Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Ex_Machina Research

Ex_Machina (2015)

Producer- Ex_Machina was produced by DNA Films and Film4 Productions

Director- Alex Garland

Distributor- Universal Studios

Cast- Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Sonoya Mizuno

Budget- $15 million USD


Norway:  - Juvet Landscape Hotel, Alstad, Valldal (Nathan's mountain retreat)
                 - Sognefjord
                 - Valldal
                 - Briksdalen, Jostealsbreen National Park (Vertical panning shot before waterfall hike)
UK: - Bloomberg offices, Finsbury square, broadgate, London
        - Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire

Technology- No special effects were used and any included in the film were done in post-production. However, the Ex_Machina’s Virtual Reality team created a VR experience by using a custom built digital spherical stereo camera designed for use with its 3D rendering software. The result allowed the viewer, wearing the Samsung Gear VR headset, to look around the entire hi-res environment and to ‘meet’ Ava using a specialized Android Oculus playback app.

Number of screen - opening weekend- 17 screens

$9,571 (USA) (2 August 2015) (17 Screens)

Number of screens - peak number- $3,510,000 (USA) (10 May 2015) (2,004 Screens)

Box office figures- $33 million USD

Screens shown on- Ex-Machina was released in the UK on the 21st of January 2015. The film screened on the 14th of March the same year at the South by Southwest festival before the theatrical release in the US on the 10th of April.

Box office Figures-

The box office figures were $36.9 million.
$25,440,971 (USA) (
30 August 2015)
$25,434,333 (USA) (
23 August 2015)
$25,405,058 (USA) (
2 August 2015)
$25,361,484 (USA) (
19 July 2015)
$25,233,155 (USA) (
9 July 2015)
$24,954,673 (USA) (
21 June 2015)
$24,330,000 (USA) (
7 June 2015)
$23,587,000 (USA) (
31 May 2015)
$21,947,000 (USA) (
24 May 2015)
$19,566,000 (USA) (
17 May 2015)
$16,705,000 (USA) (
15 May 2015)
$15,762,000 (USA) (
10 May 2015)
$10,924,000 (USA) (
3 May 2015)
$6,827,930 (USA) (
26 April 2015)
$250,000 (USA) (
12 April 2015)
$36,659,611 (Worldwide) (
9 July 2015)
$26,187,268 (Worldwide) (
15 May 2015)
€89,727 (Netherlands) (
6 May 2015)
$29,501 (Portugal) (
15 May 2015)

Music (Composer of score)- The musical score was composed by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, who previously work with Andrew Garland (producer). A soundtrack album was released digitally on the 20th of January 2015, with a compact disc release in February 2015, by Invada Records.

SFX (Technology used)- There were no special effects, greenscreen or tracking markers used during the entire filming of Ex-Machina. All effects were done post-production, to create ‘Ava’s’ robotic feautures, they filmed the scenes both with and without the actress, which allowed to capture the background her. Her main features they wanted to keep were her hands and face, were rotoscoped (essentially drawn on) while the rest was digitally painted out.  The Ex_Machina’s Virtual Reality team created a VR experience by using a custom built digital spherical stereo camera designed for use with its 3D rendering software. The result allowed the viewer, wearing the Samsung Gear VR headset, to look around the entire hi-res environment and to ‘meet’ Ava using a specialized Android Oculus playback app. It was filmed in digital at 4K resolution. 15,000 mini-tungsten pea bulb lights were installed into the sets to avoid the fluorescent light often used in science fiction films. The film was shot like ordinary live action. There were no special effects, greenscreen, or tracking markers used during filming. All effects were done in post-production. To create Ava's robotic features, they filmed the scenes both with and without actress Alicia Vikander's presence, which allowed them to capture the background behind her. The parts they wanted to keep, especially her hands and face, were then rotoscoped while the rest was digitally painted out and the background behind her restored. Camera and body tracking systems transferred Vikander's performance to the CGI robot's movements. In total, there were about 800 VFX shots, of which 350 or so were robot shots. Other visual effects were Ava's clothes seen through the transparent areas of her body, Nathan's blood after being stabbed and the interior of the artificial brains.


