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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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The very beginning of the cinema was located mainly in Europe and the U.S., starting with the cinematography pioneers — Lumière brothers, through George Mèliès and his famous Le voyage dans la lune, ending on the precursor of the silent cinema, David W. Griffith. Until 1929, the year when the sound was brought to the movie for the first time, cinema was rather similarly developed. But the event of the II World War and the end if communism in Europe may be named as a Hollywood domination time in different countries, what may be a proof, or a starting point for the discussion of the globalization and Americanization in cinema industry all over the globe. The journalist and writer, Alexander Stille, quotes the statistics in which he proofs that 70 percent of American movies is watched in most of the Western Europe countries, and 90 percent in other parts of the Earth. In the past there were a lot articles stigmatizing Hollywood in globalization context, as an unification of the industries and loosing national characters of productions in different countries. This point of view seem to be wrong, especially when looking on films created as coproduction, with international crews working worldwide, sharing their experiences and raising the quality of films produced all over the world.

"Hollywood is a place you can't geographically define. We don't know where it is.” These are words said by John Ford. Thanks to all the producers who knew how to adjust their politics to the economic situations over the years, Hollywood grew big and bold. The term of “cultural imperialism” was born. But not only Americans tried their luck spreading their culture. In the early stage of cinema also French traveled the world, trying to present and sell their newest invention. Those events may be recognized as a starting point of globalization in the cinema industry, or, another words — cinema industry has always been globalized. Hollywood took over after both I and II World War, leaving nothing for European artists and producers, including Australia and South America. In 1920 American movie industry had over 90 percent of British market, and 80 percent of Italian and French markets. It all happened after the sound was introduced to the world's public. A new experience attracted many viewers to local cinemas. Producers had great ideas not only for casts, and movie itself, but also for the way to distribute and exhibit their products. They also knew how to play with domestic film industries in order to present American movies — they would practice “block booking”. Using a strategy of sending big packages of different movies to theater's owners, they would push away their national films. Luckily, not long after WWII, the court delegalized this idea, as the practice was proved illegally profitable. In late 40s and early 50s some of international industries had started growing back. Japanese, French and Italian cinema, winning parts of local markets with their productions. It got to the point, where American independent theaters would show movies from those countries, attracting big crowds of American cinema lovers. As the American film industry had noticed losses, all the movie studios around the North America started to decline. The only help was to merge with music labels, magazines, etc. and trying to survive as a kind of hybrid. It turned out to be a great idea, as cable TV started getting more and more popular. Studios got valuable again, as they started making TV productions for the broad audience. The power got back to Hollywood. In era of Internet, TV programs may be streamed to even broader, international audience. It leads to internationalizing the industry.

French cinema is an interesting case. At the very begging of the cinema industry France was one of the leading countries in terms of number of produced films, their quality but also the equipment and marketing. Unfortunately, after I World War the French cinema lost its potential. After 30 years French productions got more meaningful, conquering markets in Europe and around the globe. As the US market was a big threat to their national cinematography and its profits, in 1993, signed GATT, a conception treating culture separately from other commercial services and products (Cultural Exception). This document saved French and their local industry. Thanks to it many theaters were remodeled, attracting more potential viewers. This move helped French government earning more money their native productions. In return French government provides big amounts of many for new movies. This strategy paid off, as over 194 million rockets were sold in 2004. That is a great achievement and a proof that with the right strategy local, potentially vulnerable for international influences markets may end up strong and self-sufficient. This doesn't mean the French Cinema got freed from American influence. As the Correspondence magazine says, 64 percent of the movies shown 2000 in French cinemas were American. 36 percent of the movies came from all over the globe. But not the strategies are the one to blame – it is the fault of the newest generation of filmmakers, that are not as good as their precursors. French cinema has been trying to fight the problem by trying to turn the problem into solution. Instead of going into aesthetic forms of Danish (or more general Scandinavian) movies, they try to follow the trends set by American film industry, spending huge amounts of money in order to try release some blockbuster. French had not given up when it comes to film festivals either, they created their own award, “Césars” in Cannes in 1946. It is an answer for very successful Academy Awards presented first in 1929. It is a big loss, as French cinema has a lot of great titles. Globalization and Americanization are killing its creativity, letting us watch slow extinction of the French Cinema.

