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Risk and Capitalist Power: Conceptual Tools for Studying the Political Economy of Hollywood

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  • McMahon, James

Abstract

In this article, the structure of Hollywood film distribution will be analyzed through the lens of risk. In both its technical and conceptual senses, risk is relevant to the study of Hollywood’s dominant firms. In the interest of lowering risk, the business interests of Hollywood look to predetermine how new films will function in an already instituted order of cinema, which includes the creativity of filmmakers and the habits of moviegoers. This presentation of risk will explain why, for the political economy of Hollywood, the social world of cinema is an instrumental order. While risk is specifically about the size and pattern of future earnings, it is also an indirect prediction about the stability of the social conditions that would help translate potential earnings into an actual stream. The social world of cinema has a bearing on the Hollywood film business’s degree of confidence, which refers to the ability of capitalists to make predictions about future earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • McMahon, James, 2015. "Risk and Capitalist Power: Conceptual Tools for Studying the Political Economy of Hollywood," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 28-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:157797
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ravid, S Abraham, 1999. "Information, Blockbusters, and Stars: A Study of the Film Industry," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 463-492, October.
    2. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2009. "Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder," EconStor Books, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157973.
    3. McMahon, James, 2013. "The Rise of a Confident Hollywood: Risk and the Capitalization of Cinema," EconStor Preprints 157854, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. Randy Nelson & Robert Glotfelty, 2012. "Movie stars and box office revenues: an empirical analysis," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 36(2), pages 141-166, May.
    5. Bakker, Gerben, 2004. "Selling French Films on Foreign Markets: The International Strategy of a Medium-Sized Film Company," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 45-76, March.
    6. McMahon, James, 2013. "The Rise of a Confident Hollywood: Risk and the Capitalization of Cinema," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(1), pages 23-40.
    7. Allègre Hadida, 2010. "Commercial success and artistic recognition of motion picture projects," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 34(1), pages 45-80, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. McMahon, James, 2018. "Is Hollywood a Risky Business? A Political Economic Analysis of Risk and Creativity," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-24.

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