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Vertical Integration at Warner Brothers

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Libby Bobe

on 19 September 2014

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Transcript of Vertical Integration at Warner Brothers

Vertical Integration at Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers have their own distribution company, 'Warner Distribution'. It is now one of the world's largest distributors of feature films, television programs and animation to the international television marketplace.

The studio distributes around 18 - 22 films a year. They release them in over 120 countries either directly to theatres or in conjunction with partner companies. New Line Cinemas have been part of Warner Brother's entertainment since 2008 coordinates its development, production, marketing, distribution and business affairs with Warner Brothers Pictures to maximize film performance and operating efficiencies. Highlights of New Line’s 2013 releases, distributed by Warner Bros, include Jack the Giant Slayer, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Conjuring, We’re the Millers and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Warner Brothers produced their first film, 'My four years in Germany' in 1918.

The Warner Brother Studio is situated in Burbank, California and is considered one of the foremost motion picture post production facilities in the world. It is home to 35 soundstages, including one of the world's largest stages, which has an in ground tank which is capable of holding two million gallons of water. Warner Bros Studio Facilities also manages the company’s studio in the U.K., Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, which is a 160-acre production facility that has been the production site of many highly acclaimed Warner Bros. movies including the eight Harry Potter films.
What is Vertical Integration?
Vertical integration is ownership of production, distribution and exhibition by the same studio.
French studio Pathé was the first to do this, and had a chain of 200 cinemas in France and Belgium.

In Hollywood, Vitagraph was the first producer to own cinemas (two in New York, 1914.) Fox Film Company was founded the following year with vertically integrated intentions. Famous Players-Lasky, became the first modern studio when it achieved vertically-integrated status in 1919, considerably strengthened in 1925 by its merger, under the name of its earlier Paramount Pictures acquisition, with exhibitor Balaban & Katz.
Time Warner and Warner Brothers
A Time Warner Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature films to television.

The Warner Bros Pictures Group brings together the Studio’s motion picture production, marketing and distribution operations into a single entity. The Group, which includes Warner Brothers Pictures and Warner Brothers Pictures International, was formed to streamline the Studio’s film production process and bring those businesses’ organizational structures in line with Warner Brother's television and home entertainment operations.
Warner Bros. Pictures either fully finances or co-finances the films it produces and maintains worldwide distribution rights. Some films that are distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures are totally financed and produced by others. This monetizes its marketing and distribution operations.

In 2013, Warner Brothers had their most successful year in the company's history grossing an industry-leading $5.038 billion in global box office.
As Warner Brothers is such a big company, they have many means of marketing films and television programs. Owning Warner Brothers Television group gives easy access to a television audience, and their New Line Cinemas also help to promote up and coming films.

In the past Warner Bros have also made deals with fast good company's (such as The Dark Knight and Burger King) where Batman figurines were included in meals. The campaign for the new batman film was released 15 months prior to release and witnessed participants from enthusiasts across the world. Fans would receive posters, teaser trailers, memorabilia and others won lucky tickets to the first screenings. A website called: ibelieveinharveydent.com was one of the websites that was set up especially for the film.
Example of Vertical Integration at Warner Brothers
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Produced by Warner Brothers, in association with Heyday films. The film was mostly filmed in Warner's Leavesdon Studios.
Warner Brothers Pictures Company (Distribution)
The film was marketed by several of Time Warner's companies. Including HBO. CNN, another Time Warner company, was able to use its position as a news station with worldwide reach to promote the film through its Larry King Special programme which interviewed actors before the red carpet premiere.Time magazine also ran special features on Harry Potter before and after the film was released to not only ensure people went to watch it at the cinema but keep interest up for DVD sales.

Example, continued
Warner Brothers used its International cinema chain (New Line) to show the film to a worldwide audience. The studio focuses on worldwide growth of the cinema industry in order to promote the future success of Warner Brothers Pictures productions.

In America HBO broadcast the films premier, allowing HBO to profit from showcasing a worldwide box office hit, but also benefited Warner Bros due to the integration with Time Warner.
Star Theory
Film stars have always primarily been the reason why audiences go to watch films, and have remained as a marketing tool since the very start of Hollywood.

Richard Dyer's idea of star theory is that film stars are manufactured products of film studios, used for financial gain. He said; "Stars are images constructed in all kinds of media texts other than films, but none the less films remain privileged instances of the stars image."

Star Theory Continued
This manufacturing and retailing of stars was much more restricted at the early beginning of Hollywood. Stars would have long and restricted contracts by Studios who wanted to keep tight control of their work. There would be punishments for those actors who abused the terms of the contract.

Star vehicles would be a device used by studios to create star persona. Roles would be given to the actor to maintain the qualities within the persona and set up publicity stunts to further create this 'mask' worn by the stars.
Example of Star Persona at Warner Bros
Bette Davis, a two timed award winning actress was considered as a ‘a strong-willed independent thinker as confrontational as any man’. She was not a typical Hollywood actress but her star persona made a lasting impression, especially at her time with Warner Brothers. Bette Davis signed a seven-year contract with the Warner Brothers studio, but was unhappy with the roles given to her. She had small parts and a low salary, and in 1036 fled to England. She sued Warner Brothers, and although she lost her roles from then on became bigger and better. Films such as Marked Woman (1936, Lloyd Bacon) and Jezebel (1938, William Wyler) defined her style; a ‘deliberate, clipped vocal inflection, darting eyes and penetrating stares, swinging, striding walk’ and ‘clenching fists’ (Christine Gledhill)
Star Persona of Bette Davis
Bette Davis became a trademark of Warner Brothers and it was an assurance for the studio that audiences would come to watch any film she was in, because of her persona and mannerisms. Their priority was to show recognizable star personas to meet the audiences expectation. For example, Davis’s character in Dark Victory (1939) is to die a painless death a few hours after going blind; while not realistic, it promotes Davis’s performance. Bette Davis was usually portrayed as unstable women or doomed in love. Married four times, Davies roles paralleled her love life. She was also known as being extremely difficult to work with and had arguments with directors.
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