Friday, 6 May 2016

Marketing Comparison in different Countries

Mad Max: Fury Road

          Official UK Poster

                      Official USA Poster

Official UK Trailer

Official USA Trailer


Thursday, 28 April 2016

AS Essential Revision

1. Star Wars The Force Awakens (2015) Dir. J.J. Abrams

Producer - 

Kathleen Kennedy
J. J. Abrams
Bryan Burk

Director -

J. J. Abrams


Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures


Harrison Ford - Han Solo
Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia 
Adam Driver - Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley - Rey


$306 million (gross)
$245 (net)


Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland 
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Greenham Common / Lake District, England & Scotland UK
New Mexico & California USA
Pinewood Studios, England UK



Friday, 22 April 2016

January 2012 Essay

January 2012

To what extent does digital distribution affect the marketing and consumption of media products in the area of media you have studied?

Distribution is part of the third section of the supply chain film process and is often referred to as the Invisible Art. Digital distribution is in the form of the future and the fast growing development of technology and easy accessible online distribution. 

Two films which I have been studying are Mad Max Fury Road an American blockbuster directed by George Miller and Ex Machina a small independent British film directed by Alex Garland. Both films are successful but in different ways. Mad Fury Road is more profitable as it had a larger budget and a bigger crew team, it cost $150 million to produce and turned over $374 million at the box office. Ex Machina only made $36.9 million with a budget if $15 million. Ex Machina is a success in response to it's Britishness being unpredictable, the product would appeal to older film aficionados as it contains full frontal nudity where as Mad Max Fury Road aims to target a larger and older audience who enjoy continuous action.

The marketing of Mad Max was expensive costing them $7 million on TV advertising and an extra $4.37 million from Warner.Bros who helped them to advertise. Their image of advertising was going all out and targeting a wide market, by creating posters, turning an F1 car into a Mad Max car which looked rusty, and releasing constant video teasers, the first released on the 10th of December 2014. They spent a large amount of money on advertising because they were targeting their product at a wide audience who were the typical mainstream audience who like predominant action scenes and car chases. Ex Machina on the other hand was successful due to minimalistic advertising which heavily reflects their films context. They made social media their central focus point and made an app where you could have your face drawn by Eva (the artificial intelligence in the film), also a fake Tinder account was created which pretended to be an attractive 25 year old woman who was actually the actress who was playing the AI (Ava) in the film (Alicia Vikander), and was speaking to men who were then tricked and were directed to an Instagram page which was promoting Ex Machina. This was only done in Austin America which in comparison to other film marketing covers a very small proportion of the US. They relied heavily on self-promoting, receiving extra kudos from their fans spreading the excitement for them. The films advertising is almost parallel to its content, for example, the way in which fans were 'tricked' by the App symbolises the same process in the film where Caleb is 'tricked' into believing that he has been randomly selected to win a trip to the CEO of the company he works for. Advertising was also very minimalistic and simple but effective, this is the same in relation to the film as it is slow paced and simplistic where action is kept to a minimum, yet Ex Machina is perceived by a small part of the viral market as unique and a fantastic film, this shows how much of a successful part digital distribution has had on impacting the profitability of these films.

Distributing and exchanging a film with it's targeted audience has become a significant development over the past few years with the introduction of online internet streaming like Netflix and Amazon prime which offer audiences the chance to watch a film in their own homes through 'streaming' it, many fans have used this service to re watch a film after watching it in the cinema, this has generated extra sales for the film industry. Films can also now be downloaded online, which a lot of fans do 'illegally', Mad Max Fury Road was one of the most pirated films (in the top five) in 2015 and had 22.90 million shares on the torrent network. The film had 1.75 million pirated downloads over summer. Blu-ray also been another successful technological development in the exchanging process of a film, Mad Max Fury Road generated 48% of its second week sales from Blue-ray and remained on top of both national home video sales charts for two consecutive weeks. The success of this film has clearly been achieved through alternative methods of exchange like Blue-ray and online downloads which has caused the distribution of the film industry to become bigger and more profitable that ever before. Mad Max Fury Road is also set to release a console video game based of the film series in 2015 which shows how the film has become a success even a year after the original exchanging methods. Ex Machina was distributed unexpectedly and increased slowly in popularity, the product was distributed by Universal Pictures, and was released by piggy backing onto the Avengers ending excitement which then helped Ex Machina to increase it's screens. It was originally released on four US screens, and after a few weeks managed to increase to 1200 screens. A week after Avengers came out it was showing on 2000 screens with a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Mad Max went straight out and came out in 2D and was re mastered into 3D on Imax. Neither Mad Max Fury Road or Ex Machina are four quadrant as they are both rating 15+.

