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Great Influence Of Hollywood To World Cinema Media Essay

No country, whether we are willing to admit or not, could compete with Hollywood of the United States in movies in the previous decades. As a location where movies are produced, Hollywood, with its own advantages, has got the first place in the market of world movie and influences world cinema greatly.

To study its influence, it is necessary to get the reason why it gets such power to impact other countries. Actually there are two major factors. Some may be the healthy development of American cinema; the other the first is the unique view on films in Hollywood. Due to both of these factors, Hollywood could lead world cinema in culture as well as economy for a long period. Now the influence is rather more serious because of its incomparable advantages. They are the support from the powerful economy of the United States, its mature movie commercial system, its huge transnational media groups and rich experience in distribution.

There are two major factors that made Hollywood the guts of world movie. The first factor is the healthy development of American cinema. In 1889, the fantastic inventor Thomas Edison invented phonograph. However the movie made at that time can only be observed by one individual through the hole. On December 28, 1895, the Lumiere brothers showed their own short movies Arrival of any Train at La Ciotat, The Sprinkler Sprinkled, Exiting the Factory for the first time on the globe. Out of this day, cinema, as a new form of art started its rapid development.

The period between 1895 and 1927 is called the "silent period" since there is no sound in movies. However they became longer and more technical. Montage was invited and employed by some pioneering directors like Gorge Melies from France, David Griffith from the united states and Sergei M. Eisenstein from the USSR. It was during this time period that movies came to America. Cinema initially was a low budget form. Movies were hardly publicized, ran for under a minute, with no special effects, lighting, camera movement or even editing. They could be exhibited by a person with a projector, a sheet, and perhaps some shelter for the audience.

From the 1900s, the movie industry started out to thrive. Small cinemas emerged in large numbers. By 1908, there were already 10, 000. In 1925, the number of cinema in America rose to 20, 000. Some could hold at most 7, 000 people. There was an enormous domestic market for American filmmakers which include not only the domestic market of the United States, but also those of Canada and the other American countries in the eyes of Americans. After the industry was established, this could virtually ensure profitability. Major costs were involved in producing the "master copy" but thereafter prints were relatively cheap to make and distribute. Indeed it is often suggested that the relatively late entry of American films into world competition is due to the quantity of profit, which was still busily being made in the huge market. Once that overseas entry was made, canny differential pricing adjustments for the consumer capacities of different markets enabled maximum overall profitability, combined with the application of standardized business practices, especially in neuro-scientific production and distribution. Within the thriving time, the guts of American cinema moved to Hollywood, LA. Hollywood was founded in 1888 by Horvey Henderson Wilcox and his wife, Daeida Hartell Wilcox. It had been Daeida who selected the name after she met a female on a train whose summer residence in Illinois was called Hollywood. It had been during that year that Hollywood saw its first train. Years ago the land was originally inhabited by the friendly Cahuenga Indians.

Hollywood is found in the west coast of america, southern LA, California. Before World War I, movies were manufactured in several U. S. cities, but filmmakers gravitated to southern California as the industry developed. Since the ideal climate is good for year-round film-making. With benefits of plenty of sunlight, a huge variety of locations with mountains, sea, desert, cities available, less costly land for studio space and a cheap work force, Hollywood attracted many filmmakers and had a magical development in the next years.

From this we can easily see that the healthy development of American cinema set a good basis for the next success of Hollywood. This is actually the first factor of the worldwide influence of Hollywood movies on the film industry of the other countries.

The second factor that made Hollywood the capital of world movie is its unique judgment on movies. There is a classical line in Pretty Woman: "welcome to Hollywood˜What's your dream? Everybody comes here. That is Hollywood, the land of dream. Some dreams come true, some don't. But keep on dreaming. This is Hollywood, always time and energy to dream. So continue dreaming. "

To Americans Hollywood is a dream factory, a movie is a dream to them, making a movie is similar to realizing a dream. However the top officers in Hollywood now consider it more like a product. Economics has had theorized cinema. The studio system does strongly resemble other capitalist industries. The studio processes can be seen as the same as factory assembly lines, with workers focused on specialized tasks, the distribution of film prints as the equivalent of wholesale arrangements, and exhibition of the product in cinemas as the final, "retail" level.

The audiences for early cinema in the U. S. were largely consisting of low-income urban workers. These people had won for themselves in the latter area of the nineteenth century a reduced amount of working hours, without a fall in real income, and consequently an increase in leisure hours with least a minimal amount of money to invest with them. By about 1900, cinema's appeal for the coffee lover was as part of the city landscape, as brief respite for the laborer on his way home, as release from household drudgery for ladies. So early films were mainly designed to entertain ordinary people.

