema chains in the UK and abroad fear relaxation of the window in case film lovers decide to save their pennies and see new releases at home rather than travelling to their nearest multiplex. At the moment it is impossible to see new films in high quality anywhere else but the cinema, a monopoly which has arguably helped maintain box office yields since the arrival of VHS in the 1980s.
In 2010 Warner's rival studio Disney fought a battle with UK cinemas over the release window for Tim Burton's blockbuster Alice in Wonderland. In the end the film was released in cinemas according to the usual schedule and went on to gross more than $1bn at the global box office. The total worldwide box office stood at $36.6bn last year, up 3% on 2010, but only because markets such as China and Russia are growing rapidly and 3D films continue to yield a higher premium. Given that experts suggest that piracy costs the US economy alone more than $20bn annually, Bewkes's prediction begins to look more than reasonable. Nevertheless, further battles with cinema chains no doubt await if Hollywood decides to move forward with its current plans.

Monday, May 14, 2012

TSSpy marketing

This is a good example of marketing using social media, and a viral campaign.
The official website:
The company that designed it on behalf of StudioCanal: This is what they said about the campaign (and the background video they also included)

To mark the nationwide release of box office hit Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Impact was commissioned by film distribution company Studio Canal to create a guerrilla marketing campaign to support the movie launch and boost online word-of-mouth. This took place in the week prior to the movie’s release date on 16th September 2011.

The campaign saw  Tom, Stephen, Paul and Dave from the Impact Promotions team disguised as 1970′s spies, surreptitiously disseminating leaked dossiers on tube carriages, public benches, window sills, pub tables and other unexpected locations around town.
Our Secret Agents targeted London’s main transport hubs and railway stations, mingling with commuters and tourists at departure boards inside Liverpool Street,Waterloo and Charing Cross stations.
Following client brief, the team focused their efforts on mature and affluent ABC1 audiences, especially commuters and city professionals. All demographic groups targeted responded very positively to the promotion, seeming genuinely intrigued by the leaked dossiers and elaborate spy costumes. In their role as spies, the team actively engaged with the public, asking questions such as: ‘Did you drop this?’ and ‘What is the code word?’ or ‘Have you seen the Mole?’.
The campaign was linked to an online Facebook competition which allowed users to post photos of the found secret dossiers on the movie’s fan page for a chance to win film memorabilia. The activity contributed to generate 7000 subscribers within its first week of opening, with dozens of positive comments and candid photos of the leaked dossiers at various locations in London.

Use this example!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Chief Examiner's exam tips

I'm copying these straight in: there's much more over at (thats a blog run by ther Chief Examiner of our exam board, OCR - its very helpful)

Friday, 4 May 2012

AS exam advice: Audiences and Institutions

Whichever media area you are covering for this question, it is important that you show understanding of the key concepts and refer to specific examples in your answer. In this post, we will consider some of the ways in which you can help yourself do well with five 'top tips'.

1. Read the question carefully

You have no choice of questions, so you have to have a go at what is there on the paper; sometimes students panic and think that they don't understand the question- maybe because of one particular word- but so long as you have prepared on all the concepts there will be something in the question that you recognise. Words like 'technology', 'convergence', 'distribution', 'marketing', 'digital'  come up and you should see them as your 'hook' into the question. Even if the overall wording seems to be baffling, look for the terms that are there in the question and see them as the springboard for your answer.

2. Don't spend ages on an introduction

You only have 45 minutes to answer the question, so there isn't time to waffle! A quick sentence which sets out what you are going to do and which media area or industry you are going to use will suffice. You can prepare a lot of this in your head in advance, so something like: In this essay, I shall write about (concept) in relation to the (film, music, radio, etc) industry, drawing on (examples) as my case studies.