Apply each of the seven areas from the specification to each film:

Issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice

Film4 and DNA Films were responsible for the making of the film. Both of them are small companies especially when compared to other film companies e.g. 20th Century Fox. This can impact on the quality and number of resources and technology the companies have access to. Film4 is a British company owned by Channel 4 Television Corporation . DNA Films is also a British company and one of the most successful production companies located in the UK. Both of the companies are successful in their own way and have been behind some big and successful films e.g. DNA Films was involved with the production of the 2003 film Love Actually. Neither of them are global companies or successful worldwide which makes them a smaller company but they are good at what they do. The film only had a small budget as well, it makes more sense to have smaller production companies who are more used to working with a lower budget as it's more likely they would be able to manage it effectively and cover what they need. Sometimes people prefer working with smaller production companies if they have a certain vision for the film, as sometimes the work of bigger companies can affect the overall look of the film.

The importance of cross media convergence for institutions and audiences

The film was distributed by Universal Pictures, they are able to use their name and power to get the word out there about the film and get it on as many screens as possible. They were behind the advertising for the film and released the trailers for the film in order to spread the word and get their audience interested. Both Film4 and DNA Films are small production companies, if they worked with a small distributor then the film wouldn't get anywhere and it wouldn't be as successful as it was. By working with a big distributor like Universal Pictures it is more likely that the film will be more widespread and generate a bigger audience than it would with a small distributor. Universal Pictures have an advanced understanding about the film industry and what audiences like and don't like. In order to minimise the risk of a loss, they will be careful with how many screens they choose to show the film on. Universal helped finance the film in exchange for worldwide sale rights. However, after the film was finished, Universal decided that the film was too quirky for a big studio release. They knew that it wouldn't work in the way they thought it would so tried to sell the rights to somebody else. Eventually the distributor A24, known for working with indie films, picked it up and put it in cinemas in the US. Initially the film was only shown on 4 screens but just a week later that number had raised to 2,050. This is a clear example of how successful the film was in the US box office as it made such a significant jump.

 The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange

Ex-Machina only had a small budget so they couldn't spend a lot of money on special effects and green screens during production. Also, they were working with small production companies who just didn't have the access to high quality technology like some other bigger production companies would. All of the special effects were added in post-production. This meant that they had to prepare for this during production knowing that they would have to edit it later to create the effect they wanted. An example of this is the appearance of Alicia Vikander's character who is a robot with a transparent middle section. In order to add in this transparent effect later on the production team filmed the scenes both with and without her to capture the background behind her. When it got to the stage of post-production they rotoscoped her hands and face, the main features they wanted to keep, then digitally painted the rest of her body and restored the background. This then completed the final look of her with features of both the scenes with her, without her and the post-production effects that digitally painted the rest of her body on. They didn't use any tracking markers during filming, they just relied on camera and body tracking systems to transfer to the robot's CGI movements. The entire film was filmed in digital, which is a cheaper way to film especially for distribution of the film because most cinemas have the technology for digital films instead as that is the format most companies film on.

The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences

To make the film available further after the film has been released in the cinema the distributors have to work to find ways for the film to be released that fit in with what modern audiences want. Modern audiences are more likely to stream a film online or through an app with an online subscription than actually going out and buying the film. Films are still released on DVD as there are still audiences that buy them in this format and there are some people who won't use streaming services. If they don't use services and formats that fit nearly everyone then they are at risk of losing a chunk of their market. The film is available on Blu-Ray, DVD, Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, Playstation Video and Youtube. They have ensured that the film is available on a number of different services so that nearly anyone could go access to the film if they wanted to. The internet helps both conglomerates and independents to distribute their films. Viral marketing is free and creates good synergy around a film. e.g. Ex_Machina synergy with social media websites. Relied on viral marketing with the Ava sessions. However, the internet could negatively affect independents and conglomerates. Internet piracy is common and we can easily download new films from the internet. Conglomerates tend to budget for piracy, but independents are affected much more.  Mobile phones, have affected the film industry as we can in theory create and edit films on our own devices. We can also download films on them and watch them on there or an IPad or tablet. And because conglomerates are horizontally and vertically integrated they can engage with every new piece of technology as soon as it comes available on their market.

The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences

The main marketing campaign that the promotional team ran was on Tinder. They created a profile for Ava, the robot in the film, using pictures of Alicia Vikander. The campaign was launched at the South by Southwest Festival where the film was screened. Ava was matched with other Tinder users who could get to the festival. In the conversation she would send them to the Instagram handle that they thought was hers but was actually promoting the film. The idea behind this was to engage with a younger audience by using an app they may have and interacting with them directly. It was important for the team to reach out to their audience with a medium that suited their target audience.