The development of digital distribution is creating a huge success in the film industry and helping films to reach a wider audience upon consumption. This is however giving films with a larger budget (typically action/adventures) an advantage over the smaller independent film companies as they can afford to produce more marketing material and dominate the industry, giving film goers less choice and more of the same. But the new advances in distribution could have a greater benefit to small companies, if the online methods remain cheaper and easier to produce.

Digital Dustribution

Why does Steve McQueen think digital is replacing film?
“All this technology, it’s changing every five minutes,” he says, “because someone’s making some money out of it.”

Which studio was first to announce that it would no longer make films using 'film'?
Paramount Pictures

What was the last 'film' to be shipped on 'film'?
Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues

What proportion of US cinemas have made the switch from 35mm to digital?
Nine out of ten US movie screens have now made the switch from 35mm film to digital.

What was the first 'major' film to be distributed in digital format only?
The Wolf of Wall Street 

What is the average cost of a digital projector?
Typically cost between $60,000 and $150,000 each.

Why has the switch to digital meant that small independent cinemas have struggled?
Independent film-makers still need rich patrons and the number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably

Which major Hollywood director has attempted to make a stand for digital film?
Christopher Horak

How much did the US box office make in 2014
A record $11bn

How much did the home entertainment market (DVD, BluRay, Download etc) in 2014?
Revenues of $18bn

What was the increase in home entertainment revenue due to?
50 per cent surge in downloads of digital HD formats, which surpassed $1bn for the first time.

What was the first film to be shot entirely on digital?
In 2002,Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones became the first major movie to be shot entirely on digital video

What would have been the cost of shooting that film on digital?
If they had used the same amount of film, it would have cost them $1.8m.

How much does it cost to produce and ship a film to a US cinema?
To produce and ship a 35mm print to an American cinema costs about $1,500. Multiply that by, say, 5,000 prints for a big movie and it comes to $7.5m.
What is the distribution benefit of digital?
Digital distribution makes it feasible to launch a movie simultaneously on tens of thousands of screens across the planet

What happened to 'film' prints of Titanic?
Titanic reportedly played for so long in theatres that some prints fell apart in the projectors.

What has happened to the number of films made by Hollywood between 2006-2013?
The number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably – by 40 per cent between 2006 and 2013, according to one count.

Why, according to Jan-Christoph Horak, is digital NOT immortal?
“The problem, in a nutshell, is that there is no such thing as a digital preservation medium,” he explains. “There is no physical carrier on which you can put digital information that will last anywhere near as long as the analogue alternative.”

Why is advancing technology also a problem for digital storage?
When it comes to digital, archivists are faced with two problems. The first is the perishability of the physical equipment. The second is that every 18 months or so, a new file format comes along to displace its predecessors and, as a result of this constant upgrade cycle, archivists face a kind of Sisyphean dilemma.

How much, according to Jan-Christoph Horak, could transfering one form of digital to another cost the film industry?
Each leap in format costs between $10,000 and $20,000 per film, he says. He has roughly 350,000 films and television shows in his archive – a potential outlay of $3.5bn just for one leap between file types.

How much did the camera used on The Avengers cost?
Canon EOS 7D – an SLR camera that will fit in the palm of your hand and costs £900 to buy.

Apart from cost, what other benefits does digital offer to film makers?
Some argue that digital cameras can breed indiscipline on a film set.

