The Case of Walden Media
Chapter 5: Exporting Walden Media Films
Exporting Walden Media Films
The 1920s industrialization of American cinema went hand in hand with the conquest of foreign markets. American films were notably more present in Europe after the First World War, when the slowly recovering European film industries could not, for some time, satisfy local demand for new features. But US films were there to stay and this was reinforced after the Second World War by the fact that American federal authorities, strongly lobbied by the powerful MPEA (Motion Picture Export Association), included films in negotiations with various European authorities – as was the case with the French-American Blum–Byrnes agreements in 1946.1 For American studios, the world therefore became a market likely to gross increasing profits in the aftermath of a world conflict that had left local film industries in an even more dilapidated state than after the First World War. The subsequent conquest of global screens by American cinema, denounced by some as part of American cultural imperialism,2 resulted from the combination of several factors.
First, there was an important backlog of American films3 that had not been distributed in occupied Europe and other war-torn markets, and that studios now wanted to release there in order to get the profits they felt entitled to. Secondly, those films conquered foreign screens because ← 205 | 206 → they were intended for mass entertainment and therefore often featured easily understandable stories any audience could grasp, even if here and there subsisted problems with...
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