3. Know your examples

Whichever industry you are writing about, you will need examples to support your points. I would always advocate having some contrasting examples so that you can look at all angles; for example, you might have a mainstream high budget film from the USA to contrast with a low budget independent Uk film, or a major record label to contrast with a little UK indie label. That way, you can talk about the different ways in which the industry might operate in different circumstances. You need not know absolutely eveything about just two examples, however. It could be that you know about the funding of a particular low budget film, but don't know about its marketing; in which case find another example of something similar where you can find out about its marketing. The important thing is to get a good grasp of the ways in which the concepts apply rather than every tiny detail of a specific case study example. What you do need is to make sure you understand the general principles well and can back up your points accurately.

4. Try to be systematic

Don't jump about between points; spend a bit of time at the start of the exam planning the structure of your answer and working out the main points and examples for each paragraph. this will ensure that the rest of your time is spent fruitfully as well. Know what key point you will make in each paragraph, what examples you will refer to and how you want to make a case from it all. Use similarity and difference as starting points for organising an argument; there will be differences between mainstream and indie which you might use as your way through, for example.

5. Make it all legible

Remember, examiners may be old and may have poor eyesight. Well at least that applies to me! Most students do not have great handwriting, so make it easier for the examiner to find the strengths in what you have written. Keep your paragraphs relatively short- half a page at most. Leave a clear line between each paragraph. There is nothing in the rules to say that you can't use a highlighter pen to emphasise your key examples or terms. Don't overdo this, but it does sometimes help to draw the reader's attention to points which ought to pick you up marks.

Prepare well and you should do well. Answers to Q.2 often look shorter than those for Q.1, but if you know your stuff and have revised properly, they shouldn't be. Good luck!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Exam tips for AS students

With just three weeks to go to the exam, here are a few tips for the OCR AS G322.

1. Practice a bit of writing on TV Drama and particularly in organising your notes. You'll find a whole presentation of tips on that part of the exam in my presentation from an earlier post on Feb 29. There I suggest that you go into the exam knowing how you will organise your notes, so that you have a structure to look out for things and to ensure that you maximise the note-taking time. After the first screening, if you draw a grid in the answer booklet, like this:

It will give you all you need for the four categories- mise-en-scene, camerawork, editing (continuity editing, at least) and sound. Down the side are the three categories P- point, D-data (or example) and Q- question (how to relate point and example to the question set). This model was suggested by Vicky Allen at Thomas Rotherham College, who gets good results every year, so she should know!

When revising for the exam, fill out a grid like this with the points you are going to be looking for on the day, then regardless of the extract, you will have things to look for. You won't be able to take one in to the actual exam, but you will have fewer things to memorise to cover!

So, under mise-en-scene, you might be looking for key examples of setting, costume, props, colours, makeup, hairstyle, lighting, posture, gesture. For camerawork you want to make points about angles, shot distances, camera movements, framing and focus. For continuity editing you want examples of the 180 degree rule, match on action, shot reverse shot, eyeline match, insert shots. For sound you will want examples of music, dialogue, sound effects, use of foley, counterpoint, sound bridges. If you have lists like this that you can then remember, that gives you plenty to look for.

Once you have watched the extract through, during the second screening you can very quickly note down    your grid and start to put in examples to support your points and then as you watch it a third and fourth time, you can start to relate the examples you find  back to the question, by asking what they contribute to the representation under scrutiny. So, for instance, how is the setting being used, how are camera angles being used, how are features of continuity editing used to help establish differences between characters. You'll have 30 minutes in total for the note-taking, so make the most of it!

Remember, the more you do in preparation for the note-taking, the better your chances in the essay itself. A well-organised answer in the 45 minutes for writing, supporting points with examples, will go a long way towards getting you a good mark!

WT Box Office History to 2010

Data from
Av budget $29m, av worldwide gross $73m!!!!
The RC rom-coms contribute nearly $2bn of the $5bn (nearer $6bn by now) all-time total, BUT the last major RC hit was back in 2004 with the BJD sequel Edge of Reason. Just as with the horror movies we looked at, it seems even WT may be somewhat reliant on franchises too: a 2nd sequel is due out soon. The horrid TBTRocks was a flop, increasing the attractiveness of a return to a proven winner.