The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions

The promotion team had an issue with the big marketing campaign they launched on Tinder. The campaign was met with mixed responses, it did well and proved to be effective but most people had more negative views of it. Many people described it as being 'counter-productive', 'an invasion of privacy', 'trolling' and 'trickery'. Even though it was effective it didn't get the best response from the audience they were targeting which doesn't make it a very successful campaign on the whole. Another issue with this is that it only targets audience members who were in that area, which is only a small area, so even though the campaign may have been successful in general it wouldn't have targeted a large audience on a national basis.

The ways in which the candidates' own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour

I think it's a definite fact that audiences, specifically younger audiences, are more likely to watch a film streamed online than they are to go and see it at the cinema. Often there are a lot of films that we may be interested in but not enough to pay to go and see it at the cinema or maybe it isn't on at a cinema near us and we don't want to travel. The thing that audiences like most about streaming services is having the ability to watch on the go or from the comfort of their own home, they are able to watch it on their phone/laptop without having to use their TV. I think it's important to ensure films are readily available online, as this is where modern audiences are more likely to watch it especially if the film is shown on a limited number of screens.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Media Essay

“Successful media products depend as much upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as they do upon good production practices”

To some extent, I agree with the statement made as within the film industry, the distribution and marketing of the film is the most vital component that contributes to the films overall financial success. In order for specific films to achieve high box office figures, the film has to provide the widest and most effective forms of distribution and attract the largest audience possible. This is vital for larger production companies such as Walt Disney Motion Productions, who are exceedingly famous for their execution and perfection in the control and influence of the production of the films made. This is due to the control and heavy influence that the production company has on the audience, allowing them to distribute their films globally- in a successful manor. And because of their successful and respected status as a production company, they’re able to collaborate with TV companies, printed media as well as various other globally recognised companies. This allows Disney to further widen the film’s success and audience.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures are a huge company that distributed and produced Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which meant that they were able to advertise the film very easily. The large budget allowed them to advertise Star Wars in multiple ways, which catered to a variety of different audience types. The printed and online media advertisement (posters, Facebook pages, adverts, trailers etc..) This production company has an exceptional experience with producing films that achieve good reviews and a high box office figure. This is due to the fact that a variety of different element combine, allowing Disney to receive a lot of power, respect, influence and money. When marketing Star Wars; The Force Awakens, Disney used their knowledge and experience from previous success in films to create one of the most successful marketing campaigns yet. Disney also used its franchise to their advantage, as before the film was released Disney rereleased all of the six previous Star Wars films, making them available to stream online on movie sites such as Netflix. This meant that the original audience were able to reminisce and remind themselves of the old films, which got them more excited for the upcoming films. However, the use of new actors meant that the franchise was started again, which further attracted people to watch the new film. Disney Motion Pictures were able to collaborate with different companies and businesses, massively impacting the overall marketing of the film. This was made apparent when Walt Disney Motion Pictures marketed Star Wars: The Force Awakens by amalgamating with Lego, by releasing Star Wars Lego figurines and a variety of other Lego franchise. This not only promoted Star Wars: The Force Awakens, prior to the release of the film, by educating children about the upcoming film. The use of children’s toys also allowed the buyers- parents in most cases- to almost guess at what the films going to be about, based on the toys and franchise released. This essentially worked as a teaser trailer, as it got people excited and talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Not only did Disney market and promote Star Wars by collaborating with Lego, but they also made a deal with Google, which enabled them to produce a customised search bar. This allowed anyone using the internet to choose if they wanted to join the ‘dark side’ or the ‘light side’. And because Google is a multimillion dollar earning company, that has attracted over 300 million people since released. This massively impacted and widened the target audience, as if they hadn’t heard of Star Wars they were given the choice to click on the search bar and find out more. Disney further promoted and advertised the upcoming film by releasing an app on the Apple App Store, due to Apple’s control on today’s generation, the release of the app attracted an enormous group of people, encouraged a greater amount of people to look into the film. Although all of these forms of marketing massively increased the amount of money the film earnt, the most successful form of marketing was the release of the two teaser trailers, both of these trailers attracted and excited a global population due to the unanswered questions in the trailer, almost acting as a cliff hanger. The trailer was not only released in English but also in Chinese, which widened the audience, making it a global audience. This was important as it shows the importance of marketing, as without advertising a film, less people would know about it. This is why the control Disney has on a global audience massively impacts the sales of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


