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According to Carman, (1966) the Hollywood fame can be traced back to the 1910 where D.W Griffith produced his first film, “In Old California.” Although there have been changes in the film industry, the star system is still solid. The system refers to an approach used by studios to develop and project the popularity of the movie stars. The image of the actor was deemed important more than acting. These led to development of fake personas which were created in order to increase revenues. The first Hollywood actress was Florence Lawrence who faked her death that brought on her stardom hence it marked the beginning of the need for stars to sell a movie. Actors and actress were contracted for lucrative projects. For instance, the famous blockbuster movies from the 1930s include the likes of The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gone with the Wind, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Captain Blood and Old back the dawn among others. Olivia de Havilland, Carole Lombard and, Bette Davis were contracted by Warner Bros as lead actresses in several movies alongside Errol Flynn. Major producers in this era include, Michael Curtis, Jerry Wald and Steve Trilling among others. Although the system worked, the aspect of the idealistic persona did not function for some like Havillan who resorted to freelance contracts. The approach led to many actors and actresses assuming different roles as demanded for by the studios. Signed actresses that refuse assigned roles were suspended from the company for a while (Carman, 1966). The subject on this paper determines whether, the system made Hollywood or not.
The influence of stars in Hollywood film
ProQuest, (2018) argues that the importance of stars in movies keeps growing in the film industry. As much as there are several upcoming actors and actresses, the film industry to date is dominated by a small portion of individuals who are at the peak of their profession. The small group of professionals is paid heavily per movie. The high-profile stars in the current generation include the likes of Prad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Bradley Cooper, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Angelina Jolie among others. The group is paid millions per picture in a profit concept known as the Back-end deals. This means that the high-profile stars have a huge impact on the movie. The starts are used to generate more income including attracting investors, exhibitors, distributors and producers hence they are worth every penny (Paul, 2000).
ProQuest, (2018) observes that debate on whether the payments made to the stars are justified is yet to be understood. The success of Hollywood can be seen in the well-known blockbusters movies which were acted by stars mostly apart from a few. A good example of a blockbuster film that generated high income was the Titanic movie with Leonardo Dicaprio as the main actor. There have been great movies that were not acted by stars yet they generated high revenues. There is a mix up between, talent, involvement of stars and success of movies. The stars help elevate the quality of the film but it may not be associated with the high fees. The aspect of talent is a contributing factor as well (Dawson, 2012).
The question of whether or not the stars contribute to the financial performance of movies has been a subject of concern as well. The fact that stars may want to choose the most lucrative projects is also debatable. Motion pictures are attributed to the hard work of many actors and actresses hence they are behind the success of blockbuster movies. As much as these actors are stars at an individual basis, at times they depend on each other. For instance, in MR. and Mrs, Smith, they had to use Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who were both married in the movie and in real life (ProQuest , 2018).
The impact of Stars in the Entire Hollywood
Dawson, (2012) says the system defines the Hollywood film in terms of the acting approach and culture surrounding the entire production process. Stars are deemed significant in the development of Hollywood since it is an important mechanism to achieving successful films. The concept affects the plot of any classical movie since all the pieces of information are developed surrounding the actor (Vanderploeg, 2006). The influence of actors is apparent in the acting style where producers use the characters of the stars to advertise the movie. The classical period at Hollywood was characterized by excessive use of close-ups and natural expressions that illustrated the performers. Actors determine the process of developing a film through various stages. The process should reveal the emotions of the characters based on the use of vivid images, facial movements, gestures and lighting (Elberse, 2006).
The influence of star system is apparent in modern films and especially in the contemporary drama movies. Stars are known to apply their natural acting techniques which have lured several other performers in the industry. Studios have been forced to adopt some marketing strategies that are aimed at promoting movies in Hollywood. For instance, producers are finding it lucrative to sign stars on a long-term contract. The decision to control performers helped in shaping the image of an Actor. The process ends up elevating the popularity of the studio and the star. Basing on this fact, stars solidified their characters along certain roles. A good example is the Joan Crawford who is known to be an independent woman in almost the films she has acted. Crawford worked alongside producers like John Wald (Carman, 1966).
The rising effect of stars in Hollywood brings a link between the major studios and various media platforms. The magazines, radio programs and newspapers also find it lucrative to host and promote them. The magazines for instance make huge profits from displaying images of stars. The attractive cover pages are used to lure buyers. The aspect of rumors and romantic relationships surrounding movie performers are key points of making sales. There are various genres in Hollywood like comedy, action, drama, epic and horrors among others. Actors are expected to major in Genre they are comfortable in. To some extent this media coverage makes these performers even more popular. Improvements in technology have improved platforms where actors can thrive for more publicity (Vanderploeg, 2006).
The system has hugely impacted on the American International Popular culture. The star has directly shaped the reality of the society based on audience experience. The young people like to associate themselves with certain characters in a film such as superman, iron man, Thor and hulk among others. Children are known to love Marvel films based on the characters of the actors, what they wear and the roles they play. The youth also like emulating stars by copying their style and to some extent, others idolize them. Fashion is deemed part of the popular culture where stars are featured in fashion magazine and interviewed about their style (ProQuest , 2018).
The fashion industry follows slowly on the progress of stars in films. For instance, the toy industry depends on movies to make creations exactly as the ones used by stars. Clothes bearing images of actors such as superman make huge sells. The system can be said to improve various economic activities in the world. Through images of stars, there is an increased consumption of other goods as well. The Art industry is a case in point where pictures, paintings and wall hangings have been sold based on images of stars. Promotional techniques in Hollywood have changed consumer trends and preferences (ProQuest , 2018).
The image of celebrities in movies has promoted growth in consumer economy. The film is a medium for attracting customers no wonder the Hollywood applied the concept of product placements in film production. The system can be said to be the most dominant technique applied in shaping the Hollywood. As much as the studios have some degree of control, individual actors have power over the movie industry. The industry is making a fortune out of the prowess of a single star. The ones benefiting more are the stars given that the popularity and image is elevated through their roles. One can make so much money just for playing a single role in a film. The star system is deemed significant in rising the image of a studio hence is a basis for building a long-lasting reputation. However, stars have the authority to choose the roles they want to play hence the aspect of Idealistic Persona should be slowly dropped or made optional.
Carman, E. (1966). Independent Stardom : Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System,. University of Texas Press,: ProQuest.
Dawson, A. (2012). Working in the Global Filmand Television Industries": Systems, Space, Patronage and Creativity. London: Bloomsbury Academic Forthcoming.
Elberse, A. (2006). THE POWER OF STARS: DO STAR ACTORS DRIVE THE SUCCESS. Boston MA: Harvard Business School.
Paul, M. (2000). The Star System: Hollwood's Production of Popular Identities.
ProQuest . (2018). "Does Hollywood's Star System Still Work?".
Washington, D.C: NPR.
Vanderploeg, Z. (2006). Harnessing the Power of Stars: The Economics Behind the Classsical Hollwood Star System. Fiml, Matters , 24-29.
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