Since a movie is undoubtedly a product, the audience is the consumer and the whole procedure for making and selling a movie is a business. Filmmakers make all types of movies to entertain folks of different ages and from different social class. Everyone is able to choose the film he's willing to see in the cinema like selecting a bottle of beer in a supermarket or a coat in a shopping mall. This magical factory produces and sells entertainment which gives a refuge or Utopia for people to forget their burdens and trivials.

However, people in other countries think differently of movies. 1912, Richiodo Canudo, an Italian poet and pioneer of film, declared in his Le Septieme Art that the film was an art-form as well as architecture, music, painting, sculpture, poetry and dancing for the first time. Actually, art films are believed real films. With the goal of raising the taste of films as other kinds of art, a celebration of outstanding playwrights, directors and actors had worked together and created a great number of splendid movies in the movie history, such as Le Voyage Dan La Lune, Chapajev, The Bicycle Thief, Les Quature Cents Coups. Distinctive from the west, films in the east are being used to show and export its profound culture to the globe. For instance, our impression of a typical Indian film is invariably one star, six songs and three dances. If you want to know something about India, then go to see some Indian movies! Weather being regarded as an art-form or a means of displaying and exporting culture, cinema outside America has never genuinely drawn the interest of the mass.

Owing to its good basis and unique ideology, Hollywood could lead and influence world cinema for years.

II. The influence of Hollywood to world cinema in culture and economy

The influence of Hollywood to world cinema is mainly in two aspects: culture and economy.

In culture, Hollywood, which plays an important role in the cultural imperialism of the U. S. , tries to expand American model and values through exporting movies. Imperialism means the policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of financial and political hegemony over other nations. It's the practice of promoting, distinguishing, separating, or artificially injecting the culture or language of one nation into another. In other words, it is the domination of 1 culture on another. In relation to developing countries, cultural imperialism can be defined as the systematic penetration and domination of the cultural life of the popular classes by the ruling class of the West in order to reorder the values, behavior, institutions and identity of the oppressed peoples to conform with the interests of the imperial classes.

U. S cultural imperialism has two major goals, is economical and the other political, i. e. to fully capture markets for its cultural commodities and establish hegemony by shaping popular consciousness. The export of entertainment is one of the main resources of capital accumulation and global profits displacing manufacturing exports. In the political sphere, cultural imperialism plays a major role in dissociating people from their cultural roots and traditions of solidarity, replacing them with media created needs which change with every publicity campaign. The political effect is to alienate folks from traditional class and community bonds, atomizing and separating people from one another. Here I would like to talk about its first goal.

The principle target of cultural imperialism is the political and monetary exploitation of youth. Imperial entertainment and advertisement target teenagers who are most vulnerable to U. S. commercial propaganda. Youth represent a significant market for U. S. cultural export and they are most vunerable to the consumerist-individualist propaganda. The media manipulates adolescent rebelliousness and channeling discontent into consumer extravagances. Cultural domination can be an integral dimension to any sustained system of global exploitation.

Cultural imperialism has taken both traditional and modern forms. In the past centuries, the Church, educational system, and public authorities played a major role in inculcating native peoples with ideas of submission and loyalty in the name of divine or absolutist principles. While these "traditional" mechanisms of cultural imperialism still operate, new modern instrumentalities rooted in modern day institutions have become increasingly central to imperial domination. The mass media, publicity, advertisement and secular entertainers and intellectuals play a significant role today. Within the contemporary world, Hollywood, CNN and Disneyland tend to be more influential than the Vatican, or the Bible.

Cultural penetration is closely linked to politico-military domination and economic exploitation. U. S. military interventions to get the genocidal regimes in Central America which protect its economic interests are combined with strong cultural penetration. U. S. financed evangelicals invade Indian villages to inculcate messages of submission among the peasant-Indian victims. International conferences are sponsored for domesticated intellectuals to discuss "democracy and market". Escapist tv set programs and movies sow illusions from "another world". Cultural penetration is the extension of counter-insurgency warfare by non-military means.

