History of the Movie Industry
Movies began in the late 1890's with motion toys. Flipping through a series of still pictures quickly gave the impression of movement. In 1872, Edward Muybridge set up twelve cameras along a racetrack. As the horse passed each one, a picture was taken. Together, the pictures appeared to show the horse running.
George Eastman and William Walker invented movie film in 1885. In 1903, The Great Train Robbery by Edwin Porter was one of the first movie films to be made. Around 1905, nickel theaters became very popular. They showed movies at a low cost and made them a part of American culture. After WWI, Hollywood became the center of the American movie industry.
Movies became the favorite means of entertainment in the 1920's. Hollywood was the party scene for the movie 'stars.' Warner Brothers Pictures, Paramount, RKO, Metro Goldwin Mayer, and 20th Century Fox all began as movie studios in Hollywood during this time. Directors received great attention for their creative work in making films. 'Stars' were born.
The 1930's was the Golden Age of the film industry because sound was added to the silent films. Many different types of films appeared, such as musicals, comedies, westerns, documentaries and horror movies. In the 1940's, color film appeared and new technology for sound effects. During WWII, Hollywood made many pictures, including documentaries, propaganda and educational films. Movie attendance reached an all-time high in 1946.
The 1950's brought in the television set. Movie theater attendance declined because people could watch entertainment on their TV. In 1963, many fewer movies were produced due to the advent of television. Movie companies branched out in their production, making series for TV, music records and movies just for TV. Filmmakers lowered the cost of tickets to one dollar to attract more viewers. However, by 1970, the film industry was in a great decline. National companies bought out some struggling film companies.
In the 1970's, the content of movies changed to reflect the culture. Restrictions on language and violence were not so harsh. Alternative films were produced. They were those with different types of themes than before. Hollywood experienced a new birth. The films contained lots of action and special effects. Movies like Jaws and Star Wars took in more money than any movies in history.
The studios gained more profits by putting films on video cassettes because many homes had players. Again, movie attendance declined. Most of the movies of the 1980's were not memorable and were very similar to each other, with similar plots and simple effects. By the end of the decade, moviemakers decided that special effects were the most profitable way to operate. They did not look to movies with new concepts or ideas. Movies like Batman, Return of the Jedi and Terminator were big hits.
Special effects forced filmmakers' costs to rise. International companies bought many movie studios, including Columbia and 20th Century Fox. In the 1990's, economic decline produced less money for the studios. However, more people attended movies because of the new multi-theater complexes around the country. Revenues were still down, but CD-ROMs were invented. They led the way to the DVD.
In the 2000's, IMAX theaters arrived, as well as many new devices on which to view movies, such as smartphones, tablets and computers. These new technologies have increased revenue for the moviemakers.
To link to this History of the Movie Industry page, copy the following code to your site: