Veni, Vidi, Video: The Hollywood Empire and the VCR

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University of Texas Press, 2001 - Performing Arts - 245 pages
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A funny thing happened on the way to the movies. Instead of heading downtown to a first-run movie palace, or even to a suburban multiplex with the latest high-tech projection capabilities, many people's first stop is now the neighborhood video store. Indeed, video rentals and sales today generate more income than either theatrical releases or television reruns of movies.

This pathfinding book chronicles the rise of home video as a mass medium and the sweeping changes it has caused throughout the film industry since the mid-1970s. Frederick Wasser discusses Hollywood's initial hostility to home video, which studio heads feared would lead to piracy and declining revenues, and shows how, paradoxically, video revitalized the film industry with huge infusions of cash that financed blockbuster movies and massive marketing campaigns to promote them. He also tracks the fallout from the video revolution in everything from changes in film production values to accommodate the small screen to the rise of media conglomerates and the loss of the diversity once provided by smaller studios and independent distributors.

 

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Veni, vidi, video: the Hollywood empire and the VCR

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Few acronyms are more universally known than that of the VCR. Not so long ago, this now-ubiquitous device generated outright perplexity, but by 1994, argues Wasser (communications, Central Connecticut ... Read full review

Contents

Film Distribution and Home Viewing before the VCR
23
A Brief Review of the Early Days of the Movie Industry
24
From Universal Audiences to FeatureLength Films
26
Movies at Home
28
Tiered Releasing
29
The Other Entertainment Medium
31
Postwar Film Exhibition
36
Distributing Films to Smaller Audiences
39
Conclusion
129
Video Becomes Big Business
131
The Development of TwoTiered Pricing
132
The New Movie Theater
135
Overview
138
Rental
141
Video and Other Commodities
145
Retailing Consolidation
146

Marketing the Shark Wide and Deep
44
The Development of Video Recording
48
Broadcast Networks and Recording Technology
51
Television and Recording
55
Playbackonly Systems
60
Japanese Recorder System Development
70
Home Video The Early Years
76
Choice Harried Leisure and New Technologies
77
The Emergence of Cable
81
The Universal Lawsuit
82
VCR and Subversion
91
Xrated Cassettes
92
The Majors Start Video Distribution
95
Renting
98
The Years of Independence 19811986
104
Independence on the Cusp of Video
105
New Companies Get into Video Business
106
Hollywood Tries to Control Rentals
110
Video Theater and Cable
116
PreSellingPreBuying
121
Video and New Genres
125
Vestrons Video Publishing
127
Breadth versus Depth
149
Video Advertising
151
Video and Revenue Streams
152
Production Increase
154
Consolidation and Shakeouts
158
High Concept
161
Disney Comes Back Online
162
The Majors Hold the Line on Production Expansion
165
Vestron Responds
171
The Fate of PreSelling and the MiniMajors
176
LIVE Miramax and New Line
180
Conclusion
183
The Lessons of the Video Revolution
185
Home Video and Changes in the Form of Film
194
Images of Audience Time
200
A Philosophic View of Film and Audience
202
Whither the Mass Audience?
204
Notes
207
Bibliography
227
Index
237
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About the author (2001)

Frederick Wasser is Professor of Television and Radio at Brooklyn College. As a freelancer in the Hollywood film and television industry, he witnessed the rise of home video throughout its first decade.

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