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Profit-Sharing Contracts in Hollywood: Evolution and Analysis


  • Weinstein, Mark


This article examines the development of profit- or revenue-sharing contracts in the motion picture industry. Contrary to much popular belief, such contracts have been in use since the start of the studio era. However, early contracts differed from those seen today. The evolution of the current contract is traced, and evidence regarding the increased use of sharing contracts after 1948 is examined. I examine competing theories of the economic function served by these contracts. I suggest that it is unlikely that these contracts are the result of a standard principal-agent problem. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Weinstein, Mark, 1998. "Profit-Sharing Contracts in Hollywood: Evolution and Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 67-112, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:27:y:1998:i:1:p:67-112

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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi McKenzie, 2012. "The Economics Of Movies: A Literature Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 42-70, February.
    2. Alexis Dantec & Florence Levy, 2005. "Stars et box office : un état des approches théoriques et empiriques," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-13, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    3. Selvaretnam, Geethanjali & Yang, Jen-Yuan, 2015. "Factors Affecting the Financial Success of Motion Pictures: What is the Role of Star Power?," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-19, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. Feng, Xuehao & Moon, Ilkyeong & Ryu, Kwangyeol, 2014. "Revenue-sharing contracts in an N-stage supply chain with reliability considerations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(PA), pages 20-29.
    5. Darlene Chisholm, 2004. "Two-Part Share Contracts, Risk, and the Life Cycle of Stars: Some Empirical Results from Motion Picture Contracts," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(1), pages 37-56, February.
    6. Liyuan Wei, 2006. "—Making Sense of These Million-Dollar Babies—Rationale Behind Superstar Profit Participation Contracts," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 678-680, 11-12.
    7. Françoise Benhamou, 2011. "Artists’ Labour Markets," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:269-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Selvaretnam, Geethanjali & Yang, Jen-Yuan, 2015. "Factors Affecting the Financial Success of Motion Pictures: What is the Role of Star Power?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-19, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    10. Rui de Figueiredo & Evan Rawley & Orie Shelef, 2014. "Bad Bets: Excessive Risk Taking, Convex Incentives, and Performance," Discussion Papers 13-002, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    11. Geethanjali Selvaretnam & Jen-Yuan Yang, 2015. "Factors Affecting the Financial Success of Motion Pictures: What is the Role of Star Power?," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201501, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
    12. Ch'ng, Kean Siang, 2007. "Evolutionary Concept, Genetic Algorithm and Exhibition Contract in Movie Industry," MPRA Paper 5387, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Oct 2007.
    13. Darlene C Chisholm, 2011. "Motion Pictures," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition, chapter 39 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Jehoshua Eliashberg & Anita Elberse & Mark A.A.M. Leenders, 2006. "The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research, and New Research Directions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 638-661, 11-12.
    15. Darren Filson, 2003. "Dynamic Common Agency, Vertical Integration, and Investment: The Economics of Movie Distribution," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-07, Claremont Colleges.
    16. Michael Pokorny & John Sedgwick, 2001. "Stardom and the Profitability of Film Making: Warner Bros. in the 1930s," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 25(3), pages 157-184, August.
    17. Egon Franck & Stephan Nüesch, 2006. "Explaining the Star Shift in the Media– Why “Manufactured” Celebrities are More Lucrative than “Self-Made” Superstars," Working Papers 0057, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    18. Jun Yang, 2010. "Timing of Effort and Reward: Three-Sided Moral Hazard in a Continuous-Time Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1568-1583, September.
    19. Richard E. Caves, 2003. "Contracts Between Art and Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 73-83, Spring.
    20. Christian Jansen, 2003. "Economic Effects of the New German Copyright Contract Law," Law and Economics 0302003, EconWPA.
    21. Silver, Gregory Mead, 2010. "Economic effects of vertical disintegration: the American motion picture industry, 1945 to 1955," Economic History Working Papers 30043, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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