A movie or film is a type of visual art that uses images and sounds to tell stories or teach people something. Most people watch movies to entertain themselves or to have fun. Some movies can make people laugh, but other movies can make them cry, or make them feel afraid.
Most movies are made so they can be watched at home or on a movie screen at movie theaters. Movies are shown in movie theaters a few weeks or months after or before the movie is released. Movies can be marketed using media. Movies are shown on pay television or cable television, or are sold or rented on DVD disks or videocassette tapes, so that people can watch the movies at home. Movies can also be downloaded or streamed. Some movies are shown on television broadcasting stations.
Movies are filmed with movie cameras or video cameras. Movie cameras take pictures very quickly, and they usually take 24 or 25 pictures, or frames every second. When a movie projector, a computer, or a television shows the pictures at 24 frames a second, it looks like the things shown in the set of pictures are moving. Sound is usually recorded at the same time as the pictures are, but sometimes they are added later. The sounds in a movie are usually people talking, the soundtrack, and sound effects. In the 20th century the camera used photographic film.
Making movies change
Most movies start to be made when a screenwriter writes a script, which is the story of the movie with dialogue and words and things that the actors will say and do. A producer hires people to work on the movie and gets the money that will be used to pay for the actors and the equipment. Producers usually get the money by borrowing it from a bank or by asking investors to give money to them. Some producers work for a movie studio, but other producers work by themselves.
Actors and directors read scripts to learn what to say and what to do. The actors learn the words from the script that they will say in the movie, and learn the things that the script tells them to do. Then, the director tells the actors what to do and a cameraman takes the film of them saying the words with a film camera.
When the filming is done, an editor makes the film play after each other, which makes a story. Audio engineers and sound engineers record music and singing and combine it with the film. When the movie is done, many copies of the movie are made by movie labs and put onto film reels. Then the reels are sent to movie theaters. A projector shines a very bright light through the film, and people sitting in a dark room see it on a big screen.
Types of movies change
- Action movies are movies where the main character is in a dangerous situation, and the movies usually have a lot of violent things, like explosions, blood, and fight scenes. In Die Hard, terrorists take control of a skyscraper and ask for a big ransom. If they are given the ransom, they won't killing the people who work in the skyscraper, who are called hostages.
- Adventure movies usually have a hero who go on long journeys to fight big things, like dragons.
- Animated movies use drawn images like cartoons to tell a story. These movies used to be drawn by hand, one frame at a time, but they are usually now made on computers. They can be 2D animated or 3D animated.
- Buddy movies involve two friends. Buddy movies usually have comedy. Buddy cop movies are a common theme.
- Comedies are movies about funny scenarios that characters might be in.
- Comedy horror movies blend horror and comic motifs in its plots. Movies in this genre sometimes use black comedy as the main form of humor.
- Documentaries are non-fiction movies that are (or claim to be) about real people and real events. They are nearly always serious and may involve strongly emotional subjects, for example cruelty.
- Dramas are serious, and often about people falling in love or needing to make a big decision in their life. They tell stories about relationships between people. They usually follow a basic plot where one or two main characters (each actor plays a character) have to 'overcome' (get past) an obstacle (the thing stopping them) to get what they want.
- Family movies are made to be okay for children to watch. Disney is famous for their family movies.
- Fantasy movies include magical and impossible things that any real human being cannot do.
- Film noir movies are 1940s-era detective dramas about crime and violence.
- Horror movies use fear to excite the audience. Music, lighting and sets (man-made places in movie studios where the movie is made) are all designed to add to the feeling.
- Romantic Comedies, also called "Rom-Com"s are usually stories about 2 people who fall in love, and do funny things or have funny things happen to them.
- Science fiction movies are fiction and also have a lot of science, and have machines that can not be built in real life yet.
- Sports movies tells stories that involve sports. They are often a form of drama where athletes must overcome some issue.
- Suspense movies makes the audience stressed. They usually have multiple twists that confuse the people watching the movie
- Thrillers are usually about a mystery, strange event, or crime that needs to be solved. The audience is kept guessing until the final minutes, when there are usually 'twists' in the plot (surprises).
- Tragedies are a type of dramas. They are about people in trouble. For example, a husband and wife who are divorcing must each try to prove to a court of law that they are the best person to take care of their child. Emotion (feelings) are a big part of the movie and the audience (people watching the movie) may get upset and even cry.
- War is a movie genre concerned with warfare. They are normally about naval, air or land battles. They have combat scenes central to the story. These stories are most commonly set in the 20th century.
- Western movies tell stories about cowboys in the western United States in the 1870s and 1880s. They are usually action movies, but with historical costumes. Some involve Native Americans. Not all movies that are set in the American West are made there. For example, Western films made in Italy are called Spaghetti Westerns. Some films can also use Western plots even if they are set in other places.
Business of making movies change
Most movies lose money but some make up to hundreds of millions. In India movies have become an enormous part of the economy. The industry has always been led by a few major movie studios like MGM/UA, Warner Bros., Columbia, Paramount, or Disney.
There are many large companies that provide all of the services needed to make movies, such as special effects, lighting, set building. Many of these employees belong to trade unions who say how much their members must be paid. A large number of smaller companies also offer services, such as music studios (which record the music for original movie sound tracks) and CGI computer animation.
Finally there are movie distribution companies (Which send movies around the world or around a country), and advertising companies (Showing people who may watch the movie so they do it.)
Movies with famous stars (actors who are well known) and large budgets (lots of money), are designed to have a large appeal (something a person would like about the, so that hopefully millions of people will pay to see them. These most expensive movies are called blockbusters.
Special effects can add a huge amount to the cost of a movie, especially the newest CGI effects, but people have come to expect them and every blockbuster movie tries to outdo the last. Even in 2008, some movies cost up to $200 million to make.
Very successful movies can make many times that amount in profit, and that's why the studios keep producing them. This kind of movie will have a lot of promotion (getting the movie into the public.) through television advertising, billboards and internet sites.
In blockbuster movies, there is usually a happy ending, in which all of the problems in the plot (story) are figured out or fixed and almost everyone (except the bad guys) live happily ever after. Some movies have been so successful that the studios keep releasing more and more sequels, or movies with the same characters and basic plots.
Indie films change
At the opposite end of the scale to the blockbuster, there is the independent, art, or Indie movie. These are usually made by small movie companies, or even just a small group of people that do not have much money. An example is The Blair Witch Project, which cost only about $60,000, but which has so far taken perhaps $200 million in ticket and DVD sales. Movies like this are very unusual and usually become popular 'underground' (word of mouth advertising), so that they have a cult following, or popular but not mainstream.
Independent movies often tell more creative or unusual (strange) stories, or may have sad endings that do not appeal to the big studios, because they can not be sure how the public will react to them. They rarely make a lot of money, but if they are successful, the big studios will quickly try to get the people involved to sign a contract with them, by offering them a lot of money to make another movie. Often the new movie, with its big budget and its stars will be less successful than the first.
The Oscars change
Some movies received Oscar nominations, and wins. Also, some actors and actresses received Oscar nominations, and wins.
Age appropriate ratings change
Movies have age appropriateness. Some examples include G, PG, PG 13, and R.
Related pages change
- Big Ten (movie studios), America's ten largest movie studios