I have heard that my film distribution history is a little long to be a blog, so I am shortening it for my readers. Enjoy!
In the 1960’s, Major Studios in desperation started financing independent films and major conglomerates that invested and traded in the studios bought up the studios. A slew of new distribution companies such as American International Pictures, a up and coming production and distribution company, distributed some very popular series of movies, including Roger Corman’s films based on Edgar Allen Poe. American Intl’ Pictures started the genre of marketing films to teenagers. Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Francis Ford Coppola got their starts with American International.
In the 1960’s as well, John Cassavetes, considered the father of Independent Film, made courageous new works, such as “Faces” and “Shadows” with no help from financial banks, the major studios. He could not get anyone in America to distribute his film in the US, so he received international help. He did not care for pleasing anyone in monetary standards, a true maverick, only himself. In a interview with Ron Carney, a renown and controversial film critic, he says about Cassevetes films, they were about “change and process” they were about staying free and avoiding being limited by social rules or arrangements”. Carney says the master plot of all his work was to expose fraudulence and self-delusion. His stories weren’t about plot or about events like many movies to date but Cassavetes films “were about character”. (Carney, 2002)
Cassavettes was recognized as a spiritual father of independent filmmaking and although he wasn’t extremely successful because of lack of budgets to distribute his films, he impacted many other filmmakers and they could distribute their movies easier because they had a new niche in the market. By the early 1970’s, Blaxploitation film genres became popular with a commercially successful film by Melvin Van Peebles “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” Many notable indie filmmakers at the time that featured blaxploitation were Gordon Parks, William Crain and William Levy.
In 1975, the movie world would be changed forever and be a great blow to indie filmmakers that wanted to show their movies in theatres. Steven Spielberg created “Jaws” that caused courageous comeback by the Majors, started the rise of the Blockbuster movie and the rise of saturation marketing. George Lucas started the auxiliary market by betting his toys from his Star Wars trilogy would fund his movies. The studios had no idea of this profitable and lucrative auxiliary market of toys and licensing could be of such benefit to a filmmaker. At this moment of time, the budget of marketing for this film was the greatest amount of money ever spent on a film.
To see the full History of Film from 1890 to Present, click here