Disney also used social media as a good way to market the film. And due to social media being a fairly new invention, a large minority of today’s population use and rely on it for daily life. Therefor if used to market or promote films, a large minority of people are able to witness this in the comfort of their own home, making this a more flexible form of marketing. Disney were able to use popular social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr to enabled them to showcase the upcoming film (Star Wars: The Force Awaken.) This was a very knowledgeable strategy due to the brobdingnagian number of people who uses social media. This not only tackled a wide range of the audience- due to it being promoted and marketed on all forms of media- but it also meant that it was difficult to have no knowledge about the upcoming Star Wars. This has an extensive effect on the success of the film, as attracting and informing a larger audience will result in a greater amount of people attending the cinemas and purchasing the film when it is actually released.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was distributed by Disney Motion Pictures, the film was not only available in cinemas, but also through online downloads, via Blu-ray and DVD.  This meant that people could fundamentally watch the film anywhere. Lucas films- the sole production company and distributer of the film- was bought by Disney making it a vertical integration. However there were some aspects of horizontal integration as other distribution companies were involved E.G. Bad Robot. Bad Robot is owned by J.J Abrams (the director of Star Wars: The force Awakens). This had a significant impact on the success of the film, as J.J Abrams is a very famed film producer and director who directed a variety of action films such as Star Trek and Mission Impossible a lot of experience in film making. In addition, Abrams is also a well known and highly respected person in the film industry. This would have been a selling point for the new film as those who recognise his name or have enjoyed his previous films, will be eager to see his latest creation. Both of the films he directed or produced fulfilled a high box office figure and attracted a large audience and were successful films in the film industry. Which means that J.J Abrams is seen as an iconic director and therefor will further entice a larger audience when releasing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Similarly, Kathleen Kennedy is an immensely famous film producer as well as being the president of Lucasfilms, who produced a variety of prominent films such as ET, Jurassic Park, Sixth Sense and War horse, which are both widely known around the world. This further attracted more people as they associate Kathleen with the success and popularity of the other films that she produced.

The film was captured on 35 mm and 65 mm IMAX and was distributed digitally. By distributing the film digitally not only did it save the production company lots of money- due to filming traditionally being an exceptional expensive process- but it also meant it was transported more easily. If the movie was both filmed and distributed on film, although Disney Motion Pictures could afford to do so, it is still a very expensive process, the reason why distributing films digitally is cheaper than the traditional way of distributing film, is because 35mm IMAX is eminently fragile, which means that it’s harder to mend if broken. The film is run through a projector numerous times and then begins to degrade - often developing scratches and blemishes which lowers the quality of the film dramatically. As well as being cheaper and more durable, digital distribution allows the film to be shown on platforms such as iTunes as well as on aeroplanes and on online streaming. This will encourage more people to watch the film and those who may not be able to travel to the cinemas will be given the opportunity to watch the film before it is released on DVD, despite the film being shown on around 6000 cinema screens around the world.

Prior to the purchase of Lucasfilms by Disney Motion pictures, all of the previous Star Wars films were produced by George Lucas (the founder of Lucasfilms). When Disney took ownership of Lucasfilm on 30th October 2012, they began to work on the first film- that was previously owned by Lucasfilm- changing and keeping certain aspects of the film. Despite the speculation people were making about how the film would turn out, this attracted a new audience, due to hearing about the new film. This meant that the Star Wars was able to expand its audience. Disney has a reputation of creating magical and exceptionally good films due to the high budgets they have to do so. The magical aspect attracted not only traditional Star Wars fans but children and families, which meant that it created a wider audience for the new Star Wars film. To ensure that the marketing campaign the widest group of people possible, Disney participated in a lot of brand partnerships. The Disney team collaborated with Cover Girl- the makeup brand- this worked well to capture the female section of the four quadrants. All of these aspects contributed towards the achievement of attracting all people in the four quadrants at a global scale.

Aside from the distribution and marketing of the film, the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was of a very high quality. Due to the fall in quality and success of the previous films, traditional fans were left disappointed, which meant that those involved in the production of Star Wars; The Force Awakens felt as though they had a heavy responsibility to impress their fans. The production team therefor wanted to use their failure of the previous films to inspire them to introduce new and different ways of creating the film. The team looked at why the first films in the franchise were such a success and used these techniques in the upcoming films. When Walt Disney Motion Pictures, bought full access to all of the characters and story lines, they were able to initially plan what they were going to do to improve the franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was purposely filmed on 35 and 65mm film, Disney did this as they wanted to incorporate all aspects of the older films, and increase success. Disney filmed on film- despite it being a difficult process- as they argued that by doing so it would not only link the new and the old together but would produce a better quality film. However, they later distributed the film onto digital which made it easier to screen onto more cinema screens, due to only 15 theatres in the world having the traditional format, in where traditional film can be showcased.

