In the earliest days, these performances were mainly storytelling efforts made to preserve history and traditions. Later, they became ways for us to entertain ourselves. The overall goal of any theater company is to fill the seats of the theater.
Gerben Bakker, University of Essex Introduction Like other major innovations such as the automobile, electricity, chemicals and the airplane, cinema emerged in most Western countries at the same time. As the first form of industrialized mass-entertainment, it was all-pervasive.
From the s onwards, each year billions of cinema-tickets were sold and consumers who did not regularly visit the cinema became a minority. In Italy, today hardly significant in international entertainment, the film industry was the fourth-largest export industry before the First World War.
In the depression-struck U. Despite this economic significance, despite its rapid emergence and growth, despite its pronounced effect on the everyday life of consumers, and despite its importance as an early case of the industrialization of services, the economic history of the film industry has hardly been examined.
This article will limit itself exclusively to the economic development of the industry. It will discuss just a few countries, mainly the U. This entry cannot do justice to developments in each and every country, given the nature of an encyclopedia article.
This entry also limits itself to the evolution of the Western film industry, because it has been and still is the largest film industry in the world, in revenue terms, although this may well change in the future.
Before Cinema In the late eighteenth century most consumers enjoyed their entertainment in an informal, haphazard and often non-commercial way. When making a trip they could suddenly meet a roadside entertainer, and their villages were often visited by traveling showmen, clowns and troubadours.
Seasonal fairs attracted a large variety of musicians, magicians, dancers, fortune-tellers and sword-swallowers. Only a few large cities harbored legitimate theaters, strictly regulated by the local and national rulers.
This world was torn apart in two stages. First, most Western countries started to deregulate their entertainment industries, enabling many more entrepreneurs to enter the business and make far larger investments, for example in circuits of fixed stone theaters.
Most European countries followed during the nineteenth century. Britain, for example, deregulated in the mids, and France in the late s. The result of this was that commercial, formalized and standardized live entertainment emerged that destroyed a fair part of traditional entertainment.
The combined effect of liberalization, innovation and changes in business organization, made the industry grow rapidly throughout the nineteenth century, and integrated local and regional entertainment markets into national ones.
By the end of the nineteenth century, integrated national entertainment industries and markets maximized productivity attainable through process innovations. Creative inputs, for example, circulated swiftly along the venues — often in dedicated trains — coordinated by centralized booking offices, maximizing capital and labor utilization.
At the end of the nineteenth century, in the era of the second industrial revolution, falling working hours, rising disposable income, increasing urbanization, rapidly expanding transport networks and strong population growth resulted in a sharp rise in the demand for entertainment.
The effect of this boom was further rapid growth of live entertainment through process innovations. At the turn of the century, the production possibilities of the existing industry configuration were fully realized and further innovation within the existing live-entertainment industry could only increase productivity incrementally.
At this moment, in a second stage, cinema emerged and in its turn destroyed this world, by industrializing it into the modern world of automated, standardized, tradable mass-entertainment, integrating the national entertainment markets into an international one.
Technological Origins In the early s, Thomas Edison introduced the kinematograph, which enabled the shooting of films and their play-back in slot-coin machines for individual viewing. Cinema reconfigured different technologies that all were available from the late s onwards: After the preconditions for motion pictures had been established, cinema technology itself was invented.
The scientist Jean Marey completed the first working model of a film camera in in Paris. Edison visited Georges Demeney in and saw his films.
Inhe filed an American patent for a film camera, which had a different moving mechanism than the Marey camera.
Inthe Englishman Friese Green presented a working camera to a group of enthusiasts. In the Frenchman Demeney filed a patent for a camera. In December of that year they gave the first projection for a paying audience.
They were followed in February by the Englishman Robert W. It is instrumental in the smooth rolling of the film, and in the correcting of the lens for the space between the exposures Michaelis ; Musser Three characteristics stand out in this innovation process.
Second, it was what Mokyr calls a typical nineteenth century invention, in that it was a smart combination of many existing technologies.
Many different innovations in the technologies which it combined had been necessary to make possible the innovation of cinema. Third, cinema was a major innovation in the sense that it was quickly and universally adopted throughout the western world, quicker than the steam engine, the railroad or the steamship.
The Emergence of Cinema For about the first ten years of its existence, cinema in the United States and elsewhere was mainly a trick and a gadget.
Before the coin-operated Kinematograph of Edison was present at fairs and in entertainment venues. Spectators had to throw a coin in the machine and peek through glasses to see the film.
The first projections, from onwards, attracted large audiences.If there is more than one theater in the vicinity, or it is competing with other entertainment options, such as the ballet or movies, then it is even more important for the theater company to stand out from the competition.
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