Cultural imperialism can be found any place in Hollywood movies, for instance, Mission Impossible III. Its plot is very simple. Ethen Hunt was assigned a new mission soon after his engagement. He had to rescue someone in Berlin, then arrest others in Vatican and at last find his bride in Shanghai. The past step was the most crucial plot in the movie. According to your opinion, as the most influential modern city in China, Shanghai should have lots of skyscrapers and fashionable people. We desire to take advantage of Hollywood movie to share with the earth that China has made great progress in the past years. To your disappointment, the city in the film is merely like what it is in the 1930s:shabby houses, narrow lanes and old people in ragged clothes whispering folk songs. On the main one hand, the complete film was full of high technology and advanced weapons suggesting the strong economy and powerful military force of the US. The hero ran through the bullets fearlessly showing personalism advocated in the west. Alternatively, there was nothing new and attractive in Shanghai, but several rediculed Chinese public security. That is a typical example of cultural imperialism. Actually such phenomenon in western movies, especially in Hollywood movies is not rear.

Cultural imperialism in Hollywood movies does not only form the overlook of China, but also movies related to China. Hollywood has made a model for China, i. e. an old and poor country. Any movie where there is a modern China is doomed to fail. That is why films like Not One Less, THE STORYLINE of Qiu Ju had won worldwide acknowledgement throughout the world.

Besides, the American is often a "hero" on screens. In Patriot, which tells a story happened through the Civil War, the protagonist can be an American white "hero". He is honest, wise and brave. But in fact, the archetype of this "hero" killed lots of American Indians. Even some American scholars had criticized the propaganda of white American history. Such movies aren't rear. The greatest harm caused by them is making teenagers about the world confused about the annals of their own country. They prevent other countries from developing cultural identities for themselves. American expanism simply reinforces America's own powerful, yet provincial cinematic myths about itself, structured around terrifying misrecognitions and appallingly narcissistic fantasies harmful to everybody else in the global market. The worry about cultural imperialism of the United States dispersed in both developing and developed countries. The US of course will deny its expanism. It's been advocating "free market" and "Freedom of information" looking to protect its own profit in politics, economy and culture. Actually, it was successful.

Relying on its powerful economy, Hollywood not only expands its model and values but also exploit the box office of other countries through selling and spreading cultural products in the world movie market.

From 1920 onwards Hollywood could be based upon at least 35% of its gross income rising from foreign sources. Europe used to share equal status with America in world movie market. Between 1950 and 1975, the income of movies from America was $180 million, Britain, $80 million, France, $100 million, Italia, $120 million, other countries, $70 million. In resent years, the problem is quite different. In 1995˜the income of movies from America was $280 million, Britain, $60 million, France, $100 million, other countries, $20 million. The box office of Hollywood took up almost 75% of that in Europe. With the development of satellite and cable channel, at least 70% of films shown on TV in Europe were from America. The situation is comparable in Canada, Latin America, Australia and Asia. According to the report of Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 2000, American cinema attained $76. 6 billion at home and $60 billion abroad each year. Within the 4000 feature films stated in 1990s, Hollywood movies amounted to at most 1/10 while securing 70% of the world's box office. A recently available survey showed that overseas grosses on major hit pictures now constantly dwarf the domestic grosses.

With the introduction of digital technology, which can shorten the time difference between the premieres in two cities, Hollywood movies are worldwide spread by the explosive growth in the great amount of digital-cinema screens. To be a scholar said, it does not appear that American mass culture was imported. Hollywood has conquered the globe and the earth is becoming a planet of Hollywood.

World cinema has been changing since its birth. Each country has its own way of developing. But they have something in common, i. e. most of them have been impacted by Hollywood to some extent.

France is the cradle of world cinema. Several hundred years passed, a unique movie system, which is also its backbone of film industry has been formed. The "New wave" swept across France in 1985, bringing great changes in France and world movie. It was in the same year, Hollywood films began to plunder French audience. Hollywood attracted both the audience and movie talents in France. Most of them gave way to the temptation for Hollywood when that they had increased to fame in Europe. Actors that cannot speak English are believed as "futureless". Luc Besson, the representitive director of the new generation, is regarded as the hope of French cinema. But he at the same time is the most Americanized director. According to French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, "the Americans want to take care of us like they treated the Indians! If we are good they'll give us a reservation, they'll give us the Dakota hills. And if we stay quite, they'll give us another hill. " (Branston, 2006: 89) In order to deal with the serious situation, the federal government was forced to introduce the "Cultural exception", which explained that cultural exports should be treated differently than other goods in trade negotiations in the GATT negotiations in 1993 and put it into practice later.

The condition in another European country, Russia, is much more serious. Russian movies had won an important put in place the history of world movie by their artistry and deep thought. However, in resent years, these are filled with murders, pornography and violence. Learning from Hollywood brought energy to Russian cinema, but depart itself from the audience at the same time.

Now let us look at the other sphere of the earth.

