Cinema of the United States

The cinema of the United States, consisting mainly of major film studios (also known as Hollywood) along with some independent film, has had a large effect on the global film industry since the early 20th century. The dominant style of American cinema is classical Hollywood cinema, which developed from 1913 to 1969 and is still typical of most films made there to this day. While Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumière are generally credited with the birth of modern cinema,[5] American cinema soon came to be a dominant force in the emerging industry. As of 2017, it produced the third-largest number of films of any national cinema, after India and China, with more than 600 English-language films released on average every year.[6] While the national cinemas of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also produce films in the same language, they are not part of the Hollywood system. That said, Hollywood has also been considered a transnational cinema,[7] and has produced multiple language versions of some titles, often in Spanish or French. Contemporary Hollywood often outsources production to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Cinema of the United States
(Hollywood)
The Hollywood Sign in the Hollywood Hills, often regarded as the symbol of the American film industry
No. of screens40,393 (2017)[1]
  Per capita14 per 100,000 (2017)[1]
Main distributors
Produced feature films (2016)[2]
Fictional646 (98.5%)
Animated10 (1.5%)
Number of admissions (2017)[3]
Total1,239,742,550
  Per capita3.9 (2010)[4]
Gross box office (2017)[3]
Total$11.1 billion

Hollywood is considered to be the oldest film industry, in the sense of being the place where the earliest film studios and production companies emerged. It is the birthplace of various genres of cinema—among them comedy, drama, action, the musical, romance, horror, science fiction, and the war epic—and has set the example for other national film industries.

In 1878, Eadweard Muybridge demonstrated the power of photography to capture motion. In 1894, the world's first commercial motion-picture exhibition was given in New York City, using Thomas Edison's kinetoscope. In the following decades, production of silent film greatly expanded, studios formed and migrated to California, and films and the stories they told became much longer. The United States produced the world's first sync-sound musical film, The Jazz Singer, in 1927,[8] and was at the forefront of sound-film development in the following decades. Since the early 20th century, the U.S. film industry has largely been based in and around the thirty-mile zone in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Director D.W. Griffith was central to the development of a film grammar. Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941) is frequently cited in critics' polls as the greatest film of all time.[9]

The major film studios of Hollywood are the primary source of the most commercially successful and most ticket selling movies in the world.[10][11] Many of Hollywood's highest-grossing movies have generated more box-office revenue and ticket sales outside the United States than films made elsewhere. The United States is a leading pioneer in motion picture engineering and technology.


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