Distribution and Exhibition in Warner bros. Philadelphia Theaters, 1935–1936

Authored by: Catherine Jurca

The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138955844
eBook ISBN: 9781315666051
Adobe ISBN:


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Before we heed the new cinema history’s call for “the possibility of film scholarship without films,” it is worth considering why individual films have captured so much attention for so long (Smoodin, 2007: 2). In the classical Hollywood era, a handful of major companies controlled production, distribution, and exhibition but billed themselves first and foremost to the public as makers of movies. Their rhetorical currency was the exciting individual release: the star-studded extravaganza, the meritorious programmer, and even, on occasion and with much self-congratulation, the unforeseen sleeper. The publicity machinery, including the ancillary world of fan magazines and gossip columns, revolved around the potential “hit” and the stars whose box office value helped to secure popular success. These were the projects that could be promoted to the hilt, that audiences most relished, that filled seats and the coffers of theaters and studios alike.

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