Due to the fact that the first initial films were created in 1977, time has moved on and so has the technology advancements. As in 1977 there was very little technology to work with, therefore as a substitution they used real explosions, created all the costumes for the characters and used painted sets. Although technology has advanced, some of the techniques used in 1977 still featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for example real explosions were used when Ray and Fin were running through the desert to add authenticity to the scene. However, advancements in technology means that although costumes were still handmade, CGI could be used to computer generate characters like Maz. The use of painted backgrounds as well as green screens meant that the traditional and modern audience, were attracted to the cinema. The use of green screens attracted a modern audience as the use of new technology increased the quality and genuineness of the film; however the use of painted backgrounds brought back aspects from the first successful films attracting the original audience.

Disney Motion Pictures made the audience feel nostalgic by bringing back old stars like Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, attracting the older traditional audience. This brings in more money as an elderly audience has a higher rate of disposable income. However, by employing new actors such as Daisy Ridley and John Boyega that hadn’t acted in any other films, the actors have no associations to other films, starting the franchise again. This makes the audience continuingly associating the particular actors to the Star Wars franchise.

Due to Disney being a leading and popular global company, they’re able to spend more money on the production of certain films E.G. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This was made apparent when Walt Disney Motion pictures spent $306 million dollars on the production of the film; this not made it easy to produce an exceptionally good quality film, including new technology, a vast majority of locations and outstanding special effects. But it also meant it was easier to market and distribute.

Therefore, in conclusion, I believe that this film’s success was equally dependent upon marketing and distribution to a specific audience as upon good production practices. Although, marketing and distribution is one of the most important steps of the success of a film, as by advertising something a larger group of people are able to know about it. As seen by the drop in box office figures from the previous Star Wars films, the production practices are just as important.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens research

The issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice

Whether it be film, music, TV, video games or even printed media e.g. magazines, books or newspapers, all forms of media need to be owned by a legal owner, as it allows different branching production companies to have the rights of different characters. For example, Walt Disney owns Lucasfilm, and therefor is able to have access to all of the worldwide gross that each film Lucasfilm produces, as well as having the rights to all of the characters involved in Lucasfilms.


Star Wars The Force Awakens Theatrical Poster.jpgWhich is shown in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a film initially owned by Lucasfilms and Bad Robot- a production company owned by J.J Abrams, the director and producer of this film. However, Lucasfilms was later bought by Walt Disney, giving Walt Disney the full rights and an equal input into the film. This had a very heavy influence on the production of the film as due to Walt Disney being a bigger media company than Bad Robot and Lucasfilms, they were able to produce a higher quality film. This is due to the fact that Walt Disney is the 2nd biggest media company in the world, which has a revenue of $52.46 billion dollars. This allows Walt Disney to produce a better film due to being able to spend a high budget on the film, also allowing different media companies to team up and group together to produce a film. This has a massive influence on the overall quality of the film, as due to having more money, they’re able to spend more money on casting ‘A list celebrities’, as well as spending money on good filming spots, good technology and other important aspects, essential in film producing and making. By doing so it allows all of these aspects to add up to improve the overall success of the film prior to it being released, which is one of the main reasons why Star Wars: The Force Awakens was such a success in the box office. Due to having the same cast enterior to the previous Star Wars films e.g. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as well as having up to date technology such as CGI and puppeteering to produce different characters in the film such as Maz and B-B8.


All of the different production and media companies are fighting and competing against each other in order to receive a greater amount of success, as well as a higher worldwide gross. Which means that certain production companies are able to produce bigger films. This makes it harder for smaller production companies to produce successful films as its commonly seen that bigger, well-known companies produce a better film than a smaller budget film, and as a result theyre able to gain a larger audience due to being recognized by the target audience, as well as gaining other audiences. This worked in Star Wars’ favor, as the recent purchase of Lucasfilms and therefor Star Wars as a whole allowing the success of the film to exceed. However, it is still possible for small budget films to achieve success. For example- The Kings Speech was a low budget film, costing around 15 million USD to produce, advertise and film etc. Nevertheless, it was a very successful film, doing well in box office due to the targeted audience. The King speech, achieved such success due to the brilliant marketing by Momentum, the British distributors attracted an American audience due to simply hiring a British cast, and including some ‘A list celebrities’ such as Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. As a result, it achieved a great result, earning a domestic total gross of $135,453,143 USD. But it is highly unlikely that smaller production companies produce films that do well, as bigger production companies have lots of things that are stacked up to improve the success of a film.

