The Modern Blockbuster
Steven Spielberg (American New Wave director/Auteur) filmed his blockbuster Jaws
in 1975. The success of the book and the film began to show the possibility of mass-produced entertainment and gave film a legitimacy through popular culture. There were few film programs in colleges and schools at this time. You may recall Spielberg's other work (mostly blockbusters, like Jaws
). After the Blockbuster phenomenon, film gained much attention (and money).
Writers like Michael Crichton and Stephen King became quite wealthy as popular authors since so many people went to see the movies based on their books. Now, bestsellers almost always get made into films as a way to capitalize on profits (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter
, for example). Stan Lee is also doing nicely as every year or so another Marvel superhero movie leads the summer blockbuster scene. Here are a few of Spielberg's films:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
George Lucas, on the other hand, created the single most influential film in the 1970's with his space opera (part IV) of the seminal Star Wars
(1978). Both Jaws
and Star Wars
became the first two films to make more than $100 million, rocketing both directors into fame!
Raiders of the Lost Ark
In 1982 the film Tron
(1982) effectively used CGI for its special effects. Since then CGI has been married to the Hollywood Blockbuster.
(1973) (same author as Jurassic Park:
The Black Hole
(1979) (VO by Orson Welles)
As you might note, CGI greatly improved the sci-fi genre.
Now, the goal of Hollywood remains to produce a blockbuster film. These are traditionally action-packed epics chock-full of CGI and special effects. Many films also are mass produced so that even if the film fails at the box office, the production company can make back a loss by selling the music tracks, toys, or DVD's.
Recent blockbusters include:
The Avengers: Infinity War
Blockbusters 2017: 15 Blockbusters
Star Wars: Rogue One
(2016) ($1 billion and counting...)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(2015) (over $2 billion; film grossed $1 billion in 12 days...)
(2015) 652.3 Million
(2009) $2,782,275,172 Billion
(1997) $2,185,246,990 Billion
(2012) $552.7 Million (and counting)
The Dark Knight
(2008) $533 Million
(2002) $403.7 Million
(1982) $359.2 Million (see clip above)
(1993) $357.1 Million
(1994) $329.7 Million
Top 100 Box Office Blockbusters of All Time
It pays to be a producer!
And for perspective, some top films that flopped:
(2015) loss of $200 Million
(2013) loss of $151 Million
(1995) loss of $147 Million
(2004) loss of $146 Million (we lost the battle as well)
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
(2002) loss of $145 Million
(2015) loss of $130-150 Million
Worst Films of 2018
Now it's your turn. Using the worksheet, create a short treatise for a film and pitch it in the COMMENT section of this blog. If you had as much money as you needed, what film idea would you pitch and how might it appeal to all audiences (all classes, regions, races, genders, and ages)? Give your pitch
a title and describe what the film would be about.
What is a Film Pitch and How is it Different from a Film Treatment?
is used to convince a film company to produce your film. The pitch is usually a one page summary of the main action, characters, and setting of the film. Essentially it deals with the idea.
The film treatment is usually a longer document (some can be up to 50 pages) that tells the whole story presented in your pitch, focusing on the highlights. It is more detailed than a pitch. It can include a scene by scene breakdown of a script. It is used BEFORE writing the real script so the author can plan his/her project.
How To Write a FILM PITCH
What Should Be in the Pitch?
1. A Working title
2. The writer's name
3. What is the genre of the film? Who is the target AUDIENCE for this film?
4. How much will the film cost to make (approx.)?
5. Introduction to key characters (Who is the story going to be about?) What actors/actresses do you see playing the roles of these characters in the film? Go ahead and suggest famous actors if you like to help your producers "see" what talent your film will attract in Hollywood.
6. Who, what, when, why and where. (What settings, important plot events, characters, and other key features will your film show us?) Mention what kinds of special effects, or special aspects of your film idea. Why will people pay to see "your" movie?
Then tell us more about your film idea/story. Assume we haven't chucked you out of our office.
7. Act 1 in one paragraph (3-5 sentences...). Set the scene, dramatize the main conflicts. 8. Act 2 in one paragraph. Act 2 should dramatize how the conflicts introduced in Act 1 lead to a crisis.
9. Act 3 in one paragraph. Dramatize the final conflict and resolution. Make sure you tell us the ending of your story!
10. Finally, tell us why this story should be made into a film. Why make this film? Help your producers "see" why they should give you money to back your film idea.
Your film pitch is due by next class if you did not complete your pitch during period 1. Any link you missed today, please watch and take notes on key ideas as homework. (See below).
Period 2: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Directed by Steven Spielberg
and musical score by John Williams
has grossed over 390 million dollars, spawned a variety of sequels
, books, transmedia, and videogames. Lawrence Kasdan
wrote the screenplay based on George Lucas
' story (he was also the executive producer with Howard Kazanjian
...). Actors Harrison Ford
, Karen Allen
, Paul Freeman
, John Rhys-Davies
, Denholm Elliott
, and a young Alfred Molina
star in the film, among others. The film won a variety of Academy Awards including Best Sound Design, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Riding on the popularity of Jaws
, and Star Wars
, Lucas wanted to create a comic book-like action film to rival the James Bond films. He was inspired by early film serials (one-reelers with a continuing story arc) and his vision predated the contemporary comic book action film (Superman
, Guardians of the Galaxy
Let's take a look.
HOMEWORK: If you did not complete and post your Blockbuster pitch (see above) please complete this by next class. If you did not take notes or complete the viewing of trailers from this section/post, please do so by Friday. Note the sample script as reference/models of script writing and finish reading the chapters on the Blockbuster and CGI by Friday as well.