WT has produced the worldwide, all-time 199th (NHill) + 292nd (BJD) + 319th (BJD2) biggest movies: see Full Monty was 331st!

BJD is the 175th biggest film franchise of all time:

Box Office History for Working Title Movies

Release DateMovieProduction
Box Office
Box Office
May 19, 1989 For Queen and Country $191,051 $191,051
Jan 1, 1990 Fools of Fortune $83,000 $83,000
Apr 19, 1991 Drop Dead Fred $13,746,300 $13,746,300
Aug 21, 1991 Barton Fink $5,726,463 $5,726,463
Sep 4, 1992 Bob Roberts $4,300,703 $4,300,703
Mar 9, 1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral $4,500,000 $52,700,832 $242,895,809
May 5, 1995 French Kiss $9,018,022 $38,863,798 $98,393,930
Dec 29, 1995 Dead Man Walking $11,000,000 $118,266 $39,387,284 $83,088,295
Mar 8, 1996 Fargo $7,000,000 $730,265 $24,567,751 $51,204,567
Oct 17, 1997 Bean $2,255,233 $45,334,169 $256,574,128
Feb 13, 1998 The Borrowers $29,000,000 $6,075,079 $22,619,589 $54,045,832
Mar 6, 1998 The Big Lebowski $15,000,000 $5,533,844 $17,498,804 $46,189,568
Mar 6, 1998 Everest $364,244 $87,178,599 $127,990,128
Nov 6, 1998 Elizabeth $25,000,000 $275,131 $30,082,699 $82,150,642
Oct 13, 2000 Billy Elliot $5,000,000 $215,681 $21,995,263 $109,280,263
Dec 22, 2000 O Brother, Where Art Thou? $26,000,000 $195,104 $45,506,619 $75,763,814
Apr 13, 2001 Bridget Jones's Diary $25,000,000 $10,733,933 $71,500,556 $281,527,158
May 25, 2001 The Man Who Cried $93,455 $747,092 $1,790,840
Aug 17, 2001 Captain Corelli's Mandolin $57,000,000 $7,209,345 $25,528,495 $62,097,495
Mar 1, 2002 40 Days and 40 Nights $17,000,000 $12,229,529 $37,939,782 $95,092,667
May 17, 2002 About a Boy $27,000,000 $8,557,630 $40,803,000 $129,949,664
Dec 31, 2002 Ali G Indahouse $0 $25,936,616
Nov 7, 2003 Love Actually $45,000,000 $6,886,080 $59,472,278 $247,967,903
Jul 30, 2004 Thunderbirds $55,000,000 $2,766,810 $6,768,055 $28,231,444
Sep 17, 2004 Wimbledon $35,000,000 $7,118,985 $16,862,585 $41,666,476
Nov 12, 2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason $50,000,000 $8,684,055 $40,203,020 $263,894,551
Apr 22, 2005 The Interpreter $90,000,000 $22,822,455 $72,708,161 $163,954,076
Oct 27, 2006 Catch a Fire $14,000,000 $2,026,997 $4,299,773 $5,699,773
Jan 26, 2007 Smokin' Aces $17,000,000 $14,638,755 $35,662,731 $56,047,261
Oct 12, 2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age $6,153,075 $16,285,240 $74,769,388
Dec 7, 2007 Atonement $30,000,000 $796,836 $50,980,159 $130,200,290
Feb 14, 2008 Definitely, Maybe $7,000,000 $9,764,270 $32,241,649 $55,863,786
Aug 1, 2008 Sixty Six $9,359 $224,614 $224,614
Sep 12, 2008 Burn After Reading $37,000,000 $19,128,001 $60,355,347 $163,415,735
Dec 5, 2008 Frost/Nixon $29,000,000 $180,708 $18,622,031 $28,144,586
Apr 17, 2009 State of Play $60,000,000 $14,071,280 $37,017,955 $91,445,389
Apr 24, 2009 The Soloist $60,000,000 $9,716,458 $31,720,158 $38,454,152
Oct 2, 2009 A Serious Man $7,000,000 $251,337 $9,228,788 $30,360,570 Play
Nov 13, 2009 The Boat That Rocked $50,000,000 $2,904,380 $8,017,467 $37,472,651 Play
Mar 12, 2010 Green Zone $100,000,000 $14,309,295 $35,497,337 $97,523,020 Play
Aug 20, 2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang $35,000,000 $8,407,685 $29,197,642 $97,799,865 Play
Mar 18, 2011 Paul $40,000,000 $13,043,310 $37,412,945 $100,179,947 Play
Aug 12, 2011 Senna $73,497 $1,612,430 $11,856,854
Oct 21, 2011 Johnny English Reborn $45,000,000 $3,833,300 $8,305,970 $164,539,660 Play
Dec 9, 2011 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy $21,000,000 $310,562 $24,149,393 $81,452,811 Play
Jan 13, 2012 Contraband $25,000,000 $24,349,815 $66,528,000 $98,406,855 Play
Feb 3, 2012 Big Miracle $40,000,000 $7,760,205 $20,157,300 $25,615,524 Play
Nov 16, 2012 Anna Karenina $49,000,000 $320,690 $12,816,367 $70,939,105 Play
Dec 25, 2012 Les Miserables $65,000,000 $27,281,735 $148,809,770 $442,169,052 Play
Aug 9, 2013 I Give It a Year $5,436 $34,657 $28,237,364
Aug 23, 2013 The World's End $20,000,000 $8,811,790 $26,004,851 $47,214,446 Play
Aug 28, 2013 Closed Circuit $2,464,931 $5,750,995 $5,883,157 Play
Sep 20, 2013 Rush $38,000,000 $187,289 $26,947,624 $95,224,595 Play
Nov 1, 2013 About Time $12,000,000 $1,076,250 $15,323,921 $88,787,551 Play
Sep 26, 2014 The Two Faces of January $43,116 $445,817 $1,570,506
Nov 7, 2014 The Theory of Everything $207,000 $207,000 $207,000 Play
Sep 18, 2015 Everest $0 $0
Dec 31, 2015 Vikingr $0 $0
Feb 5, 2016 Hail, Caesar! $0 $0
Dec 31, 2017 Bridget Jones's Baby $0 $0