How much has technicolour invested in digital post production?
The company has invested more than $200m in digital post-production and visual effects facilities

What is a DCP?
All of that has been replaced, for the time being at least, by something called DCP, or Digital Cinema Package. It involves a hard drive, roughly the size of a paperback, which is couriered to the theatre, where it is unpacked from its protective foam-lined case and slotted into a server that feeds a digital projector. For multiplexes showing new movies, the road map to DCP has been straightforward: the studios have been prepared to subsidise the switch, because it cuts their cost base so much.

What is the Electric Dusk drive-in?
The Electric Dusk drive-in in downtown Los Angeles has hit upon a solution of sorts: it shows films on DVD. It’s a kind of guerrilla operation – a pop-up drive-in in an abandoned marketplace, flanked by scenes of urban decay and boasting a giant inflatable screen. It opens for business once a fortnight or so. It specialises in 1980s and 1990s nostalgia; the night we visit, Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990) is showing. It’s a rare chance to experience an American rite that is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Christmas 50 - Textual Analysis And Representation

The seven areas of representation notes -

Age -

  • Many sub-categories are involved in age e.g. teens, children, infants, 30-something, middle-aged, elderly/pensioner.
  • Age is most commonly associated with binary opposites, where two opposing categories look at each other very different and are treated with different levels of respect etc. 
  • Consider Non-diegetic sound when analysing age as it can help to reflect and portray a certain age or group of people. 

Gender -

  • A patriarchal society is a key element of this area, where the male gender are seen to be more dominant than the female.
  • We are looking for binary opposites of strengths and weakness's, domestic / professional, emotional / unemotional.

Sexuality -

  • Oppositional gender attributes (a female male, masculine female)
  • Look at if a gay character is being stereotypically represented in day to day life as normal, or if they are given more power or are presented in an unusual way, weather that be how they dress, speak, act, or where they live and work.
  • Gay characters - often used for comedy (typical stereotype)
  • Lipstick lesbian - often used to attract the male gaze.

Ethnicity -

  • Religion is a key significance here, look out for religious leaders being negatively represented through the characters, and how non-religious characters are viewed more positively.
  • Look for binary oppositions in this category through the different believes, when they are in a place of worship etc.
  • Are ethnic groups viewed as having more in common than they do differences?

Physical Ability / Disability -

  • key significance is their invisibility.
  • dependence vs. independence - how are they portrayed, as weak and confused? or as a normal accepted character in the drama.
  • Sexuality is often ignored for disabled characters. - as in not important to know.

Social Class & Status -

  • This looks closely at urban vs. rural, clothing codes are also very important.
  • Comedy can be used a lot through the use of backwards class where they are looked down upon by their binary opposites, the more wealthy and educated.
  • Accents & language is another key feature of this category which is used to present specific groups in relation to others.

Regional Identity -

  • Mostly looking again at urban vs. rural and advanced vs. backwards.
  • Accents often signify backwards through the use of comedy.
  • The clothing code also is an important feature which can show a more sophisticated character or someone who is more tracksuit urban style.
  • Regional identity is often associated with class & status as they share similar characteristics.
Luther Representation Essay -

The male characters in the clip are seen predominantly through the use of close ups of their face, especially Luther and the victim on the floor who’s emotions can be seen as you see tears forming in their eyes and anger build up inside of them. The male gender is seen to have binary opposites at the start of the clip as Luther is seen holding a shotgun to the victim’s head who is seen through low angled camera shots which contrasts with high angled shots which are used to show Luther. The typical representation of the male gender is seen through the use of hand held camera work especially when the two males are fighting each other. This shows the typical chaotic brave male who tries to stand up for themselves when they feel like their status is being challenged. However when Luther is stabbed by the opposing male his dominance is lost which can be seen through the transition of angles as Luther is now viewed through high angled shots whilst the other male is seen through low angled shots. An over the shoulder two shot is used when the female appears looking from behind the white male’s back. This is repeatedly used to resemble the male feeling scared and uncomfortable, where in contrast no over the shoulder shots are used to show the female looking at the male; this reinforces the unusual representation of females which we see in the clip. She challenges the typical representation of a female as she is holding a gun which resembles power and dominance which is usually controlled by the male; however Luther has lost that control which the female seems to keep hold of. A slow panning to the right is used when Alice the female character is on screen which could resemble her calm controlled attitude towards the situation in contrast to how the male gender is seen through frantic movement of the camera which zooms in on the action between the male characters.