Hong Kong has another name-Eastern Hollywood. Its movies have been extremely popular in Parts of asia, especially in southeastern Asia and Taiwan since 1950s. But from the Mid 1990s, its market commenced to shrink as Hollywood movies came in great numbers. Take Jurassic Park (1993) for example, its box office in Hong Kong was 60 million yuan as the box office of Flirting Scholar, which got the first place among Hong Kong movies, only exceeded 20 million yuan.

Hollywood not only exploited the box office, but also pressed its globalization in Hong Kong. As the symbol of Hong Kong spirit, Jackie Chan's films have shown increasingly more Hollywood style from Red Corner, Police Story IV-First Strike, Mr. Nice Guy and Who Am I. The success of Rush Hour in 1998 stablized his status in the west. After that his films became more westernized. Jackie Chan is not the representitive of Hong Kong any more. Maybe what he asked in Who Am I is the question Hong Kong should ask itself. When Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-fat and John Woo achieved fame in Hollywood, do they still participate in Hong Kong any longer? Are they one part of Hollywood movie industry?

There is a country that produces more films than America every year but still being threatened by Hollywood. This country is India. Located in Bomboy, the second city in India, Bollywood is the largest movie production base in this country. In 2006, the films produced in India amounted to 1091, more than 400 of them were manufactured in Bollywood. Consuming Hollywood, many Bollywood films were criticized for copying those of Hollywood. Investors, producers, filmmakers and distributors are all in a hurry to get returns, convinced that any film that sells well is a good film.

China's import of Hollywood movies dates back to the first days of the twentieth century. In 1946, more than 200 Hollywood movies could be seen in China. MGM and other seven giant movie companies even seek to take benefit of the Trade Contracts of Sino-U. S. A and monopolize China cinema. The occupation of Hollywood in Chinese market stopped after the foundation of People's Republic of China. Hollywood movies were completely rejected before end of 1970s because of the reform and open policy. Although the federal government restricted enough time for projecting imported films, ten foreign films (many of them were from America), could obtain 60% of the box office in China by 1/3 of the projecting time. Following the entry in to the WTO, American movies swarmed in, regarding China as the next Europe. Weather Hollywood movies could depart China from local consciousness and responsibility, Hollywood is absolutely a threat to the movie market in China.

Our neighbors Japan and Korea had been facing with similar problems. In 1980s, 80% of the Korea movie market in Korea was seized by Hollywood. The proportion in Japan once even reached 90%.

III. The features of Hollywood

The influence of Hollywood to world cinema is continuing due to its incomparable advantages.

First of all, counting on the powerful economy of the United States, Hollywood industry had a magical development. It offers plenty of capital to invite the most well-known directors and actors, apply the most advanced technology to make blockbusters. Then it brings American popular culture into other cultures, affecting the audience and the movie style they love. Annual Oscar even set the criterion for the judgment of world movie. Oscar, the Academy of FILM Arts and Sciences gross annual award, is now the most recognized award on the globe. It was organized in 1927 when a dinner was held in the Crystal Ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. As of this dinner they discussed ways to honor outstanding achievements and to encourage higher levels of quality in all areas of film production. Filmmakers from all countries desire to get an Oscar because of its influence to world cinema. If the film is acknowledged by Oscar, it will mostly be welcomed by the whole world and therefore get yourself a good box office. Its success as symbolic of achievement in filmmaking would probably amaze its creators, Cedric Gibbons and George Stanley. As a matter of fact, they may be so prized that in 2000, only a few weeks prior to the Academy Awards, the Oscars were stolen while they were being shipped from Chicago. These were recovered seven days later, but not before some nerve-wracking days had passed.