HUGE new Warp links list added

You can use this to aid your revision: IMDB, Wiki + other sites for most of the Warp Films/X releases, + distributor Optimum/StudioCanal UK + more
Links descriptions also contain a lot of info: you can learn a lot from these even without clicking into the sites!!!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Paul/Avatar essay/guide

Watch the trailer below:

This is from the just released (13.3.2011 in UK, 20th in USA) Paul, a $40m WT production starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg.
Here's WT's web page on Paul, packed with multimedia features - listed on
 Paul and Avatar

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

WTs film websites

At you'll see a lot of familiar names: this is the company that designs and produces WTs multmedia website, including the individual sites.
Today, I'd like each of you to pick out ONE WT film listed by Redberry, take notes on what they say (especially any notes on audience!) and then visit the film's site and take notes on what promotional features you find there

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WT's box office history - extremely useful!!!

Source: (accessed 13.11.09)
Doesn't appear to be a complete list (missing several WT2 productions?), but not far off it

Released    Movie Name    1st Weekend    US Gross    Worldwide Gross    Budget   
4/1/1986 My Beautiful Laundrette - - - $400,000
5/19/1989 For Queen and Country - $191,051 - -
1/1/1990 Fools of Fortune - $83,000 - -
9/21/1990 The Tall Guy - $510,000 $3,510,000 -
4/19/1991 Drop Dead Fred $3,625,648 $13,746,300 - -
8/21/1991 Barton Fink - $5,726,463 - -
9/4/1992 Bob Roberts - $4,300,703 - -
4/23/1993 Map of the Human Heart - $2,806,881 - -
5/14/1993 Posse $5,311,902 $18,290,000 $19,290,000 -
2/4/1994 Romeo Is Bleeding $1,225,737 $3,275,585 $3,596,834 $10,000,000
3/9/1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral - $52,700,832 $257,700,832 $4,500,000
3/11/1994 The Hudsucker Proxy $470,949 $2,816,518 - $40,000,000
5/3/1995 Panther $2,354,847 $6,834,000 - -
5/5/1995 French Kiss $9,018,022 $38,863,798 $101,949,798 -
9/29/1995 Moonlight and Valentino $1,250,912 $2,459,766 - -
12/29/1995 Dead Man Walking $118,266 $39,387,284 $86,387,284 $11,000,000
3/8/1996 Fargo $730,265 $24,567,751 $51,567,751 $7,000,000
10/3/1997 The MatchMaker $1,378,930 $3,398,083 - -
10/17/1997 Bean $2,255,233 $45,334,169 $251,334,169 -
2/13/1998 The Borrowers $6,075,079 $22,619,589 $52,619,589 $29,000,000
3/6/1998 The Big Lebowski $5,533,844 $17,498,804 $46,498,804 -
3/6/1998 Everest $364,244 $87,178,599 $125,700,000 -
11/6/1998 Elizabeth $275,131 $30,082,699 $82,082,699 $25,000,000
12/30/1998 The Hi-Lo Country $17,712 $166,082 - -
