Friday, 3 December 2010

Working Title production practices

Working Title;
  • Co-Chair people of working title are Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who have been listed as the most powerful figures in British industry.
  • They only have 42 full time staff, which is split between working title (main company) and low budget WT2.
  • Secret of their success? "The working title philosophy has always been to make films for an audience- by that I mean play in a multiplex. We totally believe in this because we know it is the only hope we have of sustaining the UK film industry"
  • Working Title was founded in 1984
  • 85 films have grossed more than $4 billion worldwide
  • They have won several awards; six academy awards, 26 BAFTA awards, 4 Oscars and prizes at Cannes and Berlin film festivals
  • Impressive catalogues of films from a wide range of genres; Billy Elliott, Johnny English, Love Actually and Shaun of the dead.
  • Their flops have been Wimbledon, Thunderbirds and Captain Corelli.
  • Blockbuster comedies of Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson who deliver punchy period films, political dramas, litery adaptation and family affairs.
  • Working Title launch fresh talent, such as directors Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice) and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott)
  • In addition to which it has launched 'Working Title 2' a subsidiary for low budget films with an 'independant' appeal
  • Their most successful genre is RomComs. The companies 'Treasure' is Hugh Grant.
  • Working Title was bought by Polygram, taken over by Universal in 1999. Bevan said "We were now part of a big structure, so we spent much less time on finding the money and much more on developing the scripts"
  • Universal own a 67% stake in the company, many of its recent films are co-productions with Studio Canal.
  • The remaining shares are owned by the companies founders which is the BBC and private investors.
  • Working title is clever and tactical about film projects. In 2004 they made Shaun of the Dead, and Bridget Jones 2, knowing they would financially be OK, because Thunderbirds was a flop the other two supported it.
  • They have to make 1 big blockbuster per year that makes $200-$400m in the box office revenues.
  • Is Working Titles lower budget film brand. Some of their productions are Billy Elliott (2000), Shaun of the dead (2004) and Ali G in da house. WT2 recently released Burn After Reading starring Brad Pitt and George Cloony.
  • A long history between American actors playing leading roles in British films; e.g Rene Zelwegger playing Bridget Jones.
  • The importance of release dates is vital, as it can make or break a films success. e.g films released in winter generally do better as the weather is colder and people spend more time indoors. Christmas films tend to do better if released in the Christmas period (Love Actually) , the same with Romantic films doing better around Valentines day.

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