The Hollywood System

The Hollywood Film Industry

The Hollywood film industry has had major changes over the last 75 years, the main points up for discussion are:

  • The changes that have occurred in the Hollywood Film Industry
  • The differences between the film industries of Hollywood and Britain
  • The types of Film Product that the Hollywood of today produce

The Studio System

The Golden age of the studio system was between 1930 and 1948.  During this period the films were made on a production line model.  This model was criticised as the films became formulaic and similar.

Five Companies dominated the film industry and so were known as the ‘Big 5’:

Paramount, Loew’s (owner of MGM), Fox Film, Warner Brothers and RKO

Three smaller companies (Columbia, Universal and United Artists) were working but these did not have their own cinemas so they needed to maintain relationships with the Big Five in order to show their films

Each company was run by a Mogul who oversaw everything that the studio did

All of the Big Five were organised through Vertical Integration.  They each owned the means to: produce, distribute and exhibit (show) their films and because of this they dominated the film industry in the 30’s and 40’s.  All of the profits from their films came back to them.

After the war there was a mass movement from cities to the suburbs which meant that there was much less of an audience for their films, leading to some of the larger cinemas to close

In 1948 the Paramount Decree, a court ruling against Paramount brought the old studio ways of Vertical Integration to an end stating that they were not able to control each aspect of film production as it amounted to a monopoly.  Some of the Big Five did not survive as they were forced to break up their companies

Today the studios are involved in film deals but will not control the whole process.  Studios will be approached by producers and the studios will back and help to make the film.


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