Fast paced cutting between the faces of the male characters is used to capture the build of tension between the characters. In contrast to this when ‘Alice’ the female character appears and the other male ‘mark’ a cut away is to used to take the focal point away from the distress of Luther who is on the floor bleeding out and to introduce the female character who seems to have a large presence when she enters which suggests her authority and dominance over the other characters, especially Luther who is rescued by her which symbolises an unusual representation. The continuity of the clip is not clear from the start however becomes apparent as the situation unravels between the two male characters at the start. A clear cut from shot to shot is seen throughout as the tension reaches a climax and Luther strangles the white male victim. This is followed by the slow entrance of the female which brings the fast paced action to a short pause whilst she begins to speak.

The clip begins with non-diegetic sound where a slow instrumental soundtrack is played which starts to build suspense between the two male genders. This is then enhanced by the addition of a loud drumming beat which begins to start to increase after the line ‘Come on John’, this represents a typical representation of the male gender as they are seen to fight and want to try to assert their power wherever possible. Every time there is a sudden movement in combat between the two males, a loud non-diegetic drum sound is played to add to the suspense and climax. For example where Luther puts his hands around the white male and strangles him and when Luther is stabbed through the stomach.
The calm non- diegetic instrumental music is re-introduced when Alice the female character enters, this suggests she has authority and power as she remains calm and draws the attention of the male
characters. A non-diegetic soundtrack of a song with lyrics which is relaxed and loud then starts to play when the male is shot by the female character, this releases the tension between the characters slightly and suggest the female has chosen what to do in the situation and has the moral high ground over the male gender. Diegetic sound of the male characters conversation is constantly heard throughout the clip, where they are shouting in much distress, when they are in trouble or when one becomes frustrated by the other male. This suggests the male gender is not inferior or more powerful than the female gender as both males can’t control one another.

The location of the clip is unclear until one quarter of the way through when Luther raises a gun to the white males head. The location is a quite train station where there are no trains or people except the four characters which suggests it is closed or has abandoned. It could be a secret location which the three detectives have arranged to interrogate a suspect. The three detectives all are wearing long coats and look smartly dressed in warm outdoor clothes, this includes the female gender. In contrast the suspect on the floor at the start is wearing a grey jacket, a blue shirt and a grey tie who doesn’t seem as smartly dressed as the other characters. There is a shotgun in the clip which originally is held by Luther the black male however is then picked up by Alice the female character who uses it to kill the suspect. This is a countertype against the typical representation of females as she holds the final decision and the power in the group. The three detectives all have very smart tidy haircuts whilst the suspect has long untidy hair which looks less maintained. This suggests his status amongst the group is lower and less powerful. The female character is the clip wears black gloves however neither of the males do and are all seen with their bare hands, this follows a typical representation of the male gender they are seen to the brave gender which want to seem stronger and more dominant in a situation than the female gender. However this is not the case in this situation as Alice becomes the holder of the gun which could be used to symbolise control.


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Audience & Institution Notes - Festive 50

The 7 Concepts -

• The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;

The depth and range of ownership across a range of media and the consequences of this ownership for audiences in terms of the genres and budgets for films. 

• The importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;

- Digital technology is enabling various media to converge in hubs, platforms and devices.
- Media convergence is having an enormous impact on the film industry because of the ways in which institutions can produce and market for audiences/users on a widening range of platforms, capable of receiving their films.
- Synergies can come out of an organisation's size; smaller media organisations such as Channel 4 can-cross promote their films, etc. but the scale of cross-media promotion is nowhere near as great as that which can be gained by massive media organisations.