5/28/1999 Notting Hill $21,811,180 $116,089,678 $374,089,678 $42,000,000
6/18/1999 Red Dwarf $3,976 $6,499 - -
10/1/1999 Plunkett & Macleane $244,765 $476,432 - -
3/31/2000 High Fidelity $6,429,107 $27,277,055 $48,277,055 $20,000,000
10/13/2000 Billy Elliot $215,681 $21,995,263 $109,280,263 $5,000,000
12/22/2000 O Brother, Where Art Thou $195,104 $45,506,619 $74,506,619 $26,000,000
4/13/2001 Bridget Jones's Diary $10,733,933 $71,500,556 $281,500,556 $25,000,000
5/25/2001 The Man Who Cried $93,455 $747,092 $1,790,840 -
8/17/2001 Captain Corelli's Mandolin $7,209,345 $25,528,495 $62,528,495 $57,000,000
10/31/2001 The Man Who Wasn't There $664,404 $7,494,849 $21,494,849 -
3/1/2002 40 Days and 40 Nights $12,229,529 $37,939,782 $94,939,782 $17,000,000
5/17/2002 About a Boy $8,557,630 $40,803,000 $129,803,000 $27,000,000
1/31/2003 The Guru $613,485 $3,051,221 $23,788,368 $11,000,000
5/9/2003 The Shape of Things $173,246 $732,241 - -
7/18/2003 Johnny English $9,134,085 $28,013,509 $160,013,509 $45,000,000
8/20/2003 Thirteen $116,260 $4,601,043 $6,302,406 $2,000,000
11/7/2003 Love Actually $6,886,080 $59,472,278 $247,472,278 $45,000,000
12/5/2003 Pride and Prejudice $38,330 $377,271 - -
3/26/2004 Ned Kelly $43,704 $86,959 $6,371,899 -
7/30/2004 Thunderbirds $2,766,810 $6,768,055 $28,768,055 $55,000,000
9/17/2004 Wimbledon $7,118,985 $16,862,585 $41,862,585 $35,000,000
9/24/2004 Shaun of the Dead $3,330,781 $13,542,874 $30,039,392 $5,000,000
11/12/2004 Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason $8,684,055 $40,203,020 $263,203,020 $50,000,000
4/22/2005 The Interpreter $22,822,455 $72,708,161 $164,708,161 $90,000,000
11/11/2005 Pride and Prejudice $2,865,017 $38,372,662 $121,372,662 $28,000,000
1/27/2006 Nanny McPhee $14,503,650 $47,279,279 $122,279,279 $25,000,000
4/28/2006 United 93 $11,478,360 $31,567,134 $80,567,134 $18,000,000
10/27/2006 Catch a Fire $2,026,997 $4,299,773 - $14,000,000
1/26/2007 Smokin' Aces $14,638,755 $35,662,731 $56,047,261 $17,000,000
4/20/2007 Hot Fuzz $5,848,464 $23,618,786 $79,197,493 $16,000,000
8/24/2007 Mr. Bean's Holiday $9,889,780 $33,302,167 $229,700,105 $25,000,000
10/12/2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age $6,153,075 $16,285,240 $69,887,678 -
2/14/2008 Definitely, Maybe $9,764,270 $32,241,649 $55,148,863 $7,000,000
4/9/2008 Young @ Heart $50,937 $3,992,189 $5,876,236 -
8/1/2008 Sixty Six $9,359 $224,614 - -
9/12/2008 Burn After Reading $19,128,001 $60,355,347 $161,155,347 $37,000,000
12/5/2008 Frost/Nixon $180,708 $18,622,031 $26,870,381 $29,000,000
3/12/2010 Green Zone - - - -
12/31/2010 Lost for Words - - - -
12/31/2010 Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang - - - -
Totals $1,410,446,096 $4,309,726,686 $899,900,000
Averages $23,507,435 $71,828,778 $25,711,429