Beside the nice environment, Hollywood itself has a mature industrial system. The movie is a cultural production and audiences are therefore best understood as simply a mass of consumers in Hollywood. Movies are produced for the huge US domestic market as well as overseas market. As an American historian said, "in the annals of Hollywood cinema, there are three key phrases: producing, distributing and projecting. " The development of Hollywood is not smooth. Hollywood has truly gone through two world wars, the cold war, the big depression and the unprecedented challenge from television. Among the difficulties, dealing with the challenge from television set accelerated the maturation of Hollywood movie industry. After WWII, most people became reluctant to go to cinemas to see something that were like this on television. So the low budget form was little by little replaced by bigger budgeted movies, i. e. blockbusters. This word hails from metropolis queues across the block for a movie, sign of its success in the studio era. Jaws (a watershed movie and the first blockbuster), The Godfather, Spiderman, The Lion King, Pearl Harbor, all participate in this kind. The best successful one must be Titanic, which cost more than $2 billion and secured $17 billion. It broke many records in the annals of Hollywood and was really a miracle. Patrick Sakings, psychotherapist, is reported as saying that Titanic had challenged the belief that today's all powerful consumer society is "unsinkable". This kind of movie uses digital technology, especially FX. The introduction of digital special FX, at both visual and aural levels, helps determine, and its own forms become determined by, the growing popularity of science fiction (SF) action movies from the 1980s. By using digital special FX, filmmakers can create tremendous, magical, and traditional scenes, giving the audience a completely different feeling from that of television. Some blockbuster films often cost around the gross national products of many poor countries. They can no more be regarded as single commodities. They will be the anchors to huge franchises, lying at the center of your network of commercial activities, hits which is often systematically reproduced, profitably fragmented and marketed over the parent company's other conglomerate holdings. (Branston, 2006: 39) A few of them (like the James Bond films and Star Wars series) are now themselves referred to as "franchises". They are launched simultaneously on thousands of screens, with publicity campaigns almost as large as the production budgets themselves, and are re-experienced of even pre-experienced though endless tie-in merchandising, which both underwrites and links itself to the prestige of the mega-budget movie event. Confronted with the task from television, filmmakers in Hollywood not only produced blockbusters, but also established an effective relationship with it companies, producing "films for TV" and serials, and releasing TV rights to their backlog of films. In 1960 the united states networks started showing feature films in prime time.

Another incomparable advantage of Hollywood is the possession of eight transnational media groups. They developed from eight traditional producers that came out after WWI when Hollywood movie industry became commercialized and monopolized. The eight traditional producers included Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, United Artists, Radio Keith Orpheum, Columbia Picture and Twentieth Century-Fox Film. In the end of the twentieth century, the eight traditional producers in Hollywood did some adjustments and combinations. Because of this, the ownership of several of them is not a linger a simple "Americanism". Twentieth Century Fox was bought out by the Australian Rupert Murdoch's News International in 1986. Columbia was bought out by Japanese Sony in 1989. Warner Brothers became Time-Warner, the world's greatest media conglomerate in 1989, and in January 2000 entered history's major merger, with the AOL (America Online) Internet company and with EMI music corporation. A transformed Disney entered the new elite grouping from the late 1980s. The other new name is the powerful Dream Works Studio, founded by Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg though, astonishingly given its size, unable to finance the completion of its studio buildings in Los Angeles in 1999 revealing how difficult it often is to get a foothold in that old club, the "majors". The "Age of Behemoths" started. These behemoths own large quantity of media capital: newspapers, magazines, publishers, satellite television nets, etc and so forth around the world, spreading their newly-made movies as fast as possible. Producers far away cannot compete with them in any way.

The fourth advantage is its rich experience in distributing. Distributors in Hollywood pay much attention to publicity, which is a critical segment in the distribution of your film, especially in the distribution of an blockbuster. Chaplin's comedies, for instance, are argued to really have the universal charm of America's natural talent for entertainment. Nonetheless it is vital that Hollywood's distribution and presentation machinery made such films universally unignorable, event movies. You can find another example Jaws (1975). It was pre-sold with a best-selling novel, with the movie rights purchased even prior to the novel was published. Then there followed an enormous promotional campaign with tie-in products such as mugs, posters, beach gear and TV advertising. Distributors usually form part of an extremely publicized intention to provide the audience a spectacularly visceral experience, via both sound and image, which they will not easily forget. Theme parks promise a repeat of the cinematic thrill, and are actually often built with the design talents of the same people making the films. Franchised goods, especially toys, produce other webs of attachment to the hit movie. Many of these, along with corporate ownership of the press and TV channels eager for movie gossip and film clips, can help such movies become "events". THE WEB quickly became part of the processes. In the long run, most high budget films, following a Jaws prototype deal, will eventually cover their costs through their after-life in TV, cable, video, rights to toys, books, music, theme parks, video games and so forth. The steady, studio-derived structures of distribution power across various kinds of screen will tend to almost guarantee long-term profitability to any big film, even such a publicized flop as Waterworld (1995).

Depending on these advantages, Hollywood could produce, distribute and project boffos one after another and create new box office records constantly. Movie industries in the rest of the world are prompted to struggle to live in a plight.


Many countries have recognized that Hollywood is a threat to world cinema, so they may have tried to cope with Hollywood by means of restricting their import of Hollywood movies, reorganizing their own national industries and nurturing their own celebrities. Some countries such as France, Korea and China have made some progress. But to compete with Hollywood, the rest of the world should try to get better through learning from the advantages of Hollywood, so most countries will have a long way to travel.

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