Mini-majors and Major Independents

Yannis Tzioumakis

in American Independent Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780748618668
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670802 | DOI:
Mini-majors and Major Independents

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The conglomeration of the Hollywood industry as well as the development of new distribution and exhibition technologies (home video, cable and satellite television) created the conditions for the formation of a new breed of independent film companies, which entered the film marketplace aggressively enough to eventually compete with the established players. For a large part of the 1980s one such company, Orion Pictures, threatened the dominance of the majors with the release of films such as Platoon and Dances with Wolves. The contradictions between its conglomerate structure and its business practices, and its persistence in maintaining its independence from the major studios during a period of mergers and takeovers inevitably brought its decline and eventual bankruptcy in 1991. The chapter discusses the conditions under which the new breed of independents came to rise and offers a detailed account of the history of Orion Pictures, which influenced many contemporary companies, especially Miramax that was established at the same time as Orion but which found success only after Orion's demise and under the corporate protection of Disney. Case study: House of Games (Mamet, 1987)

Keywords: Conglomeration; Mini-major; Major independent; Orion Pictures; Miramax

Chapter.  9245 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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