The industry, that haven't been touched by American culture as much as the rest of the world is Bollywood. The name was created in 1970s by an Indian journalist and it is combining two words, Hollywood and Bombay. Since 70s the term got a bit broader meaning and it is not only used by Babayan productions, but it also refers to some of the movies created abroad. The formula of Babayan movies is used globally, as well as its traditions and production – all of these elements are transcultural. Nowadays lots of Bollywood movies is being created in the US, Europe or the United Kingdom. What is more interesting, some elements of Bollywood productions are being used in both European and American movies. The phenomena of Indian movies is not clear. The industry started taking over Middle Eastern cinemas first, continuing in Asia and South America. Bollywood productions are shown in Europe and the US more often, too. Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle, even though it was produced in the United Kingdom, made Bollywood cinema more popular by winning multiple Academy Awards for the best movie, director… and six else (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1010048/). 3-hours-long shows, full of dance, and music, full of weird coincidences and incredible plot twists attract viewers to cinemas all over the globe. Topics of those movies are rather simple: forbidden love, generation gap, battles of good versus evil are the opposite of what Hollywood's chases, fights or sexual scenes – there is no room for nudity, even the kiss is a little bit problematic in this culture.

Since Korean culture is known for K-pop mostly, cinema viewing figures has shown a big rise in last decade. As the author of GLOBALISATION AND NEW KOREAN CINEMA (Book Title: New Korean Cinema Book Editor(s): Chi-Yun Shin, Julian Stringer Published by: Edinburgh University Press. (2005)) is saying:

”almost 50 per cent of domestic market share, and some local hits beating even the most lavish Hollywood blockbusters at the box-office, Korean cinema is currently enjoying unprecedented domestic success.”

Parallelly to the growth of the public in Korea, the interest of their domestic productions is growing worldwide. The Korean pop culture conquers mostly Asian with its music, games and TV dramas. But it was not as good just around 10 years ago. Opening the market for international distributions in 1987 was not a great move in Korean film industry. Local cinemas had started showing more international movies, what was even worse for their, already poorly watched, domestic productions. Korean film industry in 1993 got to its lowest point. Such a big transformation of Korean's movie industry is related to the change in governments policy, known as open-door strategy. By opening their market to Hollywood's producers, Korea's film industry noted its worst point in history. American studios moved in to South Korea and started distributing their own films, burying Korean industry. Kim-Young-sum government decided to revitalize Korean economy by raising its competitiveness worldwide. His government started an ambitious plan to relaunch their liberated economy. Korean government saw a great opportunity to produce a profit out of domestic film industry. In 1994 Kim read statistic showing a huge profit of the “Jurassic Park” blockbuster produced in Hollywood. It equaled to an export income of 1500000 Hyundai cars. This eye-opening numbers changed Korea's government approach to founding media industries. In 1995 the government established the Basic Motion Picture Promotion Law, saying that Korea has to provide funds for the domestic film industry promotion as well as create conferences and policies. The Basic Motion Picture Promotion Law changed the Motion Picture Law, that has been regulating local film business for a long time. The government re-established the coproduction laws, making it easier for Korean filmmakers to work on international productions. Korean corporations were also encouraged to incest money in film business and they had a big tole in Korea's film industry growth. By 1995 large companies like Hyundai, Daewoo or Samsung has invested their money into different productions. A big success of Marriage Story sponsored by Samsung, had a big impact on future funds (GLOBALISATION AND NEW KOREAN CINEMA Chapter Author(s): Jeeyoung Shin). Just like France, Korea wanted to internationalize their film industry by creating the Pusan International Film Festival their first international festival.

To sum up, today's cinema has two faces. On one hand global cinema is actually a glocal cinema, proposing an alternative version of western culture by its symbols and meanings, existing as a local diversity in the assimilating world. On the other hand it is a hybrid, where elements that don't match try to create a new form of audiovisual representation if XXI century. Hollywood ins adapting models from all over the planet; Bollywood, created by need of contraposing American influences tries not to show capitalistic models of society, where the only important thing in life is pursuit of carrier and an easy lifestyle in an open relationship. French cinema tries to copy Hollywood in a fatal result, but in its despair it is interesting to watch. It is also worth noticing that South Korea is making its own way in the worldwide film business, being more and more successful. The cinema is still up-to-date with social and cultural transformations, keeping an open dialog witch non-stop changing society.

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