• The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;

- The audience's ability to interact with films by, for instance, using digital technology to put extracts on You Tube and overlay new sound tracks on them, etc. and make answering videos has been greatly enhanced by Web 2.0; Film studios can make films using CGI, greenscreen and other special effects that were impossible to make only a few years ago. 
- The ways of filming and editing films have changed, too, with the introduction of digital film and film cameras, editing software, laptops, digital projectors, etc. Distributors market films using the latest software for designing high-concept film posters and trailers.

• The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences;

- This means the increase of something: i.e. digital cameras, software, CGI, 3D films, film genres, etc. which are part of current trends.

• The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;

- This is a WEB 2.0 issue and how technology is coming together in hubs like laptops is one of the features of our age; the mobile phone in your pocket is a great example of technological convergence: it can do so much more than a simple phone call; think how this is affecting film making at the production, marketing and exhibition stages? The Internet is acting as a hub for many aspects of film: you will find film posters, YouTube videos on films, interviews, trailers, official film and blog websites, etc. on it. 
- Audiences can also remake their own films by creating extracts and running new scores over them and then posting them on YouTube. This often leads to answering videos, never mind the comments, etc. that people make on such sites. 
- The internet, film and videos games seems to be converging in so many ways. People can watch films in a range of ways, using an astonishing range of hardware and software. They can also find audiences of their own. This amounts to free publicity for film institutions for their films and "A Long Tail" sales into the future through endless exchange.

• The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;

- "Slumdog Millionaire" was originally aimed at Asian audiences living in various parts of the UK and also at Danny Boyle fans. The film's unexpected success at film festivals and being nominated for the Oscars led to another theatrical release and a crossover from the "indy" art-house into the mainstream. 

- British film makers often make social realism films and aim them at local and regional audiences whereas this would never be enough for the major media players who tend to make high budget, high concept films. 
- They have boutique offshoots who make and often distribute lower budget films, aimed at more high brow audiences. Disney's Mirimax and Fox's Fox Searchlight are examples of such boutique, art-house film distribution.

• The ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour;

- How you consume films whether it is as a social activity after visiting a shopping centre or on an MP4 player or Playstation, is what is at issue here. 
- In an age of falling DVD sales, home cinema and an increase in downloading for both music and film audiences are changing in how they want to consume film. Identify trends and consider where the audience trends are going in the near future.

Film Distribution

  • Distribution, the third part of the film supply chain, is often referred to as 'the invisible art', a process known only to those within the industry, barely written about and almost imperceptible to everyone else.
  • Distribution is about releasing and sustaining films in the market place. In the practice of Hollywood and other forms of industrial cinema.
  • Distribution and exhibition operate most effectively when 'vertically integrated', where the three stages are seen as part of the same larger process, under the control of one company. In the UK, distribution is very much focused on marketing and sustaining a global product in local markets.
  • In the independent film sector, vertical integration does not operate so commonly. Producers tend not to have long-term economic links with distributors, who likewise have no formal connections with exhibitors. Here, as the pig-in-the-middle, distribution is necessarily a collaborative process, requiring the materials and rights of the producer and the cooperation of the exhibitor to promote and show the film in the best way possible. In this sector, distribution can be divided into three stages - licensing, marketing and logistics.
Wide Release 
  • The most common release pattern, in which the film is released nationally in all markets. This is the pattern used by the majors, since this type of release pattern requires a heavy investment in prints and national advertising, which while having reach into all markets, is expensive.
  • With a wide release, the producers and distributors can realize revenues to recoup their investment in a shorter time period (provided that the film is successful).
  • Finally, revenues from DVD sales can also be realized faster from a quickly-executed theatrical release (the shorter the time period between the theatrical release and the DVD release, the greater the potential for DVD income).
The Modified Wide Release
  • The film will open in a few major markets and expand week by week to build awareness and allow positive word-of-mouth reputation to develop. 
  • This type of release would initially be supported spot advertising (advertising in a specific geographical area, such as a city) and may move to national advertising once it expands to other markets.
Exclusive and Limited Runs
  • Exclusive and limited runs begin with engagements at a limited number of screens, traditionally in large urban areas, such as Toronto.
  •  Based on favourable reviews and positive word-of-mouth, the film may move slowly to additional theatres. 
  • This release pattern is almost always used for upscale 'art-house' or foreign films and may be part of a platforming strategy, where critical acclaim in an important market will assist in providing momentum for a wide release.
Territorial Saturation ( a territory is an geographical area in which the film is released, i.e. Europe, the UK, USA, etc.)
  • Territorial saturation involves saturating a territory with bookings, heavy advertising and promotion, before moving on to another territory. 
  • This method would be used for films tailored to specific markets. In Canada, this would be seen with French-language films, which primarily would be well-received only in Quebec. It is also used by independent distributors for exploitation or family movies.
Universal Release 
  • The film is released in several countries on the same day. For instance a major blockbuster is sometimes released in the USA and the UK on the same date.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Mr Smith's Festive 50 Work - Additional Star Wars Questions

