In this book, Alexander Ross highlights how creative entrepreneurs saved the Hollywood studios in the 1970s by establishing the calculated blockbuster, consisting of key replicable markers of success, as Hollywood's preeminent business model. Ross demonstrates how visionary individuals such as Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas, and Zemeckis helped create the modern, calculated blockbuster business model (BBM). However, with the rise of streaming giants and the studios struggling to compete, many consumers of entertainment now elect to partake from the comfort of their homes, making the difference between “cinema” and “television” anachronistic. Revisiting the history of those 1970s blockbusters and their ongoing impact on contemporary filmmaking, Ross offers distinct analysis on whether the calculated blockbuster can continue to lead, or if the streamers will continue to generate their own content and, eventually, fully control the dissemination process. For scholars and students in film, pop culture and business along with aspiring filmmakers, screenwriters, producers and executives, the book will be a valued resource.
Alexander Ross is a researcher in history at New College, University of Oxford.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Historical Evolutionary Path to the Modern Blockbuster
Chapter 2: The Evolving Definitions of a Blockbuster and its Markers
Chapter 3: Evolution of Marketing and Promotion for the Modern Blockbuster
Chapter 4: The Evolution of Release and Distribution: Predicting Success and Challenging the Goldman Aphorism
Chapter 5: Creative Entrepreneurship: The Evolving Challenges for Hollywood’s Historical Institutionalism
Chapter 6: The Godfather
Chapter 7: Jaws
Chapter 8: Star Wars
Chapter 9: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Chapter 10: Back to the Future
Chapter 11: Transmedia Economy: The Evolving Relationship between Content, Commodity and Audience
Chapter 12: Netflix
About the Author
“Alexander Ross outlines in extensive and unique detail how studios make money not just on blockbusters, but also eventually from all movies. He uses his vast experience, inside knowledge, and scholarly expertise to lay out both the successes and the mistakes of the ‘blockbuster era.’ I highly recommend this book to scholars in film studies and business, film school students working toward a career in the film industry, and budding film producers and studio executives.”
“This book provides an original and welcome contribution to the literature about Hollywood. Building on his years of experience in the film industry, insights from prominent industry actors, and rigorous research, Alexander Ross offers a compelling account of the rise of the modern blockbuster business model through detailed case studies of seminal movies, and of its viability in the streaming video-on-demand age. A valuable read for cinema students, scholars and professionals.”
"In these case studies, Alexander Ross debunks many myths. His case studies demonstrate the relentless attention of studio executives to the possibilities of generating revenue. He captures this practice and, in so doing, provides a valuable contribution to the hard-nosed worldview of Hollywood.”
“You are holding a volume which, to my relatively seasoned mind, adds a unique contribution to text-based cinema studies. This book is a persuasive, rigorously researched study of the evolution of the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster."
"Ross helps to bridge a gap between scholars and industry practitioners by analyzing a key stage in the industry’s history and the impact of innovative developments over that period. Only by taking more multidisciplinary approaches to research, exemplified in this book, can we better appreciate the ever-changing nature of this fascinating industry.”
8/28/23, Newsweek: Alexander Ross is quoted when discussing older Disney films. The book is mentioned.