Some thoughts on the Digitisation effect

Across the Media A-Level, so at both AS and A2, the ever-growing issue of digital media, and what impact the digitisation of media is having on the industry (and culture more generally), is a central issue. When we look at British Cinema in AS, for example, this raises issues around how films are produced, distributed, exhibited ... and consumed.
So, Warp X is set up explicitly to foster the development of digital film-making (PRODUCTION) in the UK, which in general terms creates the prospect of more low-to-zero budget filmmakers entering the fray. Even comparatively high budget films, such as WT's Atonement, are being produced using digital film-making techniques. A quick look on Apple's web pages for Final Cut shows you just how many major productions, not just Indie efforts, are switching to digital film-making, and editing through software which once would have been a step down from industry level.
Distribution of movies becomes potentially much cheaper, as film prints (costing millions for any hit movie) become obsolete; a portable hard drive can be used instead - the problem being the lack of digital projectors in cinemas as of 2009! See The wiki on this notes:
Digital distribution of movies has the potential to save money for film distributors. A single film print can cost around US$1200[citation needed] (or $30,000 for a 1-time print of an 80-minute feature[8]), so making 4,000 prints for a wide-release movie might cost $5 million. In contrast, at the maximum 250 megabit-per-second data rate (as defined by DCI for digital cinema), a typical feature-length movie could fit comfortably on an off the shelf 300 GB hard drive—which sell for as little as $40 (retail price, volume prices are even lower) and can even be returned to the distributor for reuse after a movie's run. With several hundred movies distributed every year, industry savings could potentially reach $1 billion or more.
What this doesn't say, however, is that marketing costs remain, and without the clout and financial muscle of the big 6 especially, able to secure expensive advertising and favourable puff-pieces in the press and on TV in return for some access to their stars, Indie distributors continue to be at a huge disadvantage. Cinema chains are also discouraged from looking much further than the big 6, as EasyJet's Stelios found. Viral marketing is a possibility here of course...
Bringing us to the use of the web for exhibition, and consumption. This is potentially a great leveller; if the terrestrial TV channels are closed off, why not try the likes of Propellor TV? Or a MySpace page? Or YouTube? Or just straight-to-DVD using some of these as marketing platforms? Although we talk about you always thinking of yourselves as hypothetical film-makers, operating in the real media industry,for the purposes of your blogs and the marking of these, in effect you already are! The Co-Op Festival, for example, wasn't a mirage! Many of you have posted your work on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites, and we've even seen copies of Twis'hite changing hands for actual money!.
For the big boys, though, this brave new world of cheap production, distribution and exhibition isn't viewed so brightly...they continue to dominate largely through this rather crass tentpole strategy; churning out high-budget spectacle movies which prioritise SFX over narrative, the recent Terminator Salvation and Transformers films being 'good' examples of these appalling character traits! It remains to be seen whether the much-hyped upcoming James Cameron project, Avatar, is more like Terminator 2 (technology married to a great narrative and convincing performances) or the 3rd and 4th installments of the franchise - which is now up for sale, if you have a few million burning a hole! Any democratisation of the film industry is straightforwardly a nightmare vision for them. Colin, the £45-budget (not a typo!) Brit-zombie flick (maybe you'll see a similar story about a Mr E. Clark before too long?!), is everything they fear. Blurring the lines between audience/consumers and producers is an exciting prospect (strike that; its a reality - look at the various YouTube re-workings of any hit movie; we've looked at Bridget Jones spoofed as a political thriller for instance), but not one that necessarily ensures the ongoing domination of these lumbering great conglomerate giants.
Can they even get us to pay?! BitTorrent and similar file-sharing technologies are used by most of your generation to some extent, leading folk your age to grow up with the at least partial expectation that you can access media for free. The big boys are trying to fight back through iTunes, and more specialist ventures such as Hulu, but could well be going the same way as the music business, which has seen profits plummet since Napster brought the prospect of free music to the world. The court case against The Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent search engine, seems to be an indication that the industry is determined to use the courts to combat online piracy, despite many commentators viewing this as pointless, futile and possibly even counter-productive. New laws have been proposed by the current government following high-profile lobbying by the film biz. You can see a range of articles on this here.
The reason I wrote this was simply being recommended watching a lecture... Exciting stuff I know, but you would benefit hugely from watching the lecture, described as follows:
Anthony Lilley, recently appointed by The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice as a Visiting Professor, delivers his inaugural lecture: Paying Attention: the changing value of media in the Internet age.
I haven't had time, yet, to watch, so perhaps you could comment with some observations based on your own viewing of it, and what can be learned from it!!!


