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19 Cards in this Set

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What, when, who, how, why? Briefly cover their effect on cinema.


Intellectual property involving the same central characters, settings and trademarks of an original wok of media such as film.

Franchise Importance

Franchises have become the dominant format for films in Hollywood. The modern reliance on franchises began with the release of X-Men (1999) and The Matrix (1999).

Franchise Success

Of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time, 7 are franchises, of 2014, all 10 are.


Pre-existing fan bases

The pros and cons of this approach.



Pre-existing Fan Bases

Producers can pick and choose the most popular stories, tapping into a massive pre-existing fan base. However, this approach runs the risk of misrepresenting the original property and alienating fans.

Bryan Singer's X-Men.


Franchises are designed to make profits, by using formulaic stories and '5 year plans'; telling the story over several franchises is a license to print money. Evidence of this is Marvel's schedule of releases over the next decade

8 Harry Potter films.

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.


Synergy is where most of the profit is made. If a franchise can capture a core audience it can maintain success (by staying true to it's form; Alien) and sell merchandise through many companies. This is called horizontal integration.

Case Study

Star Wars (Lucas, 1977)

Production budget: $11 million

Domestic gross: $307m

It's cultural neutrality afforded it international success, to a the degree that it doubled Fox's stock price in 3 weeks. In exchange for a lower salary, Lucas retained the merchandising and sequel rights, which is where the real money came from ($7bn).

Case Study

The Golden Compass (Weitz, 2007)

Production budget: $180 million

Domestic gross: $70m

It made $300m overseas, but New Line Cinema sold overseas rights to fund the production. It's anti-Christian themes were likely the reason for its poor US performance.


Harry Potter total gross: $2.9bn

Avengers gross: $623

Star Trek total gross: $1.3bn

Transformers total gross: $1.3bn

Lord of the Rings total gross: $1.7bn


Narnia total gross: $537m

Speed Racer gross: $43m

Eragon gross: $75m

Golden Compass gross: $70m

John Carter gross: $73m



Meeting audience expectations

Stars, genres and themes

Fan base

Film outcome


Audiences like repeatable and familiar experiences. Film franchises offer consistency, predictability, and a reliable experience that meets audience expectations - they establish a narrative and generic formula in the first film, and repeat.

Stars, Genres & Themes

Stars are often associated with certain genres, genres are often associated with certain themes and story formulas. This guarantees familiar scenarios that have been enjoyed in the past. These variables alone can also attract audiences (popular stars can sell a film).

Fan Base

Film franchises are often made with children in mind; they centre around familiar, fantasized characters children grew up with. Older generations are interested in how their favourite characters are portrayed on the screen.

Film Outcome

Test viewings can decided the relative fate of any film, from adjusting the title to changing the ending.

Sunset Blvd; beginning and ending was changed.

Case Study

Alien (Scott, 1979)

Production budget: $11 million.

Domestic gross: $79 million.

Universal themes, a blend of scifi and horror - bound to be popular. Ended on an open narrative to improve future films chances of success.



Long-term story arcs, four-quadrant markets. James Nolan's cerebral approach.


Guaranteed viewers and synergy.


Audience expectations.