This is demonstrated when Walt Disney bought Lucasfilms for $4 billion dollars, as it was a massive move, opening up lots of doors, allowing them to improve the Star Wars franchise. Due to having the ability and budget to do so. For example, there was new casting of characters, bringing about a female heroin and a new perspective on the Star Wars films.  This is portrayed in other Disney Films such as Brave and Frozen, where women take heroic roles. Nevertheless, Disney didn’t change Star Wars’ authentic feel as they filmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens on film instead of using a digital camera, which reestablishes the iconography, this is also done by bringing back iconic props such as the millennium falcon, as well as restoring the original cast.  



The importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing Wars: The Force Awakens, was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Picures. Walt Disney is a prodigious production and marketing company in the movie making industry, which means they have a high budget as well as a large amount of funds to advertize, publish and produce the film. However, smaller production companies such as Lucasfilm and Bad Robot submitted ideas and worked with Walt Disney to improve the film, due to George Lucas initially owning Lucasfilm, and writing all of the previous Star Wars films. Disney later bought Lucasfilms, therefor restoring the rights to the Star Wars franchise which allowed them to discharge George Lucas’ due to the previous three Star Wars films, not achieving the Worldwide gross that they were expecting to receive.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures are a huge company, which meant that they were able to advertise the film very easily. The large budget allowed them to advertise Star Wars: The Force Awakens in multiple ways, which catered to a variety of different audience types. The printed and online media advertisement (posters, facebook pages, adverts, trailers etc..) were catered towards teenagers and the elderly as these are the greater minority of people able to go to the cinema to watch the film, due to them having lots of disposable income and having more ‘free time’. For young children, that are too young to watch and understand the film itself, Disney brought out lots of merchandise and toys, which meant the children were able to feel like a part of the film itself, without having to watch it. Which gives the film a magical feel, as they’re able to buy lightsabers and are able to dress up in fancy costumes made by Disney and feel like a character in the film. However, Disney also catered to all audience types by producing a short trailer for not only an English audience, but also producing a similar trailer with Chinese subtitles for the large Chinese audience. This meant that people worldwide were able to have an insite into what the film will be like, building up excitement when they are able to see what the films going to be about and who’s starring in it.



The technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the level of production, distribution, marketing and exchange

There are a variety of different ways in which a film can be distributed and marketed. One of these is that marketing can be done virally instead of posters and trailers in the cinemas that attracts on a smaller scale. This type of marketing influenced Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Disney was branding the films by bringing toys to the marketplace before the movie was actually released. This got everyone excited, based on the fact that they could see the film being advertised in shop windows of big chain stores, prior to being released. This also got children understanding who the characters were, so that when the film was released they had a better understanding. However, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures made different divisions collaborate and then complement each-others marketing, as seen when they created new products e.g. Star Wars children’s toys and Star Wars collectables. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was also marketed using other forms of marketing such as film trailers. They used peering trailers for TV advertisement and other forms of media, which got people interested in the movie due to not having disclosure of the content and storyline, which drew people to the cinemas.

LEGO also helped market the film, by releasing new Lego figures and vehicles based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as releasing a mobile app during the release of the film in order to gain publicity from a larger audience. By allowing big chain stores to collaborate, this promoted the film at a faster rate, due to them complimenting each-others marketing.