Empire magazine critic Angie Errigo makes an interesting defence of the state of modern movie-making against claims that its filled with mega-budget tat that ignores narrative in favour of sheer spectacle (Inside Empire (2009) "They do make 'em like they used to", pp. 18-19).
A voice and a vision, and a reluctance to do what is expected are what's wanted in aspiring filmmakers. A-list stars and million-dollar explosions are completely optional if there's a story to be told, an emotion to be felt, a mood to be captured. Far from being a downbeat era of pap, these are wildly exciting times for all of us, rich with possibilities. Having entered the digital age with web access for all and an array of technology that gets cheaper by the minute, it's more possible than ever for movie brats to make their own productions and make them more ambitious and sophisticated than the Super 8 kids managed in their backyards. For every Hollywood film that costs upwards of $150 million, thousands of 'home movies' can be made and hundreds that are good to go in cinemas. It isn't naive to believe that 'talent will out'. The next Shane Meadows, Steve McQueen and Duncan Jones are out there at work within and without 'the System'.
 Super 8 is an old-fashioned format of video camera. If you've ever seen Son of Rambow imagine you were making your coursework with the same technology, a VHS video camera and two VHS machines linked up for editing (no digital technology at all, no computers even!).

ADDITION 8.3.2010
A lecture from UKFC on digitisation in film

The article this is taken from contains strong language; cult TV writer Karl Sutter writes, in a piece in which he bemoans the fate of his own movie project being stuck in development hell:
The world is in a media/content upheaval. Digital has changed the game. Everyone is grasping at what they thing might be the next big thing (that handful of WTF was the major reason for the WGA and SAG strike). But the truth is no one f*****g knows. TV, internet, movies -- it changes every day. The good news is that no matter what it looks like, how, when or where they get it, people want entertainment. So there will always be a need for content -- writers, directors, actors. [asterisks added by DB]