Pre Production And The Big Six

1.How much did Disney pay to acquire the rights to Star Wars from Lucas Film?
$4.05bn (£2.5bn).
2. Which other major studios franchises did Disney acquire in 2006 and 2009 respectively?
Pixar studios for $7.4bn in 2006 and Marvel comics for $4.2bn in 2009.
3. Why did Josh Dickey believe Disney was a good fit for Star Wars?
Josh thinks that Disney is so good at branding and brands and good at working with existing intellectual property and making it resonate with fans and marketing it very well.

"I think if you bring together the minds from Pixar [and] the minds from Disney, the news that Disney is going to reboot Star Wars was a lot more exciting to fans than just 'there's gonna be another Star Wars'."

4. When did the UK introduce generous tax relief for the film industry?

5. How much has Disney earned in tax rebates since 2007?
6. How many people were employed at Pinewood Studios when working on Star Wars The Force Awakens?
They employed almost 130 staff at Pinewood Studios at a cost of £6m.
7. What is Matthew Vaughan's criticism of the UK's tax arrangement (include the full quotation)?
“I think it’s crazy that we subsidise British movies with tax breaks but we don’t get any of that money back. We’re subsidising Hollywood. We’re service providers. We’re not an industry.”
8. How much was Harrison Ford paid to reprise his role as Han Solo?
$25 million.
9. How much money must the film make before its stars earn 'back end bonuses'? (A back end bonus is when an actor agrees to take a lower fee for starring in a film in return for a share of any profit a film makes over an agreed figure.)
$1 billion worldwide.

Distribution And Marketing

10. How much did the Force Awakens take globally on its opening weekend?

$529m globally.
11. Which 5 major companies have signed tie in deals with the film?
Pepsi, Burger King, M&MS/Mars, Hasbro and Kellogg’s are all signed up for the tie-in frenzy.
12. How was the White House linked with the film?
White House news conferences have been attended by imperial stormtroopers and the president himself got a special White House screening.
13. The article states "only finite resources for a movie like The force Awakens are screens and seats: you cannot force four buttocks onto one movie seat." What solution have cinemas dreamt up to cope with this problem?
Increasing the number of available screenings. The Force Awakens is being seen at weird, sci-fi-like times of the day – 3am! 5am! – in as many as eight screens per multiplex, forcing other movies into split screenings and smaller, pokier rooms.

14. How many screens are being used for saturation play (placing a film on virtually every screen in a cinema)?
Saturation play is on around 2,500 screens in the UK and Ireland, at 670 cinemas.
15. What is the % rise in box office takings thanks to Star Wars?
512% rise on the previous frame.
16. How is the box office split between 2D, 3D and IMAX?
54% of box office in 2D, 36% in 3D and 10% in Imax.

17. How many mentions has the film had on Weibo?
700,000 mentions since the start of December.
18. When does the film open in China?
9 January 2016.
19. How was the film promoted to China in October 2015?
Disney studios flew in an army of 500 stormtroopers to line up on the Great Wall of China as giant billboards flashed with the message “The Force Awakens” in Chinese and fans waved red and blue lightsabers.
20. What other marketing strategy has been used?
The studio hired pop star Lu Han to introduce trailers, with the singer’s band EXO contributing the single Lightsaber.