American independent cinema by Geoff King; Dawson Books

By Geoff King; Dawson Books

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60 Competition was not just between rival distributors but also internal. Miramax, for example, released the performance-based friendship drama Walking and Talking (1996) within days of two of its biggest films of the year, adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma and Irving Walsh’s Trainspotting. 8 million, sold to Miramax for $10 million and grossing $26 million in the USA. 62 A strong stock market provided the means for such investment. 66 Financial arrangements tended to become more complicated than ever, although there was little sign of a reduction in the level of production.

Two of these were mentioned in the Introduction: the generally conservative state of Hollywood from the late 1970s, which forced both filmmakers and audiences to look outside the mainstream institutions for more challenging or unconventional fare, and the 1980s boom in home video. 19 The growth of home video during the 1980s was astronomical. Penetration of video recorders into US households increased from three per cent in 1980 to nearly 75 per cent in 1989, creating an enormous demand for product.

The number of films able to occupy the middle ground of more stable and moderate success has been reduced. This is a process that dates back to the unexpected scale of commercial success enjoyed by sex, lies, and videotape, a break-though film for Miramax and for the Sundance festival, at the end of the previous decade. 2 million on the basis of advances for video rights from RCA/Columbia and Virgin. It was a hit at Sundance and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes before going on to gross $25 million in the USA and a global total of $100 million.

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