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1. With reference to one example of your choosing (single film or franchise) describe and discuss the industrial and textual features of the ‘tentpole’ model of filmmaking. How and why is this model characteristic of millennial Hollywood? What are its opportunities and limitations? Suicide Squad The end goal of any business is to make a profit and Hollywood movie studios are not an exemption to the rule. This has been the case for the history of the film industry, with examples such as the Hollywood studio era. This need to gain profit has now led to the increasing appearance of ‘tentpole’ films. Tentpole films are running rampant in Hollywood and looking at the box-office figures, its no surprise that they are a large part of millennial Hollywood. However, recent tentpole films such as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword have been considered flops both critically and in the box office. An interesting area to research is whether or not this tentpole model of filmmaking has any longevity to it. In order to figure that out we must first look at what tentpole films are, how these types of film came to fruition, how they fit into millennial Hollywood and what are its boundaries as a model of filmmaking. According to Bario (26) there a four main characteristics of tentpole films that explain their attractiveness to investors, they include constituting media events, allow promotional tie-ins, are easy sells in world markets and have the ability to allow for spinoffs to create spinoffs. Now that we know what factors make up tentpole films we should look at the history of the film industry in Hollywood and what led to the need for tentpole films. Going way back to the studio era of Hollywood we can find that
the film industry has always looked for the easiest way to increase profits. During the Hollywood studio era of the 1930s to 40s the five big film studios (Paramount, MGM, Fox, RKO and Warner Brothers) would take advantage of the accomplishments of previous films. The film industry would create movies that belonged to the same genre as previous films, as audiences usually enjoyed these movies they would almost certainly come to similar ones. This is demonstrated in McArthur (23) where he suggests that because of the way in which characters are dressed and the setting they are in, they know immediately what to expect from a film. In order to streamline these similar genre movies “each genre had its regular scriptwriters, sometimes on a yearly contract, its directors, its craftsmen, its studios” (Metz 122). However, this system came to a demise in the late 40s to early 50s. Bario (25) explains that after the fall of the Hollywood studio era franchises became the new fascination with films like ‘Rocky’and ‘Star Wars’paving the way. Bario (25) later suggests that this potential for franchising enticed investors into delving in the movie industry. All of the history mentioned has led to the ever increasing popularity of tentpole films among movie studios, which we can now look at.