From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who has ever wondered about the reasoning behind formulaic mainstream films will learn probably more than they wanted to know in this academic examination of high-concept films. Although popularly thought of as films that can be summarized in one sentence, Wyatt, a former market-research analyst for the film industry, defines high concept as "a product differentiated through the emphasis on style in production and through the integration of the film with its marketing." The author contends that these economically motivated products (films like Flashdance, Top Gun, Batman and Grease) form the most significant strain in motion pictures of the last 20 years. Their common stylistic elements include easily exploitable visual images, pre-sold premises, stars matched to predictable genres and musical segments which may be extracted for promotional videos. Wyatt traces the economic histories of the major film studios, especially their conglomeration with other industries, to demonstrate how this modular approach became favored by corporations increasingly dependent on market research as a means of minimizing financial risk. The author's dry, repetitive style and the numbing effect of phrases like "market segmentation" and "multiple regression analysis" may frighten off readers interested in this necessarily sobering subject. Fortunately for those who believe that films should have something to do with art and that art is more than the sum of its parts, Wyatt concludes that the high-concept era is on the wane. Illustrated.
Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"A thoughtful and informative exploration of the subject" Perry Katz, Executive Vice-President of Marketing, Universal Pictures