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Early Cinema

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

The Film Industry is Changing

The world is changing fast and so is the film industry.

Let’s remind ourselves of some of the key developments in the history of cinema.

On the 28th of December 1895 in Paris, the Lumière brothers projected ten short films to a paying audience. Their subsequent success was worldwide. In Pittsburgh, in 1905, a showman called Harry Davis introduced the hugely popular nickelodeons. By 1910, these were replaced by large modern theatres.

Film was becoming a mass-entertainment medium.

Ambitious entrepreneurs had crossed the United States offering short reels to delight and amaze audiences in theatres and halls. The business landscape of the moving image had begun.

Movie releases were generally handled in one of two ways: by States Rights or by Roadshow. With States Rights film producers sold their films to a local salesperson on a territorial basis.

In 1915, the film business had taken a more specialized form: Renting. The Kinematograph Renters' Society provided the means by which the interests of its members were organized and protected. However, the biggest chunk of the profits went to the States Rights salesperson.

The Roadshow was the more profitable option for the producers of a film. The producer contracted directly to present films at movie theatres or regional halls. By removing the need for the States Rights salesperson, producers were able to reap most of the rewards.

With massive strides in technology and innovation, the movie business went on to become a global and highly profitable phenomenon.

In 1946, 31 million cinema visits each week were recorded in Britain alone. By 1965 the global film industry had developed rapidly. Many of the well-known film studios in the USA still operate as film distribution companies.

Digital technology is now set to challenge current distribution models - restructuring the overall business of the moving image.

Films will always play a vital role in our lives. They not only entertain but can also celebrate the human experience and the world with all its fears, but equally all its wonders.

Most of all, great films can inspire our own creativity and imagination.

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