The Hollywood Formula


Christina Klein (2004, p. 361)describes Hollywoodisation somewhat bleakly, saying that “global Hollywood is gobbling up a seemingly ever-increasing share of the world’s film markets and in doing so is driving local industries to the brink of collapse and homogenizing the world’s film culture.” This is directly seen in the way that Asian films have taken on various tropes of Hollywood films, not excluding the happy ending or the good-looking hero.

‘Pride and Prejudice’, starring Keira Knightley, is an example of a non-American film that has been Hollywoodised. Deborah Cartmell (2010, p. 12) states how this “major film uses celebrity status in the form of Keira Knightley as Elizabeth, and, to a lesser extent, Judi Dench as Lady Catherine, to draw in the crowds.” Another Hollywoodisation is the use of a 21st century American ideal of beauty, with several of the main actresses, but in particular Keira Knightley, being too thin for the idea of 18th or 19th century beauty.

Cowen discusses globalisation in terms of “increased cross-cultural exchange, expanded consumer preferences and greater aesthetic diversity” (cited in Klein 2004, p. 361), painting this concept of globalisation—and also, Hollywoodisation—in a more positive light. Whether a good or bad thing, it’s safe to say that cinema cultures are being watered down through denationalisation.

The audience for Hollywood films has shifted in the last decade, and Frederick Wasser (1995, p. 42) says, “On a per capita basis the American viewer is of no more importance [than] any other member of the global audience” (p. 424)—showing that a significant proportion of the viewers are now from other countries. While almost all  blockbusters and the majority of big-name films are still produced in California, their success no longer hinges solely on the American, or even Western, market.

Wasser (1995, p. 428) says that, “Pictures had to be targeted to a market, not to a nation. Distributors tried to appeal to different demographic groups, in particular, youth.” This shows the move toward a different way for the media to market new films, and how they had to employ a sense of hybridity to appeal to a wider audience.

In 2013, advertising companies are being pushed to find newer, better and more diverse ways of presenting a film because the idea of a success or blockbuster is being driven to new heights.

<<< This post was written and published in 2013 on a previous blog of mine for a university class assessment. As such, some of the data may be outdated or inaccurate. >>>





Image: Boyle, L 2011, ‘Jane Austen’, retrieved 24 September 2013, <;.

2013, ‘IMBD’, retrieved 24 September 2013, <;.

Cartmell, D 2010, Screen Adaptations, Methuen Drama, retrieved 23 September 2013, <>.

Farlex, 2013, ‘The Free Dictionary’, retrieved 24 September 2013, <;.

Klein, C 2004, ‘Martial arts and globalisation of US and Asian film industries’, Comparative America Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 360-384.

Waller, G A 2013, ‘Senses of Success and the Rise of the Blockbuster’, Film History, vol. 25, no. 1/2 , pp. 11-18, retrieved 24 September 2013, <;.

Wasser, F 1995, ‘Is Hollywood America? The Trans-nationalization of the American Film Industry’, Critical Studies in Mass Communication, vol. 12, pp. 423-437.

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