The internet has changed the way we watch films and consume them. This is because of the introduction of digital films, 3D DVD, Blu-ray, internet streaming and downloadable content.  Instead of going out cinemas now to watch a film, we now mostly stream it on our phones, tablets and laptops. This is because it is easier and sometimes works out cheaper. We buy DVD and Blu-rays, but now people are just renting the movie and then streaming it because of the convenience. This results in less people going to the cinema because they would rather sit at home and within a few clicks they are watching a movie. wars the force awakens was not only released in the cinemas in 2D and 3D, it was also released on Blu-ray Disc,  BD-50 disc, DVD, iTunes digital copy, Google Play digital and a release date for the Blu-ray 3D  is soon to be released. These are all legal copies which means that a wider targeted audience can purchase these films due to being a larger variety of type of the film that they want to purchase, it was also later released on Sky, which meant that the amount of time it was selling was prolonged due to people being able to rent or buy the movie on Sky. To compliment the release of the film on sky, Sky brought out a star wars themed Sky remotes, there was a remote that resembled each of the important star wars characters , which meant that more people knew about the film and how to find it. As if sky was marketing Star Wars themed remotes, they must be showing Star Wars movies on sky movies. This means that the lack of DVD players  in the 21st century wasn’t an issue as although these forms of film copies were available for people who have a DVD player or a TV that could play DVD’s, there was still an alternative option for people who didn’t, as they could just watch it directly from their TV without having to put anything into the TV. This meant that the film could be purchased anywhere, at home, in shops, online, in the cinema which meant that a larger amount of people knew about it as it was being marketed everywhere. Even though the release of legal copies of the film rocketed sales, the improvement of modern technology meant that illegal copies could be put online which allowed people to access them online for free. Sites like Putlocker and Movies123 released this film on their websites, whilst it was being screened in the cinemas and whilst it had not been released in digital for i.e DVD, Blu-ray etc.. This massively impacted the sales as people would rather watch it online for free than buy the movie.  

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was distributed digitally, the reason they did so is that although it was filmed o film due to them having the budget to do so, the digital format is easier and cheaper to distribute as sending an encrypted hard drive is easier than transporting and setting up multiple reels of film. There was also the fact that many film projectors have been replaced with digital counterparts, which meant that if it was distributed on film, a small minority of cinemas would be able to screen it, which would decrease the amount of money the film made, as a smaller minority of people would be able to see it.

4.The significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences

Over the last 10 years technology has been advancing at an increasing rate. Some examples of technologies that have help the development and advances to the film industry are:  1. Soundtracks - these are used to emphasise 'Mise en Scene', but then is sold to places like these so people have access to them. 2. Advertising - before companies used to print poster out so that everyone could see them on buses, taxi's, shop windows. Nowadays we use promotion, TV, instant video, radio, magazine, and apps to advertise the products so that it can generate some of its own hype for the movie as well. Film companies have had to alter the way they work because many people nowadays have 'smartphones'. This means that they can now stream content from the internet right to their phone. This advancement of technology, shows that the demand for online streaming is increasing, people must enjoy watching the films in the comfort of their own homes instead of going to the cinema, which is why these websites are being made. Disney Motion Pictures had to spend more time and money making the trailer outstanding, as well as producing different trailers for different countries in order to attract more people to the cinema. Due to online streaming being an on-going issue for big production companies.  A completely different trailer was produced for China as China is an important and large country that is involved in the production of lots of technology, which means that Star Wars would want to be released in this country as it would attract a lot of people and money, as seen in the large box office figure of $800 million in China alone. Due to online streaming decreasing the amount of money Star Wars: The Force Awakens made-by a massive amount- many people have estimated that amount of money lost by online piracy and have estimated that the box office figure could’ve increased by at least $2 million dollars for Star Wars: The Force awakens. If online streaming wasn’t available it would mean that more people would see it in the cinema, however this is an issue many production companies are faced with.


5.The importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences was no CGI before 1973, but the introduction of this technology, this improved the film industry as it allowed film companies to add computer-generated imagery in film.  By having this technology the new Star Wars film was able to have a variety of CGI characters such as the character Maz. CGI has improved since 1973 rapidly, which meant that the characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens looked extremely realistic, giving them humanistic and alien like features. It’s more and more uncommon for films not to make use of CGI in one way or another, as it often saves on production costs. The internet is very important for the sales of films because it is changing the manner in which films are consumed and distributed, not to mention the types of films we watch and who is making them. Instant access, worldwide distribution and everyone with a cellphone are now all contributing to the sales of Star Wars: The force Awakens, as online advertisement and trailers meant that everyone knew about it prior to the release date. The internet is now the most democratised medium available. As it allows us to see things straight away, without having to do or go anywhere. In the comfort of our own home and recent forms of technology allow us to access anything online anywhere due to introducing 3G, which makes things more accessable. New formats e.g. web shows, podcasts and new ways of accessing video e.g. streaming, downloading means that the power has shifted from the industry to the consumers, which could be a positive or negative aspect due to decreasing the amount of money spent watching the films in cinemas of on DVD. Other important technologies include multiple-camera setups, non-linear editing, cable television, stereoscopic imaging (3D) and Motion Capture Technology as all of these forms of technology improve the experience of the movie, making it appear better.


6.The issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions-  the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions; (how do film companies try and attract their audience? Do they do different things in different countries?) How was the film marketed in the USA, Europe and the rest of the world (particular focus here on China).

