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Hollywood: A declining industry?

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For a long time, the cinema theater was a place of refuge, entertainment and cultural learning. For two hours, we retreated from the world of noise, the bustle outside, to watch a movie in a dark and quiet room. By placing the cinema theaters in the heart of commercial spaces or by converting cinemas into recreational areas where one can eat, buy CDs and other goods, the multiplexes have transformed the viewer into a consumer. The cinema is no longer a time of withdrawal from the outside world but a commercial experience integrated with other related acts of purchase by the logic of endless consumption.

That is why the new millennium represented a historic turning point for the media that have changed since the Second World War. It announced a shift of power between big media and everyday people, those who gather information and ideas to those who want to share.

Now, a real culture war seems to arise from the World Wide Web. The viewers are now the masters, and no longer passive and anesthetized spectators but genuine customers or even industry players who choose to praise or dismiss the cultural products offered to meet the plethora of art (traditional movie theater, DVD and soon mobile phones).
In 2004, the Canadian sociologist Herve Fischer, in his essay "The Decline of the Hollywood empire" put forward the digital distribution to predict the end of the imperial American film industry highly speculative and very vulnerable financially.

We are witnessing a truly artistic revival of the economy, to a questioning of formatted content widely distributed along the channel for the benefit of independent production or this is an illusion, part of an overall marketing strategy that participates in the standardization of audiovisual production and the "brutalization" of the public.

The commercial failure of blockbusters as War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg) and the success of movies such as Garden State (Zach Braff) can legitimately put forward the question, is the Hollywood entertainment machine a mirror of a successful American model which does not hesitate to denounce its own aches and victim of globalization and digital revolution?

The Golden Age of studios, from late 1920 until early 1990: The film studios were built around 1914 in Hollywood, a suburb of Los Angeles, California. The pioneers of cinema left the East Coast to find a better climate, more varied scenery, and especially to escape the grip of the Edison Trust which has a near monopoly in the New York area. Indeed, the company systematically pursued in the courts all manufacturers, operators and film producers for counterfeiting or illegal use of its patents ("patent war"). Many small businesses went bankrupt, lawsuits multiplied.

As part of the war initiated by Edison patents, the entire film industry came under the monopoly of the "Edison Trust" until 1918 who endowed it with a subsidiary, the General Film Company. Making use of coercive methods had become legendary, General Film confiscated the illegal equipment, implemented a policy of embargo vis-à-vis the theaters which screened unlicensed films.

Tags: Edison patents, General Film Company, Hollywood

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