There can be a number of issues when trying to target international audiences or British audiences. It is important to target a wide audience as this will make more profit, especially if the audience is particularly interested in the concept of the film and enjoy watching films from a specific director or production studio.  The first issue is that when distributing a film internationally, there will be a limited understanding of the context within in the film due to cultural differences. By bringing back the traditional cast as well as introducing new cast members this meant that only a small minority of people will know the a list celebrities involved in Star Wars. Star Wars the force awakens was targeted at not only already existing star wars fans, but new fans that have noticed the popularity of the film, due to pre-production and marketing techniques. The re-release of the previous Star wars films, meant that new star wars fans had an over view of what to expect with the new film. The new production company (Disney motion pictures who bought lucasfilms) used its wide audience and big company budget to guide a new audience to watch the film. This film was filmed in England, London in the Pinewood Studios as well as other countries which meant that it was not only aimed at a British audience but at a worldwide audience. This meant that a lot of people knew about the film. British film makers often make social realism films and aim them at local and regional audience whereas this would be enough for the major media players who tend to make high budget, high concept films distributed to a mass international audience. The variety of film makers, meant that there weren’t only British film makers but American, by having these film makers there were aspects of the film that catered to different audience types, making it an almost universal film.

However, by including stars like Harrison Ford it would attract a small audience, as only British and American audiences would know who he is and won’t attract anyone else.  Therefore, this is an issue for the British film institutions as they will be limited as to what size of audience they can appeal to.  The second issue is that it costs more to distribute a film internationally than it would to release the film primarily in Britain. However, this wasn’t an issue as Disney Motion Pictures had a high budget, which meant that they had the money to spend on the distribution.  Star Wars the force awakens was  released worldwide and was able to achieve attraction from a mass audience. This was because the film was produced by a large media conglomerate, Disney, who have their own distribution companies to release films more widely and easily. Even if Disney did not have these companies, the likelihood is that they’d still be able to distribute the film to same extent because they have the money to do so. The budget for Star Wars the force awakens had a budget of $306 million  and with this, the production company would be able to distribute the film internationally, and also without the need to worry about making losses in doing so because Disney are already an established and successful business and their films are often highly-anticipated and desired by mainstream audiences. However, for independent studios, it is more difficult to distribute to a wider audience without having to pay extra costs that may go over the budget of the film. The independent film Pride was unable to be distributed worldwide without having to turn to multiple distributors. For example, the distributor in the UK were Pathé, however Mozinet to Hungary and Golem Distribución distributed to Spain. The reason why independent studios cannot distribute their own films and must turn to other distributors if they wish to release the film overseas is because they are not media conglomerates meaning that they do not have subsidiaries that deal with the distribution of the film. The third issue is that language can be a barrier and determines whether an audience actually watches a film. Money has to be spent on subtitling or dubbing a film and production companies need to consider whether is a film is worth the cost of allowing an audience to understand the film. Star Wars the force awakens was an English speaking film, however Chinese subtitles were added when released in china as well as 7 other countries, which meant that a lot of money must be been spent on adding these subtitles.


7.The ways in which the candidates’ own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour. own personal experiences of the way in which media is changing vary from the differences in prices but also in the new technologies in which our generation is throwing at us. It’s not just in cinemas that we watch films anymore. When films first came out it was only at the cinema that people could consume film, then in the 1970’s it was widely available on VHS. VHS was then outdated by DVD and then it became available in HD (high definition) which has now become outdated by blue-ray. It isn’t just on the big screens of cinema that film is available but also on the big screens at home as televisions are getting bigger, so the film experience can now be replicated at home. Film has also moved onto the smaller screens of phones and mp4 players by downloads.  Due to this film has to attract its viewers again by issuing deals for example orange Wednesdays and student Thursdays. Now media companies are buying rights to show films on their television channels for example film flex and sky movies. All of this takes away cinemas viewers and can place them in the same cinema situations at home. Marketing of films has also changed our experience as we can almost be brain washed into watching “blockbuster” as they are everywhere, therefore Lucasfilms as well as Disney Motion Pictures can almost monopolise the market as smaller film companies can be overshadowed as they cannot afford to market their films with such authority. This worked in Star Wars the force awakens’ favour as Disney motion pictures was a big production company which meant that lots of people knew about it and therefor it was easy for a larger audience to be attracted, however it would be a bad thing for smaller production companies as there films wouldn’t do as well.